Just over a month ago, critics pilloried President Trump for his threat to impose tariffs on Mexico unless it did more to stem the tide of Central American migrants flooding into the United States. This week it appears that Trump’s decision and Mexico’s subsequent cooperation are producing the desired result — and the lack of applause raises real doubts on the motives of self-appointed migrant advocates.
No serious person now denies that the United States is experiencing a genuine border emergency. Data provided by Customs and Border Protection show that detentions of people illegally crossing into the United States skyrocketed in early 2019 to their highest totals in more than a decade. Something had to be done.
That something — the deal with Mexico — is already producing results. Detentions dropped by 28 percent, from 144,000 in May to a bit more than 100,000 last month. That decline is larger than what would normally be expected from the usual drop due to the hot summer weather. We are still at crisis levels that are taxing the resources devoted to detaining migrants, but it’s going in the right direction.
This is great news for the migrants themselves. Stories of overcrowded and understaffed detention centers show that far too many detained migrants face poor conditions here. There are only two things than can be done in the short term to help them: allocate more money to house them elsewhere or reduce the number of people who are being arrested and sent to those centers. Trump alone can’t allocate more money, but his deal could reduce pressure on these facilities.
You might think that this would produce applause from self-appointed migrant advocates. After all, anything that helps alleviate overcrowding helps detainees. You might think that, but you would be wrong.
Instead, many allegedly pro-migrant lawmakers voted against the recent bill allocating more money for border control that will be used to improve conditions for those detained. Rather than try to work with moderate Democrats and the White House to solve the real problem, they demanded extra protections for migrants and restrictions on the administration’s use of funding, knowing full well that it would have killed that bill.
That should reveal their true agenda: a more liberal immigration policy than Americans want. Think about it: They would have rather gotten nothing than give in a little to help migrants in need of aid. They also don’t support increased border enforcement by U.S. agents or the deal with Mexico. Since the people are coming in droves, that can mean only one thing: They want open borders.
The cat was let out of the bag last week by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), one of the most prominent of the supposed migrant advocates. In an interview , she said she would be open to eliminating the entire Department of Homeland Security, the Cabinet department that oversees border enforcement. She went on to say that detaining the illegal migrants itself is wrong, arguing “we should not be using detention for people who have harmed no one.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s policy would subject Americans to a massive tide of unwanted immigration. Nearly 700,000 migrants were detained in the first nine months of fiscal year 2019. That translates to more than 900,000 new undocumented migrants per year, in addition to 1 million legal immigrants the country admits. If migrants knew they would not be arrested or detained by the United States or Mexico, those numbers would surely increase significantly. Voters do not want the United States to admit 2 million or more new immigrants per year.
Europe shows us what happens politically after sudden, dramatic increases in immigrants with low levels of education and job skills. Voter revolts have forced pro-migrant European governments across the political spectrum to reduce or halt admissions of migrants from Africa and the Middle East. Ocasio-Cortez’s policy would not only flood the United States with millions of new workers, which would certainly drive down wages; it also would create political upheaval that would make Trump’s first campaign look tame.
Trump’s shotgun marriage with Mexico is working. If it continues to work, that will be good for the United States and for the migrants currently in detention. It’s time for people across the political spectrum to recognize that and work together for the common good rather than inflame tensions for perceived political gain.
Read more :
Greg Sargent: Trump’s mass arrests are set to begin. Here’s the Democratic answer.
Marc A. Thiessen: Tariffs won’t solve our border crisis. But Democrats denied Trump the tools he needs.
León Krauze: Trump’s Mexico tariffs show he has no interest in solving the immigration crisis
Jennifer Rubin: Actually, Trump and his party don’t care about the kids in cages
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Henry Olsen Henry Olsen is a Washington Post columnist and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Follow Subscriber sign in We noticed you’re blocking ads! Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker. Or purchase a subscription for unlimited access to real news you can count on. Try 1 month for $1 Unblock ads Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us