Border apprehensions are down, but White House boasts may be empty chest thumping

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco  (3.5 minute read)  

I found two stories this morning that are at odds with each other, or better said, they’re two different sides of the same set of numbers.

First:

Illegal Border Crossings Appear to Drop Under Trump

I’m letting the “I” word slide because it’s a part of the original New York Times headline.

Here’s the gist:

“Roughly 840 people a day were caught or stopped from entering the United States from Mexico in February, according to Customs and Border Protection, a drop of about 36 percent from the previous February. Just as significant, the number was down about 39 percent from January, a reversal of a year’s long trend of apprehensions increasing in February as the temperature begins to rise and more people try to cross the border.”

[pullquote]In some cases the price of coming to the U.S. has doubled to about $8,000.00. This is a classic market consideration.[/pullquote]

There’s a lot in that paragraph, including a weather report, and the reflexive response from the Trump White House has been to carve a notch on its immigration head post. But they may be boasting.

Sure, the apprehensions of undocumented immigrants are down. But does that mean that border guards are flaking their duties and more immigrants are getting through?

Read more stories about immigrant border apprehensions in NewsTaco. >> 

Does it mean that Mexico is doing a better job of stopping immigrants at its border with Guatemala? Mexican migration, after all, is at a net zero and has been for quite some time. So the biggest chunk of people apprehended at the border are from Central America – El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Mexico has set-up chekpoints on every road coming from it’s southern border and the apprehensions have climbed. Also, most of those Central Americans are women and children who don’t sneak across the U.S. border. They’re seeking asylum, protection from the violence in their home countries, so they purposely look for authorities in order to turn themselves in.

We also know that smugglers, coyotes, have increased their “fee.” In some cases the price of coming to the U.S. has doubled to about $8,000.00. This is a classic market consideration. Trump’s loudly-broadcast immigration rants give smugglers the hook they need to raise their prices, even though it’s just Trump bluster taunting an increase in border security that hasn’t happened yet.

So let’s not jump to chest-beating conclusions.

Trump may be snatching immigrants from their daily lives and deporting them with no due process, but how is Trump’s net deportation number different from the Obama deportation record? In other words, loud and public doesn’t mean stronger. There could be other things affecting the outcome and the number may increase next month, or the month after that.

And that doesn’t bode well for the economy, because business likes stability. And immigrant labor is a big part of the workforce.

Check out what CBS News reports today:

Immigration is the only thing keeping U.S. work force growing

Photo by Jens Schott Knudsen/Flickr

You have to add this to the mix.

“. . . the Pew Research Center . . . projects that the U.S. working-age population (people aged 25-64), which was 173.2 millionin 2015, will shrink to 165.6 million by 2035 without immigrants entering the country. At current rates of immigration, by contract, the worker pool will grow to 183.2 million, Pew estimates.”

So the hands that applaud lower undocumented immigration are the same hands that are going to find that the money in their wallets affords less and less as they cheer and cheer.

This is serious stuff.

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As baby-boomers retire “new immigrants account for all the projected growth in the labor force, according to Pew.” It’s inevitable. “Even if immigration proceeds at the same rate, the growth rate of working-age adults will be slower compared with previous decades, Pew found.”

So all the praise going to Trump because of the border apprehension number is like confetti added to the winds of bluster. It’s going to leave a mess.

[Photo courtesy of JammedUp News]

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