Just how accustomed have we become to the new normal of open borders? In March, when 92,840 people were apprehended between ports of entry at the border, including 53,208 family unit members, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) referred to it as a “system-wide emergency.” Now, after preliminary data show the numbers are off the peak of May, back “down” to 95,500 total apprehensions and 57,300 family unit members, it is reported as a major breakthrough.
Has the Overton window shifted so far to the Left on this issue that the media will successfully acculturate us to tolerate this level of illegal immigration, especially the shutdown of our Border Patrol, caring for immigrants rather than protecting Americans, as the new normal?
While it is true that the numbers are down 28 percent from the unfathomable peak of the May numbers, when over 132,000 were apprehended between ports of entry, the June numbers still sit at roughly the April levels, which themselves reflected a high-water mark, with month-over-month increases for a year and a half.
At this point, it’s not yet clear whether May represented a new baseline or just an aberration with a number of huge groups coming in at once. Now, with the hotter weather, when numbers usually drop anyway, maintaining the level of illegal immigration from March/April still represents a 44 percent increase over the levels we were seeing in February, when the president declared a national emergency.
Thus, the June border numbers, without a further trajectory change, are more akin to a slight market correction the day after the stock market reaches its highest level, but still well into uncharted waters.
While it is true that some actions taken by the Mexican government might have dissuaded more migrants from crossing into Mexico since President Trump secured an agreement with President Lopez Obrador in early June, it is unlikely that the Mexican government has the desire or the ability to permanently bend the trajectory until we change the policies of executive and judicial amnesty from our side of the border. The bottom line is that the cartels make too much money off human smuggling and will not allow Mexico’s national guard to take a bite out of that revenue without a massive civil war.
Yesterday, the New York-based Spanish language publication “El Diario” posted a video of alleged members of Cártel del Noreste (CDN) attacking national guard soldiers in Tamaulipas, one of the key smuggling areas. This comes a week after a cartel in the southern border province of Tabasco set up a blockade of burning cars in a highway, according to Borderland Beat, with the following warning: “Welcome #GuardiaNacional(.) We know that you’re coming with everything but let’s see how many come out of here alive, align yourselves or we’ll do it for you.” Tabasco shares a border with Guatemala, where President Lopez Obrador promised to deploy national guardsmen to stop the Central American migration.
It’s clear that without the Trump administration designating the cartels as terrorists under our laws and using the military more aggressively on our side of the border to counter their smuggling activities, we will never return to even “Obama levels” of illegal immigration. It remains stupefying why this administration has not yet done that, why it has not fired acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan, and why it has not issued an 1182 shutoff at the border.
According to a new Harvard/Harris poll, 42 percent of voters rank immigration as the most important issue facing the country today, more than any other issue. More importantly, voters were asked directly whether they support the idea of turning back people with questionable asylum claims, and 62 percent said they should “immediately” be turned back. That includes 64 percent of independent voters, 62 percent of self-described moderates, and even 44 percent of people who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The president has nothing to lose and everything to gain by finally shutting off all migration of those without proper documentation at our border and turning them back the same way we did with the Haitians in the early 1990s. Not only would it protect Americans from crime, drugs, gangs, diseases, and public charge, it would end all the backlash over the care for the illegal aliens themselves. There is no good way to manage catch-and-release even from a humanitarian perspective when the numbers are this high.
When the president announced his bid for the highest office in the land on June 16, 2015, he referred to America as a “dumping ground” for illegal aliens. At that time, there were roughly 38,000 apprehensions a month. In July 2014, amidst the original crisis of Central American migration, Trump tweeted, “The immigration crisis is a horrible mess made worse by an incompetent president who doesn’t have a clue. We need new leadership FAST!”
If things have gotten so bad that we now tout “only 95,000” apprehensions as success, then this entire endeavor has truly been a failure. We need real leadership, fast, and that begins with the president getting new legal advice in the White House.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.