The POTUS and the Null Set

White HouseImmigration is a good thing!  My wife and her family came to this country through the legal process and became U.S. Citizens.  In my family, we have English, German, Hispanic, and Irish relatives, among others, who immigrated to this country only one or a few generations removed.

Our country was founded by immigrants!  Even the indigenous peoples who met the European explorers migrated to our hemisphere from other lands on the other side of the world.  All modern humans are the descendants of migratory people.

Our immigration laws and policies are not working.  According to the media, political leaders, and government officials, there are millions of people here illegally.  Obviously, this is not supposed to happen.

What do we do about this?

Enter the President of the United States who says he’s tired of waiting for Congress to take action.  He appeared on a number of television networks last night in prime time and announced an executive action ostensibly to solve the problem for about five million people.   In order to be included under his order, immigrants must satisfy at least four criteria.

  1. They must be parents of U.S. Citizens.
  2. They must have been in the United States for a minimum of five years.
  3. They must pass a background check to determine if they have committed any crimes.
  4. They must pay all back taxes owed on earnings while in the United States.

This is an amazing set of conditions.  On first reading they may appear entirely reasonable and even compassionate.  On further analysis, I’m wondering if anyone could possibly satisfy all four criteria.  Could anyone prove it beyond reasonable doubt?

Under the current interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, anyone born in our country is a citizen, even if the child’s parents are not.  A large number of children become U.S. Citizens in this way every year.  Some of their parents are here legally, migrant farm workers and others on student visas or with green cards for example.  The President’s order does not apply to these parents who have legal documents authorizing them to be here.   So the plan only deals with the subset of parents of U.S. citizens who are here without documentation.  How will they prove they’ve been here five years?  Would they have to prove they never left the United States, even for a few days or even a couple of hours?  Why not four years? Or three years?  Or ten years?  Only parents of U.S. Citizens without any immigration documentation who can somehow prove they have been here at least five years are eligible to come forward for consideration.

A criminal background check determines whether a person has committed a crime.  If it is known that these parents of U.S. citizens entered the country and stayed for at least five years without proper authorization, then they violated immigration laws and possibly other laws as well.  Unless they are pardoned, they cannot pass a background check.

If someone resided in our country for at least five years and was gainfully employed, they should have paid income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes.  Under the President’s plan, these parents of U.S. Citizens, who are here illegally, who somehow pass criminal background checks, and who owe back taxes, would then be required to pay those taxes before satisfying the requirements of his executive order.  How will we know how much they owe?  Did they work under false documentation and identification?  If so, this should disqualify them?

Well there you have it, a null set.  No one need apply, because no one could possibly satisfy all these requirements.  The President apparently violated the Constitution and his oath of office issuing an executive order that pertains to no one.  He managed to irritate more than half the country, while taunting the very constituents he hoped would applaud his actions.  Furthermore, he created a bureaucratic nightmare guaranteed to frustrate large numbers of legal and illegal immigrants.

I need a drink.

About DocStephens

Retired college professor of science and mathematics, academic administrator, and president (emeritus).
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