There’s no there there
As Donald Trump issues new executive orders granting increased powers to apprehend and deport millions of immigrants, both documented and undocumented, and build a massively expensive border wall even as our inland infrastructure crumbles from neglect, he cites the supposed surge of illegal immigration at the southern border which has “overwhelmed federal agencies.” It’s just not true.
His own Border Patrol statistics contradict the so-called surge. In fact, the flow of migrants from Mexico to the U.S. is lower than it’s been since the 1960s. And more significantly, according to a Pew Research Center report, migration flows from Mexico have actually reversed in the last several years: “Between 2009 and 2014, some 870,000 Mexican immigrants arrived in the U.S. while about 1 million left.” More migrants moved south than moved north during Barack Obama’s administration. The first time that’s happened since the 1940s.
In short, there is no “surge” at the southern border. And if Mr. Trump studied history, he’d realize that such reversals of migratory flows often coincide with U.S. amnesty laws for current immigrants, not draconian crackdowns. Even the patron saint of contemporary conservatives, Ronald Reagan, understood this and embraced amnesty (despite his simultaneous militarization of the border).
Make no mistake: These executive orders and The Great Wall are more political theater. I believe they are addressing a problem that does not exist to appease a fearful and uninformed public, and in the process creating a problem we’ll all have to deal with for years to come.