The American Public Doesn’t Want Criminals and Illegal Aliens in Control of Our Borders

Border fence at Naco ArizonaAlex Nowrasteh, an immigration analyst for the libertarian Cato Institute, recently published a piece in The Hill arguing that President-elect Trump’s proposed border control plans won’t “normalize immigration.” His argument goes like this: A study published in the journal Political Psychology has found that people in Canada, the U.K., and the U.S. favor immigration when they perceive that the government is in control of borders. When they perceive a lack of government control over borders, they do not. Therefore, any increased enforcement efforts by the Trump administration will only promote dissatisfaction because it would “increase the perception of chaos.”

Mr. Nowrasteh claims that his point is proven by the fact that illegal aliens responded to the 1990’s expansion of the Border Patrol by hiring smugglers and “taking boats up the coast to avoid the border altogether” (as if the coasts are not territorial borders). In other words, Mr. Nowrasteh believes that enforcement will only generate more crime. Therefore, we should reduce enforcement in order to keep crime at a manageable level and demonstrate that we’re in control. Does this remind anyone of Orwell’s totalitarian “Big Brother” proclaiming “freedom is slavery,” “war is peace”?

The quality of the argument only degenerates from there, Mr. Nowrasteh concludes with the admonition that, “The great Catch-22 of immigration policy is that only through more liberal immigration policies will Americans ultimately feel like their government is in control.”  His complete failure to comprehend that liberal immigration policies are the problem is profoundly disturbing.

The fact is the United States has had a dysfunctional immigration system for so long that we no longer have any idea what “normal” looks like. Donald Trump realized that the American people don’t think it is a good idea to let criminals and illegal aliens set our border control agenda. That’s why he won the election. Should he succeed in building a reasonable, effective immigration strategy, there is absolutely no indication the American people will change their minds and begin demanding a return to irresponsible policies. At the ballot box, they sent a very clear message that they’re tired of being ignored when it comes to immigration.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar

    Ligaya Fabian of 1631 El Camino Real #8 Tustin Ca 92780 submitted fake documents and paid money to obtain a driver’s license but the dmv found out and revoked the license. She jumpshipped her flight from Germany to Canada at lax to get here. She now has a green card.

  2. avatar

    Agree to agree Susan… Nthise the ones you mentioned, they do not need money or use money…they are as independent if not more independent than most of us. So instead they will contribute to the system

    • avatar

      Studies show that most illegal aliens and their extended families, if made US citizens, will still take far more in taxpayer subsidized benefits over their lifetimes than they contribute into the system in taxes. The US is going broke, we can’t afford to lavish benefits on every human being on this planet of 7 billion people who happens to set foot in this country.

      • avatar

        Most illegals are low education and low skilled and thereby earn less, and have large families, making them eligible for things like the earned income tax credit, which is a direct check from the government of up to 6 thousand dollars, even if they don’t pay a penny in taxes. The only “contribution” they will make is to the national debt.

    • avatar

      Studies show no fully the reality of this & Leland di you have a degree? .. I don’t know how many but some if then r engineers, doctors….N the ones that do not, work N make a living. …..r u a doctor, an engineer?

  3. avatar
    Barbara Griffith on

    Terrorism along with the attacks that have happened inside the U.S. is one of the reasons Trump has said for months at his rally’s that he intends to put a stop to allowing Syrian refugees into the country, unlike Clinton that wanted to raise the number to 500% over the number that Obama has allowed in. Trump wants to help them in a safe zone close to their own country which would be thousands of dollars cheaper for the U.S. taxpayer than if they came here. You have no way to do any back ground checks on these people so don’t allow anymore of them in. The Muslim Brotherhood is in organizations all over the U.S. including every Mosque in in every state. These are the same people that Obama has working for him in his administration, these are the same people that demanded that the FBI training manual have all references to Islam and Muslims be removed, which it was.
    The U.S. President has the legal power to stop all immigration from countries that the President deems to be a menace to the U.S. population. Terrorists are coming across our southern border escorted across by drug cartels that get across to meet at a pick-up point for their trip on into the interior of the country. If we don’t, we will begin to look like whats left of freedom in Europe with the curtailing of free speech an the written word. If you want to take a look at what’s left of Europe go to
    This is where most of our ancestors came from.

  4. avatar
    Jennifer wasko on

    Thank you for writing this thoughtful article. We the American people did elect Donald Trump exactly for this reason. Anyone that has an opposing view of this is anti-American. I’m not comfortable with this irresponsible Danger. I’m so glad that the voice of reason was enough to get everyone out to actually vote. Now we will see this come to fruition

    • avatar

      I totally disagree with you and I’m not anti- American . Those of us who want a pathway to citizenship for the majority of the undocumented immigrants are every bit as American as you. A difference of opinion in my America is encouraged and allowed by our democracy.

      • avatar

        Sue I too think we will have to have a pathway to legalization (not Citizenship) for illegals but we must control our borders first. Do you let your door open so anyone can walk in? Do you let everyone who knocks on your door (including strangers) inside your home? Of course not. And if your doors are lock and some one is illegally breaking in you probably call the police. Am I making a point? My home is America.
        I have nothing against legal immigration.

        • avatar

          Well said. I do not open my door to strangers. Moreover, if you allow a person in your home empty handed and you have to feed them; then, they bring their family, friends and acquaintances, how are you going to make room for them and feed them??? Do you take away from your children to help them?? I am of Hispanic origin born as a USA Citizen; however, I think that Mexico and Central America are abusing the generosity of this country by continuing their illegal immigration. I know of people who have been living in USA for many years and do not learn the language or better their skills. My family came from Puerto Rico and they worked 8 or 10 hours daily, attended school at night or weekends in order to get a better job. We could not afford to send money to our families, only for Christmas. In the meantime, illegal immigrants send millions of dollars to their countries where they own houses, cars and have bank accounts. Another issue that bothers me is that they own cars and drive without a license. These persons never took a written driving test, took a driving class, or passed a driving test. They do not know how to follow driving instructions and in most cases drive intoxicated. It is my understanding that the LAW apples to everyone in USA. How can Senator Luis Gutierrez state that illegal immigrants should not be penalized for driving their children to school or driving to work without a license.??? Hellooo!! That means that all Americans should be allowed to drive without a license as well. ????

      • avatar

        ” Those of us who want a pathway to citizenship for the majority of the undocumented immigrants are every bit as American as you.”

        You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but do you have any idea of how much it will cost this country in the long run to make most illegal aliens in this country citizens, given that most pay less in taxes at every stage of their life cycle than they consume in taxpayer funded benefits?

        Our federal government alone has over 20 trillion in debt, and is rapidly adding trillions more with no end in sight. This simply cannot continue indefinitely, because interest payments on the debt will consume an increasingly large part of the federal budget as time goes on, especially down the road if/when interest rates rise.

        We have also borrowed over one trillion from both Japan and China, and the interest payments on this debt make these countries, and others, wealthier at our expense. There is also all of the money that illegals send home to Mexico, etc. that leaves our country.

        Making all of the illegals citizens will make them eligible for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. which already are financially insolvent in the long run without the additional burden of adding millions of under-educated, low wage workers who contribute little in taxes. All this will do is accelerate the date of our country’s impending bankruptcy.

        • avatar

          I would also add that both Japan and China are very strict in enforcing their immigration laws, so we have borrowed over $2 trillion from two countries that are not dumb enough to lavish hundreds of billions on illegal aliens, etc. to help us pay for the costs of our open borders policies. Yeah, we’re smart.

          I would also add that Japan has allowed very few Muslims and very few Muslim refugees to immigrate to Japan, and guess what? Japan hasn’t had any terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic terrorists in Japan, because the Japanese understand the concept that Islamic terrorists cannot carry out a terrorist attack in Japan if they aren’t in Japan in the first place. This isn’t rocket science people.

          • avatar

            According to Norasteh’s own words, the Japanese are not in control and “only through liberal immigration policies” will they “feel like their government is in control”. Sounds like like they are doing just fine. We’ve been doing things Nowrasteh’s way for 30 years and no matter how much you increase legal immigration, even more want to come, both legally and illegally. When you provide incentives to break the law like we do, as in rewarding them with citizenship, what other outcome can one expect.

  5. avatar
    Glad to see the Election Result on

    Alex Nowrasteh is simply not a very smart guy. His writing is “outcomes driven”. He wants desperately, for any reason, to increase immigration and to increase illegal migration. He doesn’t believe that borders should exist. He is a committed globalist loon.

  6. avatar

    Alex Nowrasteh is at it again. I don’t know how guys like Alex can live with themselves, selling out their fellow Americans for a big paycheck and a nice office at a Washington think tank. I guess all that corporate money flowing into the Cato Institute makes it easy for him to wash his hands of his role in promoting open borders, and the resulting flow of illegal drugs, violent criminals and potential terrorists that flow into American communities.

    But unfortunately Washington is full of soulless, corporate prostitutes like Alex who will do anything for a buck, which is why our country has been going so rapidly downhill.

  7. avatar

    Nowrasteh gets more absurd with everything he writes. He’s nothing but a shill for big business that wants a never ending flow of foreign workers that they can pay peanuts. In the comments section of the The Hill link, pretty much everyone points out the complete idiocy of his arguments, one person calling his logic “painful”.

    His “solution” is let the criminals dictate our policies. We’ve been doing that for 30 years and it hasn’t worked. What utter nonsense to proclaim that building a wall would give the “perception” that our immigration policies are “in chaos”. The only question is whether it would work, and the people who know, the Border Patrol, say it does. Of course, common sense would say that it works, but that is in woefully short supply with Nowrasteh’s propaganda.

    • avatar

      Leland how is it that Trump kept 1000 jobs from going to Mexico? … the State O and the company millions fir that meaning Obama B did it. .. . It happened under Obama…

        • avatar

          What is your actual position? You seem to be saying it’s a good thing and Obama caused it to happen and then you say it’s all bs. Notice I say you “seem” to be saying something but it’s hard to decode your gibberish.

          • avatar

            U position us that about time we retain the jobs but let’s keep it honest N to the people that deserve the credit

          • avatar

            I don’t say a single person, even Democrats, saying that Obama kept those jobs at Carrier here, because he had nothing to do with it. It was Trump who put the pressure on the company.