An article in the LA Times reviews the data on immigration enforcement so far during the Trump administration, pointing to the same conclusion I and others have reached for months now -- that the picture is largely unchanged from the Obama era, other than illegal border crossings being down.
Even there, they have risen for the past three straight months, likely showing that the initial drop was due to would-be immigrants believing that they would not be able to live and work illegally in the new era of Trump, therefore not bothering to try crossing the border.
Now that it is becoming clear that there's no wall in sight, that deportations are lower than under Obama, that Obama's catch-and-release program is still de facto policy, that DACA is still in effect, and that the courts tie up any attempt to control the flow of foreigners, the immigrants' perception has shifted toward a more cautious willingness to start crossing the border illegally all over again.
The longer the lack of strong immigration action persists, the more convinced the immigrants will become of the weakness of the American border, and they will keep crossing more and more until they're back at Obama-era levels again.
As for deportations falling, the LA Times quotes an ICE spokeswoman who assures us without any numbers that there has merely been a shift in the type of deportation -- from the meaningless definition of turning people back right at the border, to removing people who have actually settled somewhere in the interior of the country.
The lack of numbers is telling because every other claim is backed up by statistics, whether released to the public or to the investigative reporter by request. Trump, his team, and his rationalizers in the media and the general public can quote how much illegal border crossings have fallen, down to the percentage point.
If there has really been a surge in true deportations, and a decline only in the fake deportations, everyone would be touting it -- whether they were in favor, saying look at the good job we're doing, or whether they were opposed, saying look how awful the situation is under Trump.
We'll see these stats anyway in the year-end report, so the total lack of specificity suggests they're trying to hide something in the meantime.
Even assuming that one type of removal has replaced another one-for-one, that still implies that the total investment in deporting illegals has not changed from Obama. The argument assumes that the amount of time, money, and manpower is exactly the same as it was under Obama, only being allocated to the interior rather than the border.
Yet we expect a greater investment under Trump, not the same old amount. Why don't we have twice the money and twice the manpower devoted to this problem now, allowing not just a substitution of one kind of enforcement for another, but an increase over that to boot?
As usual, Trump himself is not to blame -- he's certainly not the one ordering the investment to remain unchanged. But also as usual, Trump is not omnipotent -- close to the opposite, in fact, when it comes to immigration, since almost nobody in the government feels compelled to carry out his instructions on this issue, whether cabinet secretaries or lowly officers.
Quiet mutiny is the order of the day on immigration, as the outsider President has minimal political capital (perhaps even political debt) with which to inflict consequences on those who betray the policies he ran and won on.
We've seen General Kelly, as head of DHS, betray the immigration program by hiring Kevin McAleenan to lead US Customs and Border Protection, which includes Border Patrol. McAleenan is an open-borders Obama holdover who had been deputy at CBP, now promoted to the top by General Kelly.
But now I'm starting to wonder how much of the sabotage and subversion is due to the Border Patrol agents being majority Hispanic -- estimates are just over 50%, from the end of George W. Bush onward. I couldn't find stats on how much of the ICE agents are Hispanic.
Naturally, Hispanic agents are going to sympathize more with Hispanic border-crossers than Anglo agents would, especially if the Hispanic agents are not deeply rooted in this country. Ditto for deporting illegals within the interior who have already started to live and work here, perhaps with families here. If a majority of Border Patrol agents are Hispanic, that might explain why catch-and-release is still the norm.
VDare wondered the same thing in February when there were only initial reports of some agents not wanting to carry out Trump's orders. Most of us don't know that these BP agents are mostly Hispanic. I figured if they were federal agents, they were recruited around the nation and then assigned to the border. But it looks like they're recruited locally, where the population is much more Hispanic than the nation as a whole.
The LA Times article points to another series of problems that comes from the BP agents being mostly Hispanic, although they don't mention that this is because the applicant pool is so Hispanic. Namely, that such a large fraction of the applicants fail for really bad reasons -- not passing the drug test, having engaged in human trafficking, having dealt drugs, not passing a lie detector test, and so on. Anglos would pass these background checks at far higher rates.
VDare also discussed the criminal consequences of having such a Hispanic BP force -- soaring corruption, sometimes with agents who may not even be American citizens working on behalf of Mexican drug cartels.
One solution to this problem, without making it explicitly racial or ethnic, would be to begin recruiting drives from the Rust Belt states that flipped for Trump. They have among the lowest rates of immigrant residents. It could be framed as helping out the economically left-behind workers of the Rust Belt, giving them something patriotic to do for decent pay until the factories start coming back. I favor Western Pennsylvania -- Appalachians are territorial, and would be natural border agents.
A second solution would be to re-assign deployed members of the armed forces -- Americans ought to protect America instead of Afghanistan. If there are fewer BP agents under Trump than under Obama, and if the goal of adding 5000 seems out of reach, then just cut the number who are in Germany by 5000. They will pass the background checks more or less with no problems, and they won't need very much additional training. It would also boost their morale, giving them something clearly productive to do to defend their country, rather than ask why the fuck we're still in Afghanistan.
Other better solutions may be out there, too -- but they certainly will not come from the cheerleader squad who just chant "never sick of winning" no matter what the numbers continue to show. While that cuts out a fair share of hardcore Trump supporters, it does not include the immigration single-issue people like Mark Krikorian, Ann Coulter, CIS, and immigration beat reporters at conservative media outlets like Breitbart and Lifezette, or frankly the LA Times.
I've seen no sign that they're going to rationalize whatever the data say just because a hardliner won the election -- there are so many sources of subversion throughout the government and the private sector employer base, and Trump is not a literal God-Emperor who knows all of the facts (especially with General Kelly restricting what info the President receives), and who has the power to implement his wishes with the snap of a finger.
Now it is our job to help turn up the heat on those subversives on behalf of our only-human President.