Donald Trump tweeted a video showing 1,000 migrants coming through a chain link fence at the border. They were all caught, of course. We are catching a lot more migrants. This makes sense, because long before Trump became president, we have spent billions making our southern border more secure. The Customs and Border Patrol shows a surge in the number of apprehension and inadmissibility at the SW Border. Last month approximately 90,000 immigrants who have been apprehended. This number is about 10,000 less than the CBP numbers which include both apprehensions and inadmissibilities.
Looking at the video clip a second time, it looks like we could have swarmed in and arrested the first few migrants to get through the hole in the fence and the rest would have not entered the US. At least on that day at that location. So, a conscious decision was made to make as big arrest as possible.
I am certain walls do impede the flow of migrants. Trump likes the word “walls” but what really works are fences. In fact, what the video showed was that a chain link fence worked, because it took time for the migrants to cut a hole in the fence, and this delay allowed immigration enforcement officers (ICE) to get in position to round everyone up. It certainly looks like night time video surveillance cameras also work. The end result of spending all this money at the border, should logically be that fewer of those intending to cross, actually succeed. Thus the video could be used, not to show a crisis, but how we’ve succeeded in avoiding one. I’m certain “electronic walls” (detectors, cameras, drones) work also,
The coyotes will always find ways to get people across the border. That’s their job. They will look for the areas with the least barriers to cross. Obviously, the chain link fence was easy to breach, but the group was so big, it was easy for CBP to spot them. Border security has been beefed up with about 525 more border agents.
Drugs and other human trafficking come across the border at the ports of entry, not through holes in chain link fencing. Both Obama and Trump administrations have been increasing funding to deal with illegal drug smuggling. It’s a huge problem, but it is a separate issue from the migrant inflows. Trump is always conflating and confusing these issues.
Statistics are interesting because we are presented with a partial picture and misinterpretations or distortions are common. The distortions are often purposeful, particularly with commentators attempting to dramatize the problems.
We know how many people, who attempt to cross out southern border, get caught. This is in the Customs and Border Patrol report. Last month, 90,000 migrants got caught. What we want to know is how many made it to the US. There are no really good numbers, and trying to guess this based on those caught is wrong. If measures to catch migrants were basically unchanged, then we could assume that the migrants making it across successfully would go up in proportion to the number who are caught. Of course this is not true. Even if we knew how many get into the country illegally, there are substantial numbers who get caught later, particularly if they are involved in criminal activities. About the best we can say, is that the worst of the migrants, run a high chance of being deported later.
On any particular day or month, you just don’t know in the general population of illegal immigrants is increasing or decreasing. A lot are here, not because they crossed in illegally, but they overstayed their visas. A substantial number return to their country. A general estimate of illegal immigrants in the US is 11 million and our population of illegals may be on the decline.
Now on to removal statistics. We sent 256.000 illegal immigrants back to their country in Fiscal Year 2018 (last full month is Sept 2018). I believe Mexicans crossing at the southern border can be quickly deported. Returning others to their country of origin has become the real immigration problem. Apprehensions are nearly double from a year ago, with the real surge from Guatemala and not Mexico. The real problem is we have run out of space to adequately house immigrants.
With more than 13,000 migrants in custody—an unprecedented number and more than twice what CBP considers a “crisis level”—McAleenan said, calling the situation an “unprecedented humanitarian and border security crisis all along our southwest border.” The overcrowding of CBP facilities have caused the agency to start directly releasing some migrants caught at the border, instead of transferring them to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which itself doesn’t have sufficient detention capacity to accept them. This is the first time in more than a decade that the CBP has had to directly release its detainees and is trying to pick those with the lowest risk, McAleenan said.
Trump hates “catch and release” but he is forced into it because there’s no room at the facilities. So, we are having a trade war over what? Beds? You’ve got to be kidding. This is what Mexican officials will be telling US leaders in Washington on Wednesday They will be saying “You invested heavily in law enforcement, and nothing else. That was the route you took, You were successful. Now deal with it.” Also, that they will retaliate in equal measure to any trade tariffs.
The threat of higher tariffs on Mexico, could not come at a worse time, as the USMCA (or NAFTA II) has not bee ratified by Mexico, Canada nor the US. What we need most right now, is cooperation between the US, Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras on economic development and immigration policy. The hostile and aggressive actions of Trump will only make the situation worse.
Ice report (256,000 removals) includes CBP apprehensions at the border. Note of the violations, 57% were for “failure to appear” which makes sense. Who would appear at a hearing where they would be deported? This kind of violation is for the catch and release group. Initial book-in was 154K from ICE and 243K from CBP in FY 2018 for a total of 397,000 – incredible.