Either way, candidates’ positions on ‘immigration’ will matter in 2016

Texas Gang Threat Assessment cover

The Texas Gang Threat Assessment prepared by the state expects gang membership to increase as a result of federal policy. (Report cover: state of Texas)

A new Gallup poll shows the issue politicians label as ‘immigration’ will matter in the presidential race for 2016. The poll, however, reflects complexity on the issue.

As Americans watched unaccompanied minors, many of them male, breach the US southern border repeatedly in 2014, it was virtually impossible to not be concerned. A recent report prepared by the state of Texas justifies that concern. 

Some gangs have received a lot of attention because of their brutality, and membership is increasing in part because of the porous border. The report, Texas Gang Threat Assessment, disclosed:

“The threat from Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) has increased since last year, resulting in the gang now being ranked in the Tier 1 category. MS-13 is a violent transnational gang whose presence in Texas is growing.”

MS-13 is one of a number of gangs law enforcement in Texas is concerned about, and the report confirmed the border breach in 2014 the Obama administration failed to control was a resource for recruitment:

“Gangs in Texas remain active in both human smuggling and human trafficking operations. Gang members associated with human smuggling have direct relationships with alien smuggling organizations (ASOs) and Mexican cartels. These organizations were involved in and profited from the recent influx of illegal aliens crossing the border in the Rio Grande Valley in 2014. Gang members involved in human trafficking, including commercial sex trafficking and compelling prostitution of adults and minors, exploit their victims through force, fraud or coercion, including recruiting and grooming them with false promises of affection, employment, or a better life. Gangs identified as being involved in human trafficking in Texas in 2014 include Tango Blast, Texas Syndicate, Bloods, Crips, Gangster Disciples, and MS-13.”

Politicians on both sides of the aisle tend to paint the migrant population with a broad brush in an effort to persuade Americans current levels of migrant traffic are acceptable. However, violent crimes such as the murders of Jamiel Shaw and others have managed to gain attention, not because of corporate media often allied with political ideology, but because of independent media not beholding to politicians or political parties.

Thus far, few candidates in either major party have addressed migrant traffic from an American interest, opting instead to address it from a corporate perspective. Both parties court voters based on ethnicity, an indication of a willingness to further divide the country for political gain.

Few candidates have addressed the underlying issue—a complete failure of foreign policy regarding countries south of the border. The Dept. of Homeland Security appears to have no comprehensive strategy for dealing with criminals who are foreign nationals, as a disclosure from DHS indicated: “In Fiscal Year (FY) 2014, ICE booked-out of custody 30,558 individuals with criminal convictions.” The previous year, DHS admitted, more than 36,000 with criminal convictions were released into the US homeland.

Besides the impact of releasing criminals, concerns over public health have also been raised. Complete non-transparency by the Obama administration worsened fears, and no one knows the consequences of what can only be described as foolhardy, costly policy.

Meanwhile, corporate donors sought by candidates are perpetually in search of low cost, dispensable labor. In the blue collar sector, the US taxpayer often subsidizes such labor via welfare received on behalf of children brought into the country or birthed here. The US has increasingly embraced socialist principles, and as the recent influx in European countries suggests, socialist handouts are a magnet for economic migrants who may attempt to claim refugee status to gain asylum. Differentiating between the bona fide refugee and the migrant who wants to improve his own financial status is almost impossible. Still others may come in response to calls from terrorist groups.  In one group, only 30 percent of the migrants were females and children.

Even left of center media like USA Today have acknowledged US taxpayer costs for welfare distributions, and the higher ratio of migrants subsidized by taxpayers (not defined by the paper as legal immigrants or undocumented foreign nationals, but rather lumped into a broad group).

Some candidates have acknowledged the impact of a percentage of migrants on blue collar jobs, welfare payments, crime, local school district costs, healthcare costs, and society in general. Republican Donald Trump’s America First approach has been a significant factor in his dominance in polling. Other candidates have not made the case to Americans that citizens’ concerns will be given priority, and that has been a direct factor in those candidates’ inability to gain traction.

Members of the political class are more or less insulated from the policies foisted on regular voters. The new Gallup poll indicates that Americans on both sides of the aisle are gauging candidates in part based on the stance they take on the subject politicians label ‘immigration.’

The outlook the Texas report projects is grim, and it certainly won’t be confined to the Lone Star State:

“We expect the overall gang threat in Texas will remain high during the coming year, given previous estimated increases in overall gang membership in Texas. The gangs working directly with the Mexican cartels will continue to represent a unique threat to the state as they help facilitate the smuggling of persons, drugs, and weapons into and around Texas.”

To address national security vulnerability, The 9/11 Commission Report made specific recommendations about immigration, the border, and monitoring visas. None have been adopted by administrations from either party.

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Sept. 10, 2015)  

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About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.
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2 Responses to Either way, candidates’ positions on ‘immigration’ will matter in 2016

  1. MarlaHughes says:

    You ignored Governor Perry who didn’t just address the issue, but made it a central part of his tenure as Governor of Texas. I note that your article on the leaked DHS report confirming Perry’s claim about the President’s ability to fix the border crisis comes up in related content. I’ll share that one instead since this one is inaccurate due to it’s overly opinionated and wrong conclusions about some of the candidates, including Governor Perry.

    • Kay Day says:

      Marla, thanks for input. I labeled the article ‘commentary’ for a reason. Perry is polling at 1 percent. If he rises to the top tier, I will cover him.

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