On MSNBC’s Morning Joe today, Steven Rattner discussed that despite Trump’s obsession with building a wall, illegal border crossings have been on a decades long decline with more non-Mexicans than Mexicans entering the States.
President Trump is back haranguing about illegal border crossings from Mexico (perhaps because Congress denied him any significant funding for his wall.) But whatever problem exists along our southern border is far less than Mr. Trump would have us believe.
As a result of a number of factors – better enforcement, a stronger economy in Mexico and the like – illegal border crossings have been dropping steadily for nearly two decades, from a peak of nearly 1.65 million to just over 300,000 last year. The next chart show something equally remarkable.
The number of apprehensions of Mexicans has fallen below the number of non-Mexicans who are apprehended. This is related to what Mr. Trump was alluding to when he talked in recent days about caravans of Central Americans headed for Mexico and the U.S. border. It is true that instability in Central America has led more residents of those countries to seek entry into the United States. But it is still a very small number.
And Mr. Trump’s method of dealing with them – build a wall – is surely not the best way; it merely creates a refugee problem along Mexico’s northern border, with the potential implications of instability that that implies. The Obama administration had a better approach: try to address the conditions in Central America that caused these people to try to leave or at least help Mexico keep them from entering Mexican territory.
As for Mexicans, at last report, more were leaving America than were entering. Between 1998 and 2000, net Mexican migration into the United States totaled more than 2.2 million. Since 2005, more Mexicans have left the United States than have arrived. A principal reason for this appears to have been the financial crisis and ensuing recession, which reduced the job opportunities in the United States. At the same time, the Mexican economy has been improving, providing more and better jobs south of the border than was historically the case.