I’ve posted several times on what the Trump administration is doing to cut down on illegals coming to the United States. While Trump has revoked the “catch and release” policy of the Obama administration and has started actively arresting and deporting illegals who had been considered safe under Obama, the biggest accomplishment is cutting down the supply side of the demand. Rather that trying to shovel a tide of illegals out of the nation, the administration has been trying to actively deter potential illegals from making the journey in the first place. They have been running public service campaigns in Central America highlighting the difficulty of the trip and the lack of welcome awaiting. Just Friday, the administration confirmed that it will now prosecute parents who pay “coyotes” to smuggle their minor children into the United States.
Today, the New York Times verifies that the strategy is paying dividends in a story titled Central Americans, ‘Scared of What’s Happening’ in U.S., Stay Put.
While some of Mr. Trump’s most ambitious plans to tighten the border are still a long way off, particularly his campaign pledge to build a massive wall, his hard-line approach to immigration already seems to have led to sharp declines in the flow of migrants from Central America bound for the United States.
From February through May, the number of undocumented immigrants stopped or caught along the southwest border of the United States fell 60 percent from the same period last year, according to United States Customs and Border Protection — evidence that far fewer migrants are heading north, officials on both sides of the border say.
Inside the United States, the Trump administration has cast a broader enforcement net, including reversing Obama-era rules that put a priority on arresting serious criminals and mostly left other undocumented immigrants alone. Arrests of immigrants living illegally in the United States have soared, with the biggest increase coming among those migrants with no criminal records.
The shift has sown a new sense of fear among undocumented immigrants in the United States. In turn, they have sent a warning back to relatives and friends in their homelands: Don’t come.
While I am fully aware that various people have claimed that a reduction in arrests at the border means that Trump has betrayed his promise on border security, the good news is that sane people don’t believe that. A reduction of arrests coupled with an end to catch-and-release means that illegal immigrant flow is slowing substantially.
This is the highlight of the story:
Migrant smugglers in Honduras say their business has dried up since Mr. Trump took office. Fewer buses have been leaving the northern Honduran city of San Pedro Sula bound for the border with Guatemala, the usual route for Honduran migrants heading overland to the United States. In hotels and shelters along the migrant trail, once-occupied beds go empty night after night.
Marcos, a migrant smuggler based near San Pedro Sula, said that last year he had taken one or two groups each month from Honduras to the United States border. Since Mr. Trump’s inauguration, however, he has had only one client. He blames Mr. Trump.
“People think he’s going to kick everyone out of the country,” Marcos said, asking that his full name not be published because of the illegal nature of his work. “Almost nobody’s going.”
Instead, many potential migrants in the Northern Triangle are choosing to sit tight and endure the poverty and violence that have driven hundreds of thousands to seek work and sanctuary in the United States in recent years.
Instead of going to the United States, some are migrating within their own countries in search of opportunity and safety, or they are seeking to move elsewhere in Latin America and even to Europe or Asia.
This is as things should be. America should be welcoming to people who obey our laws and come here legally. By not enforcing our own laws we’ve created a mess that is nearly impossible to untangle and the bad faith exhibited by several administrations in dealing with illegal immigration has made it virtually impossible for a political compromise to be reached. The Trump administration deserves a lot of credit for what is happening on the border.