That was then, this is now, immigration edition

by on April 22, 2017 at 3:00 am in Current Affairs, Data Source, Law, Political Science | Permalink

Some of Trump’s first actions in office were two executive orders meant to crack down on illegal immigration by implementing tougher enforcement not just at the border but also within the country. This week The Washington Post reported that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had arrested 21,362 unauthorized immigrants across the country since Trump took office, a 32.6 percent increase from the previous year. (The data runs through mid-March.) At first glance these numbers might seem consistent with Trump’s promise to get “the bad ones” out of the country. But the Post also noted that of those arrested roughly a quarter, or 5,441, had no criminal record. That’s more than double the number of noncriminal arrests of undocumented immigrants during the same period in 2016. (Many of those arrested eventually will be deported, but because that process can be slow, changed enforcement patterns show up more quickly in arrest data.)

Look back a bit further, however, and the recent increase in enforcement looks less dramatic. The pace of arrests is running well behind the 29,238 made during the same period in 2014; that year, there were 7,483 noncriminal arrests through mid-March, which represented a similar share of the total as this year’s numbers.

That is from Ben Casselman, at 538.

1 Fazal Majid April 22, 2017 at 3:30 am

They can easily provide a rationale, e.g. since employees have to provide a Social Security Number, illegal immigrants quasi-automatically have to commit identity theft to work (even if it is actually beneficial for those impersonated because the last thing the immigrants want is to be detected and they are more scrupulous at paying their bills, thus improving the “victim’s” credit score).

I’d be interested in finding how many of those deported have US citizen children who are severely harmed by the government action.

2 Hazel Meade April 23, 2017 at 10:35 pm

This is exactly the rationale given for at least one case in Arizona in which a mother of two US citizen children, and wife of a US citizen, was deported. She used a fake social security number when she was 14, working in a garment factory in LA. That made her a “criminal alien”.

3 Steve Sailer April 22, 2017 at 3:32 am

It’s almost as if we now have an Attorney General who believes in rule of law rather than “Who? Whom?”

4 prior_test2 April 22, 2017 at 4:15 am

And in typical Trump Administration fashion, dismisses those actually empowered to rule on what is and what is not consonant with the rule of law.

It brings back a wave of Nixon era nostalgia to hear an AG say the following – ‘I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and Constitutional power.’

5 Rich Berger April 22, 2017 at 5:48 am

Of course. And note how the author hides the stark truth behind the euphemistic “unauthorized” and “undocumented”. With this approach, a burglar would be an unauthorized visitor to your house.

6 prior_test2 April 22, 2017 at 6:23 am

Trespasser, actually, which is a well defined area of law. And trespassers only become thieves after stealing something, of course.

I think you may have missed the point about the Trump Administration, which is again basically trying to make the Nixonian claim of the divine right of presidents the law of the land, a claim that the AG seems to stand behind. Or a rule of law for the ruled, but not the rulers. As can be seen in this filing, dealing with civil suits in state courts – ‘President Trump plans to argue that as president he is immune from all civil litigation filed in state court until he leaves office, a lawyer for the president wrote in a legal filing in New York this week in a case related to allegations that he sexually harassed a former contestant on the reality show “The Apprentice.”’

OK, maybe a point can be argued in terms of state courts and the federal executive. But then, less than three weeks later comes this – ‘Donald Trump’s lawyers in a Friday afternoon federal court filing argued that he cannot be sued for inciting his supporters to hurt protesters because, as the president, he is immune from civil lawsuits.’

That’s right, the president’s lawyers are also arguing that a federal court has to simply ignore civil lawsuits against the president. What makes this so amusing that almost 20 years ago, a sitting president did testify in a civil suit –

7 Ricardo April 22, 2017 at 7:57 am

“It’s almost as if we now have an Attorney General who believes in rule of law”

So when will the Attorney General get around to seeking the eviction of the Trump Organization from the old post office building due to its violation of the terms of its lease from the government? Or is this another case of rule of law for thee, not for me?

8 a definite beta guy April 22, 2017 at 8:24 am

Roflmao. #redherring

9 Ricardo April 22, 2017 at 9:11 am

No, rule of law means not picking and choosing which rules to enforce and against whom. You can support the administration’s immigration initiatives but it is hypocritical (or merely ignorant) to pretend the motive is some high-minded defense of the rule of law.

10 Vivian Darkbloom April 22, 2017 at 9:52 am

What is the motive?

11 Art Deco April 22, 2017 at 10:05 am

So when will the Attorney General get around to seeking the eviction of the Trump Organization from the old post office building due to its violation of the terms of its lease from the government? O

Perhaps when someone actually demonstrates they are in violation in a way that would trigger an eviction. (w/ regard to which the latest from Media Matters is likely a poor indicator).

12 prior_test2 April 22, 2017 at 11:16 am

Absolutely – Trump is not the head of the Trump Organization any longer, so of course President Trump is not in violation of his lease. If only we could see his tax returns, you know, to make sure Trump is not using a set of alternative facts which only he can see.

13 Dick the Butcher April 22, 2017 at 10:18 am

More. Faster.

14 prior_test2 April 22, 2017 at 11:26 am

And the latest update on the divine right of presidents front, one that the AG is seemingly fully on board with – ‘President Donald Trump’s lawyers argued in a Thursday court filing that protesters “have no right” to “express dissenting views” at his campaign rallies because such protests infringed on his First Amendment rights.’

15 anon April 22, 2017 at 5:53 pm

Sessions is also a racist hobbit, which makes this so spine-tinglingly delicious for racial realists.

16 Tom T. April 22, 2017 at 9:20 am

So the lesson is that arrests of non-criminal detainees were curtailed during the run-up to the last election.

17 Boonton April 22, 2017 at 9:55 am

This is consistent with Trump essentially being a dick.

Here is how to play it. Do some real grimy, attention getting asshole move to ‘enforce’ the law. Rip a nursing baby from its mother. Deport a 13 year old dreamer kid to a country where she doesn’t even speak the language.

This will generate a huge amount of negative publicity. But fundamentally little will actually change. Perhaps deportations will track up a bit, or maybe not. Trump supporters, however, will assume if he could be such a dick about deporting a baby or 13 year old or some other sweet looking person, then he must be tough all around. Double down and gear up for re-election.

18 Art Deco April 22, 2017 at 10:06 am

Here is how to play it. Do some real grimy, attention getting asshole move to ‘enforce’ the law. Rip a nursing baby from its mother. Deport a 13 year old dreamer kid to a country where she doesn’t even speak the language.

Trump’s not responsible for the issue of your imagination.

19 Dick the Butcher April 22, 2017 at 10:33 am

A “huge amount of negative . . . ” among Soros-funded agents provocateurs and 700,000 or 800,000 America-hating invertebrates that still read the Wash. Post or NYT.

Haven’t I been banned?

20 Boonton April 22, 2017 at 12:55 pm

I wonder how much money people think Soros has. With something like a 30% approval rating, he must be paying as many Americans as the Social Security Administration.

21 Boonton April 22, 2017 at 12:56 pm

I mean with only 30% approving Trump, Soros must certainly be paying off lots of people.

22 Dick the Butcher April 23, 2017 at 10:26 am


Does that mean that the America-hating squid (I just uncharitably insulted squids) is the “real” majority?

Not so fast.

Obama, the World’s greatest gun marketer, provided the GOP with the Trump presidency, both houses of Congress, 33 governorships, control of 32 state legislatures, and [ruffles and flourishes] three or four Conservative SCOTUS justices.

It’s known as “Caller ID.” I’m one of the 98% of Trump voters that will do it again and again, and I don’t answer phone numbers I don’t recognize. It’s not so much that I love my President Trump. It’s the completely unacceptable, idiot Dem (redundant) that will be thrown up against him.

23 Engineer April 22, 2017 at 7:56 pm

Its interesting to recall the raid by over 100 armed federal agents to seize a child, Elian Gonzalez, to be returned to Cuba. The photo of the armed agent confronting the child won a 2001 Pulitzer. But that was with Janet Reno as AG, in the Clinton administration.

“In the pre-dawn hours of Easter Eve, April 22, agents of the Border Patrol’s special BORTAC unit as part of an operation in which more than 130 INS personnel took part[19] approached the house, knocked on the door, and identified themselves. When no one responded, they entered. At the same time, pepper-spray and mace were employed against persons outside who attempted to interfere.[20] In the confusion, Armando Gutierrez called in Alan Diaz, of the Associated Press, to enter the house and entered a room with González, his great uncle’s wife Angela Lázaro, her niece, the niece’s young son, and Donato Dalrymple (one of the two men who had rescued him from the ocean). They waited in the room listening to agents searching the house. Diaz took a widely publicized photograph of a border patrol agent confronting Dalrymple and the boy.”

The photo is also at the link.

24 Boonton April 22, 2017 at 9:19 pm

Not really the same thing is it? The child’s biological father wanted his son back, his mother had died. There was no evidence presented or any indication that the father was not fit to raise his son.

At the end of the day custody fights are nasty business but they are supposed to be resolved in courts. People who decide they will ignore the courts and hold other people’s children are and should get a visit by law enforcement.

25 Dick the Butcher April 23, 2017 at 10:31 am

You were in diapers. If you think that was a custody fight, you are delusional. At least, you’re consistent.

That was the Clintons, the political equivalents of Herpes, and the left politicizing it and jumping in on Castro’s side.

26 Boonton April 24, 2017 at 6:57 am

Plenty of people leave Cuba and come to the US every year. One more child did not make a difference for either Bill Clinton or Castro. Biological parents, do, however, tend to want their kids. That is a human trait. Probably not your area of proficiency.

27 Scoop April 22, 2017 at 10:37 am

Here is how everyone should have known the Trump was going to break his promises: he didn’t sell off all his real estate immediately after election.

The agenda he campaigned on we have necessarily destroyed real estate value in enclaves of the ultrarich. If he had intended to really pursue it, he would’ve cashed out.

Those of you here who support his purported agenda can at least take solace in the fact that he will probably regret his decision enormously.

28 Art Deco April 22, 2017 at 12:26 pm

The agenda he campaigned on we have necessarily destroyed real estate value in enclaves of the ultrarich. If he had intended to really pursue it, he would’ve cashed out.

Again, Trump is not responsible for fantasies.

29 Scoop April 22, 2017 at 4:25 pm

Which fantasies are those? His campaign theme was that powerful and connected people had screwed the little guy and he was going to fix it with a series of policies that would have made New York real estate prices decline very significantly. Had he really planned to pursue those policies, he’d have sold his New York real estate holdings.

30 Scoop April 22, 2017 at 4:44 pm

To take but two positions that got him elected, deporting illegal immigrants and using tariffs of up to 45% to balance trade with China

1. The Fiscal Policy Institute estimates there are 535K illegal immigrants in NYC. Deporting nearly all of them in short order would not be good (in the short term, at least) for NYC real estate prices.

2. Most of the dollars that China has from its massive trade surplus with us get sent back to this country through NYC. Using tariffs to slash the trade deficit and increase US mfg kill the banking sector and the demand for high end real estate in NYC.

31 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ April 22, 2017 at 11:05 am

Trump plays well in the bubble. People with the right news sources will be told that this is a big win, and a big change from the terrible Obama years. They will not be told that “the pace of arrests is running well behind the 29,238 made during the same period in 2014.”

Business Insider had an interesting measure of that bubble strength this week.

Trump voters don’t believe he has played more golf than Obama in first 3 months

So don’t hold your breath waiting for actual policy to percolate through the electorate. They don’t see actual policy.

32 Harun April 22, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Maybe the prosecutors just used their discretion.


33 Edgar April 22, 2017 at 12:19 pm

Ah yes, the election stunts of 2014. We all remember clearly Obama’s desperate posturing. Obama sounded very Trump-like back then:

“Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration at the Border: The President’s actions increase the chances that anyone attempting to cross the border illegally will be caught and sent back. Continuing the surge of resources that effectively reduced the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally this summer, the President’s actions will also centralize border security”

34 Boris_Badenoff April 22, 2017 at 3:38 pm

If we EVER want serious reform of our immigration system, which is badly needed, it must be made moire difficult to get/stay here illegally. Any idea otherwise simply prevents or delays real reform. There will never be acquiescence to legalization of those who’ve been here many years without committing further crimes until border enforcement and repatriation are routine instead of sporadic and arbitrary.

That doesn’t mean a wall, of course – that’s costly, impractical, and of dubious effect. But the 770 miles of security fence authorized in 2006 (but blocked by Democrats since) would be a good start. In high population areas & areas with high cross-border traffic, fencing works well: San Diego is an example. El Paso would be a top priority. Fences or walls along the mostly private, very rural 1200 other miles of southern border would have to be patrolled constantly – but with modern tech, that level of patrol – if serious – would be enough without fences.

And deportation must be automatic for illegals caught. Those with criminal records and/or multiple deportations are the priority, but our laws must be respected by all, period. There will never be public support for a blanket amnesty until these improvements are made. The promised enforcement never came after the last two major legalizations, there is no trust.

We need more realistic immigration laws, but first we must craft a system that serves America’s needs first and foremost. It is not in our interest to continue to allow streams of unskilled workers in unchecked, to allow unlimited “chain” immigration, or to condone those who flaunt our laws. Those who think we can ever enact true comprehensive reform without enforcement first are truly the “dreamers.”

35 charlie April 22, 2017 at 6:35 pm

Or just implement an exit visa.

36 Hazel Meade April 23, 2017 at 10:43 pm

The fact is that most illegal aliens have now been here so long that they are married to American citizens and/or have US citizen children. This would otherwise make them eligible to seek legal residency except that US law cruelly requires them to return home for up to 10 years before applying. Noone who is a parent of a minor child is going to do that. Most of the rest have settled productive lives.
Very few are criminals.

Deportations have been falling the last several years because we have not been getting as many new arrivals and ICE had already been scraping the bottom of the barrel in term of finding and removing criminal aliens. So there was never much chance that Trump was going to dramatically increase deportations without netting people that the will produce very heartwrenching scenes on TV.

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