What a novel idea!

“If Title 42 is lifted, Border Patrol will return to using immigration law to determine whether immigrants at the border can enter the U.S.”

Following the law on immigration (or just about anything else) was anathema to the prior administration. Unfortunately, the judicial activists on the Supreme Court are keeping Title 42 in place.

Border towns around the United States are seeing an increase in immigrants trying to enter the country. Images have capt

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6 thoughts on “What a novel idea!

  1. Though there is something abnormal going on. As far as I can tell from the media, the big “waves” of asylum-seekers we’ve been seeing in the last couple of years aren’t triggered by sucky conditions in their countries of origin, but by the twists and turns of the US’s bureaucratic processes, specifically, when some nationality becomes effectively non-deportable. Non-deportability seems to usually be a combination of (1) we can’t shove them back into Mexico via Title 42 because Mexico (for one reason or another won’t take them), and (2) we don’t have an established deportation process to their country of origin. Although there may be cases of an applicable TPS.

    Once that gets set up for a country, hundreds of thousands of people from that country show up and claim asylum. Presumably most of their cases will work their way through the immigration courts and be rejected, but if there’s no method for deportation, they don’t get deported. In that situation, while immigration law is being applied, that law doesn’t control — or limit — who gets to stay in the US indefinitely.

    I may be wrong on this, I haven’t deliberately researched it, and the press is notoriously bad at reporting things where the technicalities matter. (“This is basic journalism procedure; it’s what enables journalists who cannot correctly fill out their mileage reimbursement forms to write about the collapse of Enron.” — Dave Barry) But since the rate of interceptions on the southern border are up by a factor of 10 from a decade ago, something has changed, and its details matter.

  2. To the limited extent that US policy drives migration flows, it’s based far more on false rumor and misinformation than on actual policy. The conditions at home really are the big driver. The Northern Triangle countries are failed states and cesspools of violence. Venezuela is imploding, Nicaragua is hardly any better. Mexico may not be a failed state (yet) but drug cartels and gangs rule much of the country and violence is rampant. Add to that the collapse of agriculture due to climate change and you have a perfect storm for millions of desperate migrants, regardless of US policy. One need only read the reports of outfits like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to confirm this.

    To the extent that many (or even most) don’t qualify for asylum, it’s almost always because they don’t fit the rigid and narrow readings of the asylum statute promulgated by the Board of Immigrations Appeals (and deferred to by the courts) See, e.g., particular social group and social distinction.

    • Certainly, the official definition of asylum doesn’t extend to “life in the country you live in sucks”. Probably a billion people would qualify under that, and likely that number is currently lower than it has been in decades. I’d like to see that be an allowed reason to immigrate into the US, but it would tank the low end of the labor market.

      As for policy driving migration flows, it seems to me that some of the rumor is false but some is true, in regard to the instances of massive flow that are triggered by rumors that deportation from the US isn’t working for some countries. Of course, that isn’t really a matter of “policy”, it’s more a matter of temporary circumstances that prevent the official policy from being implemented.

      Hmmm, it looks like the determining factor in the really big flows is the intersection of (1) life in a country is terrible, (2) many people can scrape up enough money for transportation to the US, (3) rumor (true or false) that the US is somehow blocked from immediately ejecting marginal asylum claimants (either to Mexico or their home countries).

      • The number of desperate people may be down but it’s highly concentrated in countries to our south (plus Haiti) where the journey to the US, though arduous and dangerous, is feasible (and also concentrated in countries to Europe’s south where the same applies to the journey to the EU). I think you got the order of the factors right but there’s a big gap between (2) and (3).

  3. And things have changed in the past decade or so. One is that people are gradually getting richer, so the number who can afford to trek to the US from places in Latin America is increasing, and now it isn’t so financially risky if you aren’t a strong young man who knows he can get hired once he is here. Another is the rise of social media. That increases the spread of rumors (true and false). Also, social media allows the coyotes to organize more easily and recruit customers more easily.

    In the past, the million-plus Venezuelans in Columbia wouldn’t think they knew what was going on with de-facto US policy, and even if they thought they had good odds being admitted, they wouldn’t know how to manage the hazardous and semi-legal trek to the US. (People are crossing the Darien Gap on foot, which means that the ferries between Columbia and Panama require official papers.) Now, the Great Free Market for that transit is fairly efficient in delivering them into the hands of more-or-less competent coyotes.

    All of which is a problem for getting this form of immigration “under control”, that is, US policy being able to de-facto enforce a quota on the number of entrants. I doubt that we’re willing to renounce our treaty obligations toward asylum-seekers, and we probably can’t tighten up the de-facto asylum standards that much (given that immigration judges have widely varying approval rates). I doubt we can impose a first-safe-state rule, as I don’t think appellate judges would agree that Mexico is a safe state. (So we can’t use the major trick that Canada uses.) A “wait in Mexico” rule works only if Mexico agrees, and the US is unlikely to offer a big enough bribe to get Mexico to agree to it. (Se we can’t use the major trick that Europe uses.)

    Fortunately the unemployment rate is likely to stay low for a couple of decades, which will limit the political trouble from this.

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