Despite constant criticism from Democrats, President Trump’s immigration policies seem to be working.
According to government data, there were 51,000 arrests at the US-Mexico border in August (that’s a 60% drop from a peak in May).
“What the numbers show is that the United States’ threats and bullying of other countries have been effective in getting other countries to increase their enforcement efforts,” explains Maureen Meyer, director of the Washington Office on Latin America.
In June, Trump struck a deal with Mexico designed to limit migration from Central America into Mexico. The deal was signed days after Trump threatened to impose steep tariffs on 100% of Mexican goods.
“I think that they are getting exactly what they said they would get, by forcing the hand of Mexico,” says Oscar Chacón, co-founder of the pro-migrant organization Alianza Americas. “But the question is, is it sustainable?”
The deal led to increased security at Mexico’s border with Guatemala and efforts to prevent buses from carrying groups of migrants through the country.
“They really have made it harder to cross where people were crossing before,” says Andrew Selee, head of the Migration Policy Institute.
“Before, you had assembly lines of buses that would fill up down at the Guatemala-Mexico border at different places and drive them in caravans,” added national security expert Todd Bensman. “Those big buses are now being interdicted at roadblocks and emptied out and turned around.”
The deal also forced Mexico to house tens of thousands of asylum seekers while their applications are processed in the United States.
Mexican authorities will meet with Administration officials in DC this week for a 90-day review of Mexico’s counter-migration efforts. The delegation is expected to ask for quicker asylum processing, increased aid to Central America, and efforts to curb the flow of guns from the US to Mexico.
“We’re showing that the strategy that Mexico put forward has been successful,” said Mexico’s foreign secretary, Marcelo Ebrard. “I don’t expect a tariff threat Tuesday because it wouldn’t make since.”
In the meantime, the Trump administration is waiting for the courts to approve a new policy that would remove all limits on the period of time migrant families can be detained if they are housed together.
Author’s Note: The declining rate of border arrests (if sustained) will be a great talking point at Trump’s 2020 campaign rallies, but we can expect the Dems to fight back with complaints about the conditions inside border detention facilities.
Democrats may also point to the decreasing arrest rate as another reason we don’t need the Wall.
Editor’s Note: This is certainly a successful effort by Trump in getting other countries to help with immigration, but they could change their minds as the next administration comes online. It is critical that the wall is finished and the security measures enforced. After a country without a secure border is not a country at all.