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End Their Exile

State of the Union: Perhaps the enormous effort of deporting every person in this country illegally is what we need.
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(F Armstrong Photography/Shutterstock)

“By the end of four years in power, the Biden administration will almost surely have admitted over 10 million illegal immigrants.” So begins Phillip Linderman’s review of Overrun: How Joe Biden Unleashed the Greatest Border Crisis in U.S. History, by Todd Bensman. The Wednesday TAC review, and the book, too, presumably, is full of facts about the lawlessness on our southern border that are difficult to comprehend. But I think that first one might be the most amazing, in the old-fashioned sense of staggering, stupefying, amazement as numbing shock. More than 10 million

Growing up—so, a little while ago now—I was told, proudly, basically, by libertarians in favor of open borders and amnesty programs, that there are about 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States. This was presented as a fait accompli, cause to give up on immigration restriction, to not even think of it. That’s still the standard number, at least a decade on from these remembered conversations. 
Of course, sometimes, illegals do in fact go home. But if that number has held at all constant, which apparently it has, and now in four years we are talking about an influx of 10 million more …. Well, it does boggle the mind.


What does it mean for a country of 330 million when it contains 20 million here in hiding, in violation of the law? The law, our laws, clearly has no force, no spirit behind it. Which prompts me to reconsider that old liberal dismissal of enforcement, the idea that there are just too many to do anything about. Is it not, perhaps, the opposite case? Would not the arrest and deportation of 20 million lawbreakers require a great national recommitment to our nation, its character, and its laws? It would be rough going, and would heat our public discourse to temperatures we had forgotten were possible, but if the effort was led by men of adamantine resolve, then perhaps in the convulsion a united country would be forged anew. It would certainly tighten the labor market.