The hysteria this time

I don’t think the role of the mainstream media as an adjunct of the Democratic Party has ever been more obvious than it has been this month with the nonstop hysteria over enforcement of immigration law at the border. Are we permitted to have a country anymore? Apparently not.

When it comes to this month’s model of Trump hysteria, Victor Davis Hanson sees a pattern: “A month from now there will be a new manufactured news story that Donald Trump is savage, represents an existential danger, or is unhinged. We will hear of another Trump official cornered and driven out from a liberal-owned Beltway or New York City restaurant. An unhinged Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) will rant some more about impeachment.” He predicts: “And then the current hysteria over the border detainments will be filed, and go the way of the s—hole countries’ frenzy or Melania’s jacket melodrama.”

I can only wonder what the attitudes of average Americans are to the continuing invasion and related gaming of our immigration law. The Democrats support it. President Trump opposes it. Which side are you on, boys? Which side are you on?

We are not to notice the obvious effects of our continuing difficulty enforcing the law and protecting our border. Heather Mac Donald gets at this home truth in “Who’s really to blame at the border?” Here is the conclusion of Heather’s column:

Underlying this episode were several cardinal principles of left-wing activism: that favored victim groups must never be held responsible for their actions, and that policy should be made based on immediate claims of need, with no regard to long-term consequences. The reigning assumption during the family-separation meltdown was that the adults who brought children with them across the border had no responsibility for their subsequent plight. The only actor with agency was the federal government; it alone bore the blame for alien minors being placed in detention facilities. Yet the but-for cause of the child separation was the adult’s decision to cross illegally into the U.S., child in tow. If you don’t want to be separated from your or another person’s child, don’t cross the border illegally. Likewise, any whisper of immigration enforcement inside the border is inevitably greeted with cries that such enforcement would cause illegal aliens to be “fearful.” If you don’t want to fear deportation, don’t assume the risk of deportation, however slight that risk may be, by illegal entry.

Obeying the law, however, is something that must never be demanded of politically correct victims. If lawbreaking carries negative consequences, the fault lies with the legal system, not with an individual’s decision to break the law in the first place.

This principle is at work in the ongoing attacks on the criminal-justice system as well: the overrepresentation of blacks in prison is attributed to allegedly racist actors and institutions, not to lawbreaking by the criminals. Non-legal forms of distress are also covered by the no-agency rule. If single mothers experience elevated rates of poverty, the fault lies with a heartless welfare system, not with their decision to conceive a child out-of-wedlock. The father, of course, is as good as nonexistent, in the eyes of the single-mother welfare lobby. If teen mothers are stressed out, the problem lies in the absence of daycare centers in high schools.

The “progressive” solution to these dilemmas is to confer an immediate benefit on the alleged victim that will alleviate the problem in the short term, perverse incentives be damned. Illegal aliens with children must be exempt from immigration rules. The likelihood that such a policy will encourage more illegal aliens to come is out of sight, out of mind (if not covertly viewed as an affirmative good). If having more out-of-wedlock children puts a strain on a single mother’s welfare check and food stamps, then the government should increase the allotment to reflect the additional births. If that single mother and her children show up at a shelter claiming homelessness, give them an apartment. If such free housing encourages more single mothers to flood the shelter system, contract for more apartments.

Strangely, after Trump issued his recent executive order, a few media voices tentatively raised the problem of the unintended consequences of purportedly humane rules. CNN anchor John Berman asked Schiff on Thursday morning if exempting illegal aliens with children from detention “incentivized” such illegal crossings. Schiff ducked the query: “Well, it’s not a simple question as whether somebody has a child or not.” But the problem of perverse incentives will not go away. America’s loss of sovereignty over its borders and the incursion of millions of barely literate campesinos and their progeny is the result of years of victim-favoring policies that ignore personal agency and court the consequences.

In restating the obvious the column contributes to our ability to see clearly what is in front of our nose.

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