I believe in an invitational approach to immigration. My grandfather immigrated in 1915 as a legal immigrant who embodied the American ethos. He was hardworking, honest and a genuine contributor.
The same can be said of my company’s talented senior vice president who immigrated from India.
Welcoming industrious and honest people to America is a good thing. The caravan seems different. Composed largely of men between 18 and 40, there is no question that many see better opportunities in the U.S. than their home country. Yet, any thoughtful observer must concede that members of the caravan are abusing the system and pushing the boundaries of the original intent of our asylum laws by rushing our border. Of its roughly 8,500 members, according to DHS, 90 percent are not eligible for asylum.
However, even if they enter illegally, they can legally request asylum. In fact, the Immigration and Nationality Act expressly permits asylum claims by “any alien who is physically present in the United States (whether or not a designated point of arrival).”
That doesn’t seem fair to my grandfather, my senior vice president or to any of the other millions of immigrants who play by the rules. Not to mention that a caravan of asylum seekers who occupy a lane of highway waving their national flag and throwing rocks at border patrol officers looks more like an invasion than people sincerely requesting refuge.
The administration’s short-term deal with Mexico might stem the tide, but that agreement still requires processing the asylum request. That right should be relinquished when crashing the border.
My granddad entered the U.S. during the end of the Ottoman empire when they were slaughtering Christians by the thousands — but he didn’t bully or sneak his way in, nor feign persecution. He placed his name on the manifest, entered Ellis Island and worked hard to become a U.S. citizen.
We need a clear law that overrides the current one. Comprehensive immigration reform has eluded us for decades because it touches so many issues and lawmakers have failed to come to agreement.
In business, when faced with similar complexity, we prioritize. The market moves too fast for us to dawdle or to try and solve all issues at once. And if we hesitate too long, the problem compounds.
So, here is my proposal for a single-issue law. It only addresses the caravan issue:
Caravan Action Patrol Act of 2018 (CAPA2018):
Notwithstanding any immigration laws, regulations or rules the executive branch shall have the exclusive right and authority to immediately deport any non-U.S. Citizen who enters or attempts to enter any U.S. border that originated in a group or caravan.
To eliminate any ambiguity, this law supersedes all previous immigration laws and applies only to non-U.S. citizens who assembled in a group or caravan at some point prior to entering any U.S. border by land or sea. To provide guidance for the Judiciary Branch of the United States, the Executive Branch of the United States, including all departments under its charge, shall have the sole authority and right to determine if, how and when to deport such persons, without being subject to any other immigration laws, regulations or rules.
The current Congress could pass this law if the outgoing leadership would prevent addendums and force an up or down vote.
This new law would not rely upon another country’s cooperation, and it would allow the federal government to send the caravan home without reviewing their case for asylum. After a wave of media frenzy, it should put a halt to marches on the border.
I understand that many people are desperate and deserve our compassion.
The reality is if their country of origin would promote economic freedom, respect property rights and give voice to their citizens it would provide them with the opportunity they seek.
We can’t solve every problem for every other country. We can, however, maintain order in ours and we should reward those like my granddad and the senior vice president of my company, who entered legally and persevered with respect and love for the American idea.
Barry Farah is an entrepreneur, author, speaker and recent candidate for governor of Colorado.