Deter a New Wave of Illegal Immigration to Protect Workers

America may be facing its biggest border surge yet.

Between fiscal year 2015 and 2016, apprehensions of unaccompanied alien children rose more than 500 percent in two of nine Southwest border sectors. Agents from all nine sectors reported increased apprehensions of families and unaccompanied children — with the majority seeing increases of more than 100 percent.

These numbers signal that an unprecedented border surge of illegal aliens is underway. To stem the flow and protect job opportunities for American workers, the Obama administration must double down on deportation raids.

The surge is worsening each month. Apprehensions of unaccompanied children in December 2015 were roughly 20 percent higher than in November 2015. Family apprehensions also spiked by almost 40 percent.

Over the past three months, agents detained more than double the number of unaccompanied minors than they did during the same period in 2014 — a year in which more than 50,000 unaccompanied minors crossed the border.

Many of these aliens embark on their dangerous and illegal journey in the belief that they’ll receive amnesty — along with jobs and government benefits — once they make it to the United States. To dispel that notion, the Obama administration recently launched limited deportation raids targeting illegal aliens who had been denied asylum.

Even though these small-scale raids have detained just a few hundred people, many politicians have criticized the raids and called for a halt to deportations.

Halting deportations would send a disastrous message — that our borders are open and immigration laws won’t be enforced. Such a move would exacerbate the current wave of illegal border crossings.

The more illegal workers who enter the United States, the harder it will be for American workers to find jobs and secure wage increases. About 8 million illegal aliens currently participate in the labor force, occupying jobs that could otherwise go to some of the 6.3 million unemployed native-born American workers.

For decades, these American workers have suffered stagnant wages. The most recent employment report from the Department of Labor brought no relief — wages actually dropped slightly from November to December.

The administration owes it to struggling Americans to improve their standard of living. It can only achieve that goal by standing firm in the face of political pressure and continuing — or better, ramping up — deportation of illegal workers.

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