Dreamers, Syrian refugees, and a border that might not be

Three people jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge early Sunday morning. One survived and is still hospitalized in critical condition. They climbed down the fence in desperation, jumped to the frigid water below, and made a dramatic charge.

Other, far more serious efforts are underway, as some European nations are mobilizing more volunteers, funding better fencing, and considering contingencies for all manner of dangers—people, weapons, drugs, even nuclear weapons.

Syrians refugees, Afghans, and Venezuelans are flooding into Europe, Canada, and the United States at record levels. Undocumented immigrants are virtually flowing across the U.S.-Mexico border, and citizens of many countries are coming to the United States, waiting to be admitted—desperate to escape poverty, suffering, persecution, or tyranny.

In the past year, the annual number of crossings of the southern border topped one million. Resettlement agencies have admitted over 300,000 migrants for temporary asylum. They are all “legalized,” as a huge class of “U.S. citizens,” and within the current U.S. immigration system are constantly showing up, trapped in litigation, and wondering if they can stay in the United States.

Net migration into the United States from around the world has exceeded one million in recent years.

Some of those more high-profile visa applicants must have been vetted by the FBI, the State Department, and other federal agencies, and have passed both the court-ordered “extreme vetting” process and are considered refugees. However, many of the recent new entrants to the United States are not refugees at all, but entered legally and remain illegally in the United States.

Those who have overstayed their visas have gained status as legal residents, and otherwise are not at all subject to any scrutiny from the government. Their numbers are growing, seemingly like a pandemic or some disease.

Previous people as unqualified as Santayana and Jesus did get into the United States, hundreds, or perhaps thousands at a time, and that was under the entry process even before 9/11.

Getting into the country from Mexico is mostly easily done, while the differences between aspiring Middle Eastern or African entrepreneurs and those of other countries have always been obvious.

After the September 11 attacks, it is reasonable to ask if someone with ties to an entire country would be able to cross the border without further comment by the government.

Yet under President Obama’s 2013 executive actions, illegal immigrant from six countries were eligible for deportation relief. Those were the same countries whose nationals were targets of the 2001 terror attacks. Those granted such relief are basically going through the usual immigration review process, being photographed, fingerprinted, checked into background history, and visited by representatives of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is nominally headed by an attorney general. However, as Congress and the courts have since directed, the agency is supposed to review all such applicants to see if the person is a “bona fide” applicant to apply for permanent legal residency, entitled to the same protections as other American citizens. The agency does not perform such comprehensive checks on applicants to see if they have deeper ties to the United States.

Once the president and other leaders worldwide have reviewed asylum applications, immigration reviews, and existing traffic to the United States, a terrible outcome for almost everyone will await: no status to come here at all. Such a result would stop people from even trying.

The mass arrival of “legalized” immigrants from economically struggling, corrupt, and oppressive regimes seems to have come out of nowhere, with little previous forethought to how the United States could effectively manage millions of new immigrants.

Europe is preparing a major effort to assimilate and improve conditions in central Africa, but also it is preparing for an African flood, of its own, that is largely unplanned and improvised. In addition, European leaders are looking at ways to turn more refugees away from their territory as well as to funding the British departure from the European Union.

Related Image Expand / Contract (AP/Matt Dunham)

The United States, and, strangely, Canada, is not taking similar approaches. The United States and Canada are planning to add security checks to all future immigrants, while the United States believes its tradition of “legalized,” which seems to be a combination of immigration business as usual with legal rights and privileges, is sufficient to make America safe.

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