A Quick Break-Down Of Trump’s Latest Thoughts On Immigration
Some are somewhat true, some a total lie, some of it’s pie in the sky.
That Tweet comes against the backdrop of new numbers just out from Customs and Border Patrol, showing the number of people apprehended at the border soaring to their highest level in 7 years.
The number of people detained is even bigger than the 133,000 Trump says if you add in “inadmissibles” (who have been removed before, or have criminal records or are considered a threat to national security). That brings May up to 144,000.
But if you look deeper into the numbers it diverges from Trump’s narrative of the people trying to come in predominantly being gang members with face tattoos. In fact, the number of individual adults has remained pretty steady, while unaccompanied children and families are surging. In May, 72% of the people apprehended were families or children. This partly accounts for the higher number of apprehensions because families and children tend to turn themselves in and thus are much more easily apprehended than people trying to sneak across undetected.
That’s because they know, for the most part, they’ll be processed and then released into the U.S. to await a court date that could be months or even perhaps years away. And they want to get in before that might change.
So with that background, let’s take Trump’s contentions one by one:
- “Because of Mexico”. Is Mexico doing enough? Probably not. So it’s fair game to blame them. But only to some extend. First of all, according to the Washington Post’s great immigration reporter Nick Miroff, the border between Guatemala and Mexico is 540 miles long and “much of it is wild jungle….with no inspections or checkpoints at all….” So very hard to police. Once Central Americans come into Mexico, the Mexican government by and large wants them out. So the easiest way to deal with it is to just let them pass through. Also, from Mexico’s perspective, why should they be responsible for solving the U.S.’ problem? Especially with Trump continually throwing fuel on the fire. Because one of the reasons the numbers are surging so rapidly is that Central American immigrants know Trump is going to change something at some point, or at least they don’t want to take the risk that he will. And Miroff also says the impetus for many now is they simply don’t want to be left behind.
- “Because of…the Democrats in Congress refusing to budge on immigration reform”. This is a lie, or at very least a completely untested statement. As we’ve said it seems like a million times, just a short few years ago, Democrats were on board with a bill that would’ve done virtually everything Trump’s asking for (end to visa lottery, end to what he calls “chain migration”, even money for a wall)! It sailed through the Senate with bipartisan support, but was blocked by Tea Party Republicans in the House because it also expanded legal immigration, and protected and offered a more than decade-long path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants already in the U.S. But there’s no indication Democrats wouldn’t accept the same deal now. (Although he now denies it, many news organizations reported Trump at one point making a “lite” version of that deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. But then Trump went back to the White House, turned on the TV, and found his favorite personalities yelling about “amnesty”, which is a very dirty word in some circles, and suddenly that deal “never happened”. So when Trump says Democrats are “refusing to budge”, he means they won’t do exactly as he and his immigration ultra-hard liners in the White House command without getting anything they feel is important as part of a balanced compromise. So we think it’s fair to say progress isn’t being made because Trump’s and his minions are being stubborn, not Democrats.
- “The higher the Tariffs go, the higher the number of companies that will move back to the USA!” This is Trump’s magic solution to everything trade related: make it all in the U.S. from top to bottom “like in the old days”, and then the U.S. won’t have to rely on imports at all, even from our closest allies. This would, in some ways, be a beautiful thing. But it’s not something that will or can happen in a weekend, which is all we’ve got before Trump’s scheduled his tariffs to start (at first at 5%), or even weeks, or even months. What tariffs do immediately is raise the cost (and perhaps even cut off supply) to U.S. manufacturers that rely on parts fabricated in Mexico to finish the goods they produce here. And many of them will be blindsided, having never even imagined tariffs would ever happen for these reasons under these circumstances. And if Trump wants more of these “intermediate parts” manufactured in the U.S. — we agree! we do too! — why not incentivize it, as Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown (who unfortunately is not running for President), has often proposed? Give corporations tax breaks for bringing manufacturing and jobs back to the U.S.! Not simply for the sake of just giving them tax breaks. Which is all Trump has done, to the tune of $1.5-trillion. And, of course, farmers are screwed either way, both ways, because the U.S. both exports and imports a lot of agricultural product to and from Mexico, and a lot of it’s seasonal.