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Open Borders Conference: Only Racists Want Border Security

Border Conference
Screengrab of speakers Lindsay Toczylowski, executive director of the Immigration Defense Law Center and Chelsea Sachau of The Florence Project | Image by Kellen McGovern Jones/The Dallas Express

Illegal alien advocacy groups were outraged during a press conference on Thursday arranged in reaction to President Joe Biden’s latest executive order on immigration that took effect this week.

The federal action will purportedly make it harder for illegal aliens to seek asylum in the United States after crossing the border.

Azadeh Erfami, a senior policy analyst at the National Immigration Justice Center (NIJC), spoke first at the virtual event attended by The Dallas Express. She called the order the “most draconian, anti-asylum regulation to date.”

She claimed the new regulation set a “quota” limiting how many asylum claims could be processed every day, heightened screening from Customs and Border Patrol, and made it nearly impossible for illegal aliens to undergo screening before being deported. Regarding the quota, she said it was designed to “shut down asylum access” and claimed that the United States has never had such a restriction before.

It is worth noting the United States has repeatedly imposed immigration quotas in the past. The National Origins Formula was a quota system that governed immigration for around 40 years in the United States.

Near the end of her remarks, she invoked the image of the Holocaust. Erfami stated that the president’s order came on the 85th anniversary of the United States refusing asylum to Jews fleeing Nazi Germany and that it “it was a death sentence back then and it will be today.”

Erfami did not buttress her Holocaust imagery by identifying any modern equivalent to Adolf Hitler or the mass industrialized slaughter of any specific group seeking asylum.

Likewise, the United States Holocaust Memorial writes on its website, “Approximately 125,000 Germans, most of them Jewish, immigrated to the United States between 1933 and 1945.” Those who were not granted access to the United States often sought refuge in other places in Europe, South America, and the British Mandate of Palestine.

Erfami was followed by Chelsea Sachau of The Florence Project. Sachau spoke in similarly grave tones. She said the order “will return them [illegal immigrants] to violence, danger and possible death.”

Sachau made an emotional appeal, stating that illegal immigrants are “just like you or I.” Similarly, she said they were “doctors, nurses, lawyers, [and] teachers” among other respected professions necessitating extensive formal education.

This assertion is at odds with numerous studies. Pew Research found in 2016 that illegal immigrants mostly worked in agriculture, tourism, construction, and similar industries. Less than 25% have any sort of postgraduate education, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

Lindsay Toczylowski, executive director of the Immigration Defense Law Center, said the short period of time (four hours) allotted to illegal aliens to seek counsel after entering the United States would deny them a “fighting chance” at securing asylum.

Marisa Limon Garza, executive director of Las Americas Immigration Advocacy Center, denounced Biden’s order as being too similar to those from the Trump administration. She characterized the order as a “sad and cynical attempt to cater to … racists and white supremacists.” She further warned that orders like this would encourage Americans to murder illegal aliens.

Garza also expressed support for expanding current pathways to citizenship for illegal aliens and building new ones, as well. This was the only time citizenship was mentioned during the press conference, which was over an hour long.

The Dallas Express asked Garza, “Why is it important for there to be new paths to citizenship specifically, rather than other legal statuses?” She did not offer a response. Likewise, the moderator and organizer, Michele Roche of the #WelcomeWithDignity Campaign, did not acknowledge the question or encourage Garza to respond.

During the press conference, Richard Calderone of the NIJC announced that a joint lawsuit with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) would be filed against Biden’s order.

The Biden administration’s order follows months of law enforcement inaction on the southern border, during which time the president claimed he could not act without new legislation from Congress.

The administration has repeatedly been at odds with state executives like the governor of Texas, who chose to add buoys to the Rio Grande and makeshift barriers to frequently used crossover zones in Eagle Pass, Texas. In both instances, the Biden administration sued Texas for these policies.

Voters have repeatedly signaled immigration as their greatest concern in polls, as previously covered in The Dallas Express.

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