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VICTOR JOECKS: Trump right to enforce immigration laws

If a person insists on breaking the law, the government’s job is to stop them. That doesn’t seem controversial — unless the topic is immigration.

Last Monday, President Donald Trump tweeted that “ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in.”

During the week, details leaked out. ICE was planning to arrest and deport up to 2,000 illegal immigrant families starting Sunday. According to media reports, ICE was targeting 10 cities. Las Vegas wasn’t on the list.

ICE didn’t select these families at random. They’re all families that have received final orders of deportation from a judge and are trying to avoid the consequences of their illegal activity.

In February, ICE mailed them letters requesting that they report to an ICE office by March. Unsurprisingly, they didn’t show up.

If a convicted criminal won’t turn himself in, the police go and arrest him. If members of an illegal immigrant family — after having their day in court — won’t turn themselves in, ICE has to go and detain them. How is that controversial?

Democrats, however, are treating this as if it’s a shocking miscarriage of justice.

“Donald Trump’s treatment of those seeking a better life in our country is inhumane,” Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted. “Make no mistake: In a Warren administration, we will defend and protect immigrants and their families.”

This is an all-but overt call for open borders. She’s implying that she will “protect” illegal immigrants from lawful orders of deportation.

“President Trump threatening the mass deportation of immigrants is cruel and un-American,” Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden tweeted. “We can fix our broken immigration system and enforce our laws without tossing aside our values.”

Notice Biden doesn’t bother to explain how he would enforce the laws differently. ICE has already asked these families to leave after a judge ruled they should be deported. They refused. What does he suggest — starting the next letter with “pretty please with a cherry on top”?

Deporting illegal immigrants wasn’t always controversial. Think way, way back to 2009 when Joe Biden served as Barack Obama’s vice president. During Obama’s first term, ICE deported more than 1.5 million illegal aliens. Trump is behind Obama’s pace. ICE has deported just more than 750,000 illegal immigrants during Trump’s two-and-a-half years in office.

Last year, The New Yorker headlined an article “Donald Trump’s ICE is tearing families apart.” Anyone remember similar headlines for Obama, who was even more aggressive with deportations?

You see the same bias when it comes to detention facilities. “Trump administration to send migrant children to Army base once used as Japanese internment camp,” blared a headline from The Hill.

It’s true that Fort Sill was once used as a Japanese internment camp. It was also true in 2014 when Obama moved 1,800 illegal immigrants, including children, there. The media didn’t mention that angle.

It’s easy to sympathize with a family who wants to come to America for a better life. This country remains a land of freedom and opportunity. But one of the things that makes America great is the rule of law.

If members of a family come here illegally, they should be deported. Trump is right to direct ICE to enforce the law.

Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Contact him at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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