In his Washington Post op-ed column, Fareed Zakaria deals with the failed US immigration policy.
There were 2.4 million apprehensions at the United States’ southwestern border last fiscal year, which is about 600,000 higher than the prior year, the previous high. These numbers are likely to get worse over time, and not just in the United States.
The policy part is equally important. The waves of migration we are watching now are making a mockery of the system of asylum that came into being over the last several decades. After World War II, and in the wake of the Holocaust, countries vowed to welcome people who had legitimate fears for their lives. A body of international law developed that gave asylum seekers certain rights.
In recent years, however, millions of people have arrived at borders claiming asylum. Although some of them might genuinely be victims of targeted persecution, most appear to be economic migrants fleeing poverty and disease who are searching for a better life.
But these new waves have collapsed the distinction between asylum seekers and regular economic migrants.
The politics of immigration is treacherous. The American right has become almost completely opposed to immigration, having moved more sharply on this issue than any other that I can recall.
The Democratic Party remains committed to immigration and immigrants, but it does not make enough of a distinction between immigrants who come into the country following laws and those who come in by crossing the border illegally. Everyone should be treated humanely, but those who follow the law and those who break it cannot be treated alike.
The truth is that most Western countries need more immigrants. Even though the Federal Reserve is trying to slow the economy down, the U.S. unemployment rate is at a 50-year low. … But a pro-immigration policy is impossible if people believe that lawless invaders, human trafficking and chaos are overrunning their countries.