President Donald Trump has been using a surge in illegal immigration numbers as an excuse to declare a national emergency to build his wall, but new data from Customs and Border Patrol reveal that Trump’s own immigration policies are to blame for the increase.
Illegal immigration is lower than it has been in decades.
According to the New York Times:
From the 1980s to the mid-2000s, the government reported annually apprehending around 1 million to 1.6 million foreigners who illegally entered the United States at the southwestern border. In 2000 alone, federal agents apprehended between 71,000 and 220,000 migrants each month.
By comparison, monthly border crossings so far this year have ranged from 20,000 to 40,000 people.
The number of people who have been either apprehended or turned away at the southwestern border also has decreased over the past decade.
But Trump declared a national emergency anyway in an effort to build a wall a majority of Americans oppose and that Congress did not agree to fund.
Trump cited illegal immigration surges as one of his reasons, but it turns out the “border crisis” is one of his own manufacture because his policy of forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for months and years and the fact that Trump refuses to increase border personnel has resulted in many migrants choosing to cross the border illegally so they can stay in the United States while their cases are being considered.
In recent months, CBP has restricted the number of immigrants who can be processed for asylum at ports of entry and has begun turning back asylum seekers, who must now wait in Mexico while their cases are decided.
CBP data shows that at the same time, the proportion of immigrants caught crossing illegally rather than through legal ports of entry has been rising.
It climbed from 73 percent of border crossings between October 2017 and January to 2018 to 83 percent for the same period ending this January 31. The percentage reporting to legal ports of entry, meanwhile, dropped from 27 percent to 17 percent, even as the overall number of border crossings rose sharply, according to the data.
Keep in mind, this increase in illegal immigration occurred after Trump restricted the flow of asylum seekers into the country. And migrants have every reason to fear as they wait in Mexico.
Immigration advocates and lawyers say immigrants are being warned about the conditions in cities like Tijuana and are increasingly choosing to risk apprehension by the Border Patrol while crossing into the U.S. illegally instead of waiting in Mexico.
As you may recall, Trump even rejected his own administration’s immigration statistics when confronted with them by reporters after he announced the national emergency declaration.
So, it’s not that migrants don’t want to wait their turn in line at ports of entry, it’s that Trump has made the lines so long that it makes them increasingly desperate to enter the United States. Better to wait in a safe country than in a dangerous one.
The lines at ports of entry would move much faster with more personnel to process asylum claims. But Trump won’t do it because he wanted to create a border crisis all along so he could have an excuse to build a wall that will be ineffective to stop drugs and illegal immigration.
Clearly, the only emergency here is Trump’s incompetence and lack of human compassion.
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