Merrick Garland MIA during campus upheavals

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Last week, amid nationwide student protesting that threatened Jewish students and effectively shut down college campuses, twenty-seven Republican senators sent Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona a letter urging them to restore order and shut down the antisemitic, pro-Palestine mobs.

The letter requested an April 24 update that detailed the steps the attorney general’s office would take to restore campus order and allay the Jewish students’ fear for their safety.

A week later, the senators have yet to receive a formal reply.

At a House Judiciary Committee hearing last year, Garland – who is Jewish – emotionally testified that the Department of Justice’s function is to provide equal protection to all. He then tearfully shared the story that two of his grandmother’s siblings were Holocaust murder victims. The protection of the law provided equally to all, Garland continued passionately, is what makes America great, and what saved his immigrant grandmother’s life when the U.S. took her in. “Under the protection of our laws, she was able to live without fear of persecution,” Garland concluded.

Garland’s refusal to actively support Republicans’ calls to protect Jewish students is a sign Biden has intimidated him. But principled attorney generals stand up for what they believe in.

Last November, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio urged Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, the stepson of a Holocaust survivor, to revoke the visas of agitators who support Hamas. In his statement, Rubio reminded Democrats that a visa is not a constitutional right, but rather temporary permission for foreign nationals to visit the U.S. After Rubio filed a motion to deport terrorist sympathizers, Senate Democrats blocked it. President Biden also rejected Rubio’s suggestion, and instead extended protections to “some Palestinians” from deportations.

Biden’s remarks regarding Palestinians’ protections are telling, and consistent with his open borders policy. The president said he has determined that with some exceptions “it is in the foreign policy interest of the United States to defer for 18 months the removal of any Palestinian subject.”

First, Biden did not explain the thought process that led to his conclusion that “the foreign policy interest of the United States” is advanced by the non-removal of Palestinian subjects. Second, U.S. presidents do not have the constitutional authority to determine which foreign nationals remain and which must be removed. Third, Biden pressed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to reward with work permission Palestinian “non-citizens whose removal has been deferred.” Biden then pressed the secretary “to consider suspending regulatory requirements with respect to F-1 non-immigrant students who are Palestinians,” presumably a recommendation that students be granted employment authorization, an affirmative benefit that their visa forbids.

Mayorkas does not have the sole authority to defer deportation or to grant work permission to non-immigrant visa holders or visa overstayers. Congress, not the Executive Branch, has the ultimate authority over immigration. And more foreign-born authorized workers depress native Americans’ job opportunities – since 2019, all the net job growth has gone to immigrants.

Biden’s sweeping statement for Palestinian protections could include rabblerousing students who may be present on F-1 visas. The non-immigrant student visa is a program that allows international students to study at American universities, with the understanding that after graduation, they will return home to use their U.S. degree to improve their native countries’ quality of life.

Many, however, overstay their visas, and because of the relative ease with which foreign graduates of U.S. colleges may remain in the U.S. and seek employment, recent American graduates frequently compete with their foreign peers for jobs. Because employers view corporate diversity as positive, they give preference to international candidates over equally qualified Americans. In FY 2022, an estimated 850,000 visa holders – including 55,023 student and exchange visitors – overstayed their visas.

The F-1 visa is an unwieldy program that has no annual limit on incoming students. For the 2022/2023 academic year, more than a million international students were enrolled in U.S. universities, including 19,001 at Columbia, the epicenter of the ongoing student chaos.

To help assure a safe and orderly academic environment, the State Department must review the F-1 visa, impose an annual numerical total that does not exceed 500,000. They much also work with Homeland Security to institute a vigorous post-graduate enforcement policy to ensure students return home when their visas expire.

Copyright 2024 Joe Guzzardi, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Joe Guzzardi is a Project for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at [email protected].

Joe Guzzardi writes for the Washington, D.C.-based Progressives for Immigration Reform. A newspaper columnist for 30 years, Joe writes about immigration and related social issues.