Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – The media frenzy in the US around the alleged border crisis with Mexico could have several roots. It could be an attempt to appear even-handed, in that anchors are criticizing a Democratic administration. It could be that Republican talking points are simply being given a hearing. It cannot be that the two-month-old Biden administration has actually changed anything substantially about attempts of undocumented people to come into the United States. It hasn’t, with only a few minor exceptions.
- “So far this year, immigration patterns — including those involving unaccompanied minors — are no different than they were in 2020 or 2019. A quick look at the number of unaccompanied minors at the U.S.-Mexico border shows that the count goes up each spring and summer, and that it does not seem to be correlated with the U.S. government’s efforts to stop the human flow. As of today, the case cannot be made that Biden’s policies are causing higher numbers of unaccompanied minors and other immigrants at the border.”
WaPo’s hard news staff crunched the numbers and they concur, even if their editors don’t. The actual, like, reporters find “no migrant surge” at the border.
You expect Texas governor Greg Abbott to charge that Biden is suddenly letting Mexican drug cartels operate freely ( he isn’t and they aren’t). No surprise that Fox’s Jeannine Pirro should charge that “the border is completely open” ( it isn’t– at all).
What is surprising is the lemming-like rush of US TV news to trumpet the alleged Biden border crisis.
Since there is no factual basis for claims of an unusual crisis at the border, I strongly suspect that the TV media coverage is provoked by an unfaced white nationalism. Erin Burnett at CNN actually smirked at the idea of the Biden administration saying (quite correctly) that there is no crisis, only an ongoing challenge.
Most undocumented immigrants don’t even come in via the Mexico border. In 2017, 600,000 people who had flown into the US with valid visas overstayed their visas. That year, some 300,000 people were apprehended trying to enter the US over the Mexican border.
Between 2007 and 2016, far more Mexicans left the US than came in. Mexicans are 25% of foreign-born immigrants in the US. Asians are 28%. Europeans are 13%. These statistics cover documented immigrants, including naturalized ones, as well as the minority of the undocumented.
Why the anxiety about Spanish-speaking undocumented immigrants coming over the border, when there are now more undocumented people in the US coming in through airports and overstaying their visas, from all over the world, including places in Europe?
No hue and cry about European immigrants overstaying their visas or taking peoples’ jobs. No reporters staking out LaGuardia or JFK or Boston Logan Airport?
Hmm. I’m just trying to put my finger on what could be the difference here.
In 2019, under the odious Trump, 851,508 people were apprehended trying to come into the US illegally via the southwest border, an unusually large number given recent averages. Yet there was not wall to wall coverage throughout 2019 of Trump’s “Border crisis.” There was a bit when Trump himself made a big deal out of the Mexican-border undocumented entrants. Trump of course demonized Mexicans as rapists and drug smugglers and murderers.
h/t Factcheck.org .
Last October, apprehensions went up to 69,022. I watch a lot of TV news. No coverage of “crisis at the border” last October. None.
Trump was in office for most of January. Apprehensions of undocumented immigrants (individuals or family units)? 75,312. The number of unaccompanied children among them? 5,694. No reporting on crisis at the border under Trump’s last three weeks in power.
Historical patterns show that numbers of attempted entries, including by unaccompanied children, tend to spike in spring-summer.
So it is not a particular surprise that immigration authorities picked up 96,974 undocumented immigrants in February. It is not a surge. It is par for the course. It is like 2019, the last year before the pandemic. It is just normal life in the US.
The Biden administration has deported the vast majority of them. In fact, it is doing so in a Draconian way and in precisely the same way and on the same pandemic grounds that Trump did. And it is continuing the problematic practice of summarily denying claims of asylum, except in the case of unaccompanied children.
Except for the families and unaccompanied children. Trump used to promptly expel them into Mexico (many are not Mexican). Biden is letting the children stay. Most of them have relatives in the US who will take them in. They will be given an asylum hearing to see if they are in danger back home, and if not will eventually be sent back.
Trump putting unaccompanied children found in the US over the border to Mexico, all by themselves? Now that was a “crisis at the border.” It was a crime in international law.
Trump used to charge immigrant families with a crime (trying to enter illegally) and put them in prison. Since children cannot be in adult prison by US law, their children were therefore taken from them. Then Trump threatened that if the undocumented relatives of these children came to pick them up, the relatives would be arrested and deported.
So thousands of children went into US government custody instead of to their families, a change from previous administrations.
Then Trump deported the parents and kept the children.
That was a crisis at the border. The US TV news media covered it for a couple of months then got bored and we never heard anything more about it. The Trump administration did not keep records about which families they broke up, moreover, so that thousands of children were permanently lost to their parents. Trump made the US government into a family separation machine.
Biden stopped the family separations. But because of the coronavirus, the vast majority of individuals detained are being deported by Biden.
Biden is not, however, immediately deporting the unaccompanied children who are detained, which means that several thousand of them are in US detention facilities. Trump had trained the childrens’ families in the US to be afraid to come pick them up, so distribution to families is slower than it had been under Obama.
The children, however, will be placed with their US families over time, which is a vast improvement over the way Trump treated them and their families.
This improvement is what the US television news is calling a “crisis at the border.”