Illegal Aliens Aren’t Victims, Actions Have Consequences

Buzzfeed claims to, “break big stories that hold major institutions accountable for their actions, and expose injustices that change people’s lives.” It recently ran opinion column, “The Children of Undocumented Immigrants Live in an Emotional Prison” that clearly demonstrates the fallacious logic regularly employed by open borders advocates. Although we suspect that wasn’t the story Buzzfeed was trying to break.

The column claims to detail the delicate psychological state of Carlos (not his real name), a U.S. citizen child of illegal alien parents. We are told that Carlos sought a psychological evaluation “to identify the hardships and mental health impacts he would likely suffer if his parents were forced to return to their native country.” Apparently, Carlos “has nightmares of immigration raids, panic symptoms, and difficulty concentrating because of fear and lack of sleep.”

According to the authors of the Buzzfeed piece, Carlos and his parents are hapless victims of “an alarming increase in levels of distress and anxiety” among illegal aliens that is attributable to “President Donald Trump’s highly publicized crackdown on illegal immigration.”

If that sounds totally backwards, that’s because it is. One of the primary functions of law is deterrence. If potential lawbreakers are not afraid they will suffer negative consequences upon breaking the law, then they will not be dissuaded from violating it. Therefore, if illegal aliens are experiencing increased levels of stress and anxiety, due to fear of prosecution for their trespasses, then, for the first time in decades, our immigration system is working the way it should.

Yet, the Buzzfeed columnists seem to suggest that the United States owes Carlos and his parents an apology, not just for enforcing a distinction between citizens and foreigners, but for having the temerity to call foreigners to account when they trespass in the United States. Therefore, rather than deport them based on their flagrant disregard for our rules, we should reward them for it, and let them stay. The clear implication is that some ill-defined obligation to minimize the distress inflicted on Carlos and his parents outweighs any interest that the United States has in asserting its sovereignty and maintaining public order.

But that’s utterly tortured logic that fails on at least two counts:

  • It inverts the legal relationship that exists between the United States and foreigners, making us accountable to illegal aliens, rather than holding illegal aliens accountable to our laws.
  • It also grants illegal aliens special treatment of a type that is unavailable to U.S. citizens. We don’t refuse to incarcerate tax evaders, fraudsters, or burglars because their children will be upset when they are hauled away. And we should not let illegal aliens use their kids as human shields that exempt them from the consequences of their crimes.

In any other context, people intuitively accept that letting criminals set the penalty for their own transgressions is a very bad public policy call. The same should hold true for immigration. Americans are in no way obligated to adjust their notions of public order, solely to comfort those who blatantly and unrepentantly disobey our laws.

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
    Legal Thrunthru on

    ILLEGAL aliens, regardless of age, need to be held in secure facilities, receive a speedy determination by a Judge that they are, indeed, in the country illegally, and thrown the Hell out! False asylum seekers, and those they claim to be “their family members”, should receive the same facilities until such time as their ‘asylum claim’ can be indisputably proven. ALL those who enter illegally need to have full biometrics performed on them; full fingerprints, eye scans, and then DNA testing. If they refuse ANY of them, they are immediately jailed until such time as they consent.
    When ALL of those who entered illegally, whether allowed to stay or not, have been vetted and a determination of their admissability or deportation made, the very last thing they need to have read to them and they sign acknowledging that they understand the statement, is a short, curt, and stern warning that should they be caught ANYWHERE in the US again they are subject to execution within 48 hours of their biometric information being identified. 48 hours. Period. No appeals. Bodies to be cremated and thrown in the nearest dumpsite. Those who ARE allowed, after vetting, to stay would be informed that should they be convicted of ANY felony or more than three misdemeanors (excluding those normally receiving a fine) they are to be taken to the nearest port of entry and released. Any future reentry categorically denied. If they’re caught in the US after being deported they, too, are subject to execution.
    Finally, NONE of them including their descendants to the 5th generation, will be eligible for full citizenship. The first four generations will never be able to vote in ANY Federal election. Nor will they be given any of the financial benefits of citizenship. They WILL receive three years of financial assistance and MANDATORY English lessons. After three years those not speaking English will have their status revoked and be returned to their country of origin.
    The above should be made the law of the land. And then enforced. Along the border at reasonable intervals signs need to be posted that should inform any future illegal aliens in multiple languages, along with periodic sound announcements that if they are found crossing the border they will be subject to being shot on sight. No more being nice to those who’d break the laws so blatantly. Those same signs would direct them to the nearest LEGAL Port of Entry where their entry or denial would be determined on site, within one week, during which time they’d be held in a secure facility on site. They should be informed that unless their asylum application is verifiable within that period they’ll be permanently barred from entry in the future.
    That should be sufficient to slow down the flood and, at best, turn it into a mere trickle.

  2. avatar

    The illegal aliens, themselves, are complicit in this insanity, also. And regardless of the Carlos son story in this post, facts do not support that any illegals are in hiding or suffering from any fear of deportation. In fact, we see the opposite. We see foreigners who are in our country illegally, thus criminals, who somehow have been convinced that they have every right to be here and every right to US taxpayers paying all their medical bills, paying for their children’s education including very expensive special tutors. Yet, we see not one grain of gratitude for all they have been given by US citizens. They do not hesitate to march and protest, waving their nation’s flag, while demanding no deportation, amnesty for everyone, no one is illegal, they have rights, etc. This is what they give us in exchange for our largesse to them, yet seem unable to understand why we resent them and want them out of our country. Truth is they just don’t care. They don’t care that their huge numbers cost us over $100 billion every year. They don’t care that their kids in our schools unwilling to learn English and requiring so much of every teacher’s time and attention has greatly degraded the education of our own children, an education for which WE, not them, are footing the total bill for. They just do not care. They choose to view it, all of it, as their right. Therefore, I view all of them as criminals, as con men, as scammers, using, abusing, and exploiting us and our country, all with the total support of their own countries that are totally complicit in this scam on the USA. Maybe I might feel differently if they admitted they should not be here, have no right to be here, are criminals every day they are here and showed a tiny bit of appreciation for all they have been given. But, no, they just feel entitled to all we have materially for free and the material goods are their only reason for being here because their allegiance remains to their country. As the wife of a Mexican American (I assume) columnist said, “I am not, and never will be, American. I am, and will always be, only Mexican.” Said by a foreigner who has taken every advantage available in our country, yet dares to spit in our face.

  3. avatar

    America Must Give All Its Social Security to the World’s Poor

    We are to blame for the rest of the world’s sins…..

    How can you fight that insane attitude? We need a detox plan for brainwashed American Open Border Party (OBP)…like heroine addiction it will require months of therapy for the with drawl symptoms…

  4. avatar

    And the people who do everything to encourage more illegals to come and insist they can’t be deported unless they get endless appeals are the very reason for this problem. It has to stop. If they don’t want to be writing these stories in the future then support the enforcement of immigration law or shut up. Enough of having it both ways. But then again, it’s the same old open borders story, which they intend to happen one way or another.

  5. avatar

    The school of victimology and the school of identify politics are always trying to lay a guilt trip on the American people — telling us that we owe something to other people. In light of this, the Carlos story shouldn’t surprise us. I’ll say it yet again — something I wish the president himself would tell the American people every day: The liberals rely on a continuing inflow of lower-class, lower-skilled, poorly educated people in order to prop up their voter base. No wonder these career politicians get so up in arms every time there’s a new proposal for stricter voter ID laws.