There’s no there there

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES -

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.

RUS­SELL SHAR­MAN

Fayet­teville

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.