Letter: Regarding Robert Tembeckjian's speech on immigration
May 18, 2019
To the Editor of the Armenian Mirror Spectator:
Atty. Robert H. Tembeckjian’s passionate — and perhaps understandable given his grandparents’ experiences — defense of illegal immigration in his April 25 speech to the Armenian Bar Association in New York City (“In Defense of Illegal Immigrants and Public Servants,” Commentary, Mirror-Spectator, May 4,2019) raises certain concerns and questions in my mind.
The situation on America’s southern border is dire. Every month, thousands of illegal migrants cross into the US without being apprehended. Others are apprehended and released into the general population under our “Catch and Release” policy.
Immigration officials can’t always determine whether they’re criminals and/or whether their asylum claims are genuine. www.cis.org, whose executive director is Mark Krikorian, contains worthwhile immigration information.
Mr. Tembeckjian calls for “due process.”
I believe that immigration officials generally follow due process. But it’s difficult when huge migrant caravans arrive that are often trying to “game” the American system. Frankly, some American political groups want lax border security because the illegal migrants will someday become voting citizens.
Most “Catch and Release” migrants do not appear later for their scheduled court dates. It is they who don’t follow “due process.” Far too many illegal migrants are also involved in drug/child/sex trafficking, gang/criminal activity, or worse.
Moreover, they unfairly jump ahead of people who apply legally for admission into the US but must wait for years or are turned down. Mr. Tembeckjian’s speech did not address these problems.
Though America and Armenia have different needs, each requires secure borders. Turkey and Azerbaijan have closed their borders with Armenia, but those borders will probably open someday.
When that happens, there will be law abiding Turks and Azeris who have legitimate reasons for entering Armenia. Other Turks and Azeris may resemble some illegal migrants entering America: drug/child/sex traffickers, mafia, spies, or other types of criminals.
Would we want Armenia’s borders to then be as porous as America’s? Would we want Armenia to have a “Catch and Release” policy like America’s? Would we want migrants to be no-shows for their court dates in Armenia as they are in America?
One would hope the answers are no.
Perhaps Mr. Tembeckjian would say that he favors “comprehensive immigration reform” by Congress. Fine. But America’s borders must first become as secure as we would hope Armenia’s are and will be.
David Boyajian (The author is a freelance journalist whose articles are archived at Armeniapedia.org/wiki/David_Boyajian.)