Over the past 100 days in office President Trump has struggled to get legislation through Congress but, there is one strategy that has worked very efficiently: Immigration. Judges blocked the travel ban aimed at some Muslim-majority countries; the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico may be held up by debates regarding budgets, and the president has retreated on a previous stand regarding illegal immigrants brought into the country as children. But through tough rhetoric, highly public enforcement raids and, a spotlight on crimes committed by those here illegally, the number if migrants crossing the border into the United States has dropped significantly. There has also been a reverse in the decline of deportations from America.
The Washington Post called it a strategy of “fear” but, others have stated it’s merely the US following its laws.
“The world is getting the message,” Trump said last week during a speech at the National Rifle Association leadership forum in Atlanta. “They know our border is no longer open to illegal immigration, and if they try to break in you’ll be caught, and you’ll be returned to your home. You’re not staying any longer. If you keep coming back illegally after deportation, you’ll be arrested and prosecuted and put behind bars. Otherwise, it will never end.”
The numbers verify the dramatic results of increasing fear. At the end of 2016, there was an average of more than 40,000 apprehensions made by the Customs and Border Patrol at the southern border with Mexico. In March, there were just 12,193 arrests made according to federal data.
Doris Meissner, a former commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in the Clinton Administration, said, “The bottom line is that they have entirely changed the narrative around immigration. The result of that is that, yes, you can call it words and rhetoric, and it certainly is, but it is changing behavior. It is changing the way the United States is viewed around the world, as well as the way we’re talking about and reacting to immigration within the country.”
Leon Fresco, an immigration attorney who served in the Obama Justice Department and as an aide to Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), said, “The administration is doing a good job signaling to the rest of the world they will be cracking down on abuses of the illegal immigration system. That should be the point without needing to create the excesses of the travel ban. There is a balance that can be reached if this administration simply signals it will be enforcing immigration law that does not need to be unduly draconian in a way that is not permitted by law.” Fresco continued by making the point that the Democrats have lost some credibility with the American people by saying that enforcement of the law does not play a role in reducing the number of immigrants coming illegally. “Some have tried to perpetuate a myth that it is not linked. To the extent the numbers stay low, one thing the Trump administration has been able to say that is a correct statement is that enforcement does factor into the calculus,” Fresco said.
Maybe the leading voice behind the immigration strategy is Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He declared recently, “This is the Trump era. Progress is being made daily, and it will continue. This will be the administration that fully enforces our nation’s immigration laws.”
The president’s administration has stumbled with orders, laws, and policies, but their message of “fear” has been heard loud and clear by those who might come to America illegally. Is this strategy sustainable?
Credit: The Washington Post