“The surge of illegal immigration at the southern border has overwhelmed federal agencies and resources and has created a significant national security vulnerability to the United States.” This is the justification that Donald Trump’s Department of Homeland Security used in today’s memorandum Implementing the President’s Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements Policies.
Is the United States really suffering from a surge of illegal immigration at the southern border? Statistics gathered by the Customs and Border Patrol, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security tell a much different story.
Apprehensions of people crossing the southern border of the United States are actually near the lowest level of this entire century so far.
In fiscal year 2000, the number of apprehensions reported by Customs and Border Patrol at the southern border was 1,643,697. In fiscal year 2016, the number of apprehensions was only 408,870.
That’s less than 1/4 of the illegal immigration at the southern border than what our country saw at the beginning of this century.
In today’s memorandum, the Department of Homeland Security tries to paint a scenario of an unprecedented number of people pouring across the border between Mexico and the United States. It does so by comparing only the number of people apprehended crossing that border in 2016 with the people apprehended there in 2015. By cherry picking these two numbers, the Department of Homeland Security deceptively takes a minor fluctuation out of context, purposefully omitting the larger downward trend in apprehensions at the border shown in the charts below.
Donald Trump and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly didn’t want to acknowledge that there were fewer apprehensions at the U.S. southern border in fiscal year 2016 than there were in 2014 and 2013. They don’t want to admit that apprehensions at the Mexican border decreased dramatically during Barack Obama’s presidency.
Trump and Kelly are engaging in a purposeful deception through a misrepresentative selection of statistics, because they rely upon the false belief that there is a crisis of illegal immigration and insecure borders. The fact is that no such crisis exists. There is no serious justification for the Trump memorandum ordering massive spending for mass deportations. The supposed “surge” is a hoax.