Immigration

Trump's Immigration Crackdown Will Backfire

The wall will not make Americans safer or more secure.

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Border wall
Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Government failures come in two basic forms. The first kind is not achieving the intended result—say job training that leads to no jobs or a Marine recruiting campaign that gets few takers. The second kind is doing damage that wouldn't have been done otherwise. It's roughly the difference between a cigar that fails to light and one that explodes.

The immigration measures announced Wednesday by President Donald Trump fall in the latter category. The consequences will mostly be more or less the opposite of what he and his supporters imagine.

His promised wall is supposed to stop the flow of unauthorized immigrants and reduce the number of undocumented foreigners living here. But it's not likely to do either.

Stop the flow? Even if you assume smugglers won't find ways to breach the wall or tunnel below it, it will continue. On a typical day, more than a half-million people stream over the border from Mexico with the required documents. Some 40 percent of undocumented foreigners living in the United States came legally and overstayed their visas.

Putting up a wall won't keep out people we knowingly admit—and it won't help find those who decline to leave. It will merely encourage more people to drive or fly in on a tourist visa rather than swim the Rio Grande.

If past measures to fortify the border shut some unauthorized foreigners out, they also kept millions of others in. Princeton sociologist Douglas Massey notes that in 1986, nearly half of the Mexicans here without permission eventually went back to Mexico, knowing that they could always change their minds.

But when enforcement was stepped up, they learned a lesson: Once you're here, you had better stay. The number choosing permanent residence rose. How's that for a solution?

One complaint about people sneaking over the border comes from ranchers whose lands they cross and befoul. But the migrants are there because of tight enforcement.

In the old days, they sneaked across in border cities. "It used to be that you could literally sit at a bar in Tijuana, Mexico, look across the border into San Diego, wait for the Border Patrol to drive in the other direction and make a run for it," Steve Atkiss, a former chief of staff of Customs and Border Protection, told The Washington Post in 2015.

When security improved at major ports of entry, it pushed illicit migrants into areas with more rattlesnakes than people, which are harder to police.

That phenomenon would persist if the 653 miles of fencing now in place were extended, because filling in the other 1,300 miles would take years. In the meantime, landowners who have rarely, if ever, seen migrants before may play host to a steady procession of furtive skulkers.

Trump also wants to punish sanctuary cities—whose policies bar police from making arrests for immigration violations or asking people about their immigration status. He decries these accommodations as a threat to public safety. In fact, they enhance it—by encouraging the 11 million undocumented foreigners living here to cooperate with cops.

The Major County Sheriffs' Association warned in 2015 that cutting off funds to these cities would "prevent law enforcement from effectively protecting their communities and themselves." Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, told USA Today, "If people are afraid to come to the police, that domestic violence incident today will be a homicide tomorrow, and that's in no one's interest."

Most of what Trump says on this topic is lacking evidence. During his campaign, he accused undocumented immigrants of "taking our jobs." But if he expects tougher enforcement to create jobs and raise wages for American workers, he's in for a crushing disappointment.

A report last year commissioned by the National Academy of Sciences detected "little evidence that immigration significantly affects the overall employment levels of native-born workers" and found it has only a minimal impact on wages.

A study by economists Gihoon Hong of Indiana University South Bend and John McLaren of the University of Virginia concluded that by raising demand for goods and services in the communities where they take up residence, new immigrants serve to create 1.2 new jobs each and boost the pay of Americans. Cutting down on illegal immigration wouldn't save jobs, on net; it would eliminate them.

Right now, Trump is happy to brag about his crackdown. Will he still own it when it backfires?

© Copyright 2017 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

NEXT: Making America cruel again - Trump's executive order on refugees

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  1. Throwing Chapman out late on the Sunday night? Is this the HyR version of the Friday afternoon PR dump?

    sc;dr

  2. Here’s what Trump said: “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”

    What the hell man? Banning travel from a couple countries and then letting green card holders in? This is a total and complete shutdown? Weak. This fascism isn’t fascist enough. I say no more flights from Kuala Lampur ever. #Ban_All_ Muzzies #They’re_all_terrorists_anyway

    1. They don’t have to be terrorist-like to be denied entry. Trump was partly elected to slow/stop the flood of immigrants from countries that do not have a good relationship with the USA.

      We could deny entry to more socialists. We have too many here in the USA already.

      1. We could deport every PhD in Ethnic Studies or anything similar, on the grounds that their ethos is “Incompatible with American traditions”. Then, when the Political Left has a cow, we could point out that one of their Progressive Saints, Woodrow Wilson, presided over the wholesale deportation of ethnic minorities with little or no pretense of legal process.

        I mean, as long as we’re doing “Immigration law as street theatre”

    2. This is milquetoast fascism! Let’s go full bore – make them wear yellow crescents on their clothes so we can identify the Mooslems. Kick them out of universities and hospitals. Do you want some filthy idolator putting an IV into you? etc. etc.

  3. Putting up a wall won’t keep out people we knowingly admit?and it won’t help find those who decline to leave.

    The ones we knowingly admit we could track the entrance and exit of.

    Make a wall. Make a door. Track people in and out of the door.

    I do love the concern trolling, though.

  4. Immigrants do NOT have a right to enter the USA. Trump was elected partly to get our immigration house in order.

    We are not shooting people who try to cross our border and we are not hurting people who try and cross- we are telling them they may not enter the USA.

    The horror!

  5. The purpose of the wall is to squander billions but never complete it. Why? To provide a pretext to hold millions of illegals (voting felons) indefinitely in Sheriff Joe’s prison camps. It’s a filip to the private prison industry. To be paid for by millenials and gen-y. Whether they will confront the sadistic fantasies of their frumpled uncle Trumpkins is anyone’s guess. There are promising signs.

    #NoBanNoWall

  6. Trump did something stupid and without proper foresight? What a surprise!

    1. Oh he had the proper foresight. Been telling the world this for over a year and everyone laughed even Obama. He now has the very high level folks around him to make proper decisions.

      It’s funny how people react to a President who actually does what they say they will do.

  7. Everything backfires, his election had people losing their shit. But none of it matters. I think people have realized the twitter mobs and NAZI screeds don’t really matter.

  8. Is the Quebec shooting thing getting completely ignored or just me? Like this was a someone shooting up a mosque on the heels of trumps, so called “Muslim Ban” and just no attention paid..

    1. No white dudes = nothing to see here.

      You know at this point if I’m Big State then I’m maintaining a stable of drug addicted homeless people of varying races.

      Need a victim, just drag out a minority. Apply bloody makeup, take photographs, perp walk some hooligans, submit legislation.

      Need a white boogeyman, go shoot up vulnerable identity group (use a swat team for that). Then just leave some cracked out white dudes at the scene dressed in camo with empty rifles on them.

    2. Early reports make it sound like an intramural Muslim thing. Hence, I suppose, not a big deal?

      1. “intramural Muslim thing”

        Next big boy band name…I’m calling it

        1. “Achmed is sooooo dreamy! IEIEIEIEIEIEIEIE!”

    3. Maybe the Political Left thought that blaming the American President for something that happened in Quebec was a bit of a stretch, and would make them look (more) ridiculous?

      Nah. They just haven’t gotten around to it.

  9. No wall or executive order intending to impede the free movement of logic-retarded ultra-Violents will alienate those imbued with honorable intention who wish to immigrate into the valleys of liberty.

    Any such exhausting shriek and yowl to the converse from collectivist drivel who consort with emotion battalions drummed up from braindead villages and Kantian festivals will buffoon its decibels into empty clatter shattered on the unwavering resolve of genuine reason.

  10. Trump’s ________ Will Backfire

    Not sure Reason understands the meaning of that word.

    1. It will only backfire if it undermines his popularity.

      Will it do anything useful about immigration? Who knows? Given what I’ve been reading about Mexico lately, I have to say that building a wall, if only to prevent accidental spill-overs, sound like a decent idea. Follow up with a policy of opening fire on large numbers of apparently armed persons crossing the wall, and maybe we’ll hear less about violent narcotic traffickers.

      Or maybe not. There are far worse things we could be squandering our money on. Another nationwide tour of the work of Andres Serrano springs to mind.

      1. Are you actually saying to fire on unarmed people and then just say “I thought they had guns” as an excuse when there was no real reason to think so?

  11. A study by economists Gihoon Hong of Indiana University South Bend and John McLaren of the University of Virginia concluded that by raising demand for goods and services in the communities where they take up residence, new immigrants serve to create 1.2 new jobs each and boost the pay of Americans.

    So immigrants are like food stamps and debt – they have a multiplier effect?

    Why is it that we see studies about the positive effects of “immigrants” (which I am not necessarily disputing), but not about the positive effects of illegal immigrants? I’m thinking there’s a dog not barking here.

    1. It’s every person’s duty to help pay for everyone to come to America. Didn’t you see that when you signed the Social Contract?

    2. Deliberately confusing the two categories and throwing up unlinked “reports” and “studies” is like totally unheard of around here.

      1. It’s my least favorite part of their approach to immigration. Because there are all these cartoonishly protectionist anti-anyone not American HnR’ers they need to convince?

  12. So far the only things backfiring are the attempts to delegitimize Trump, and that attempt has a near perfect record of failure for over a year running – “Reason” included.

    1. Let me see, that brings to mind a famous quote, “Crooked Media”

  13. The Major County Sheriffs’ Association warned in 2015 that cutting off [Federal] funds to these cities would “prevent law enforcement from effectively protecting their communities and themselves.”

    Then they’re doing it wrong.

    1. Under any other circumstances Reason would not be calling for more federal dollars to be sent to localities.

      1. Actually they’re saying that not doing the federal government’s work for them is not a valid reason to single them out. And that’s really what the feds want local law enforcement to do. Morally, it’s the exact same thing when local or state governments refuse to enforce federal gun laws. You can’t be against one if you’re in favor of the other, at least not with any consistent position.

  14. Walks don’t work. They are, at best, some twisted form of ‘virtue signaling’.
    They also tend to mark the late stages of empire,
    The Great Wall of China
    Hadrian’s Wall
    The Berlin Wall

    The few, the useless, the contemptible.

    1. A fast walk through the woods works wonders and walls keep out ghosts and cattle.

      Walls are also symbols… when erected and removed- though, some walls like oceans and deserts cannot be removed.

    2. You didn’t pick very good examples of walls that “don’t work”

      1. You may not agree with the purpose but that doesn’t mean it’s ineffective

    3. Poor, and extremely inaccurate examples. The first two were not built in the ‘late stages of empire’, and I’m curious as to the empire that East Germany controlled.

  15. What a great way to distinguish between hard-core libertarians and unapologetic conservatives!

  16. *Trump’s Immigration Crackdown Will Backfire*

    No, it won’t.

  17. Enforcing the law will backfire??? Building a wall is as stupid as having a lock on your front door, the criminal will just dig a tunnel underneath the door, then what huh!!! I mean the fence and wall business should be non-existent as some near do well will just dig a tunnel, just put your stuff outside for them to pick through.

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  19. RE: “On a typical day, more than a half-million people stream over the border from Mexico with the required documents. Some 40 percent of undocumented foreigners living in the United States came legally and overstayed their visas.”
    Yes, and that’s a problem that we cannot address until we build the wall.

    RE: “If past measures to fortify the border shut some unauthorized foreigners out, they also kept millions of others in. Princeton sociologist Douglas Massey notes that in 1986, nearly half of the Mexicans here without permission eventually went back to Mexico, knowing that they could always change their minds.”
    Sounds like the wall isn’t keeping people in, but a wide-open border is just fun. It isn’t. It’s dangerous to the people making the trip, and it is the conduit for a massive amount of illegal drugs entering the US. With huge supply and cheap prices we have a heroin crisis that is killing thousands. Let’s drive the supply down and push prices up. That will discourage many from becoming addicts and will encourage hundreds — if not thousands — to seek treatment. Let’s give them that treatment, and save thousands of lives.

    . . .

  20. RE: “Trump also wants to punish sanctuary cities?whose policies bar police from making arrests for immigration violations or asking people about their immigration status. … The Major County Sheriffs’ Association warned in 2015 that cutting off funds to these cities would “prevent law enforcement from effectively protecting their communities and themselves.”
    Sounds like the policy would put the squeeze on cities who are doing the wrong thing. Cities don’t have money, so they should cave quickly.

    RE: “A report last year commissioned by the National Academy of Sciences detected “little evidence that immigration significantly affects the overall employment levels of native-born workers” and found it has only a minimal impact on wages.
    Except, of course, the Law of Supply and Demand.

    . . .

  21. RE: “A study by economists Gihoon Hong of Indiana University South Bend and John McLaren of the University of Virginia concluded that by raising demand for goods and services in the communities where they take up residence, new immigrants serve to create 1.2 new jobs each and boost the pay of Americans. Cutting down on illegal immigration wouldn’t save jobs, on net; it would eliminate them.”
    Oh, I see, as CONSUMERS, they add jobs. What do they PRODUCE?

    57 percent of all households that are led by an immigrant (legal or illegal) are enrolled in at least one welfare program. http://cis.org/immigrant-welfare-use-2011
    According to one study, the cost to U.S. taxpayers of legalizing current illegal immigrants would be approximately 6.3 trillion dollars over the next 50 years. http://www.washingtontimes.com…..ost-6-3-t/
    In one recent year, taxpayers in Los Angeles County spent 600 million dollars on welfare for children of illegal immigrants. endoftheamericandream.com archives government-website -for-immigrants- come-to-america -and-take -advantage -of-our-free-stuff

    [And I have more.]

    . . .

  22. A country is not a rock, nor is a country defined by its borders. A country is defined by the values and norms that their people share. The values and norms shape their laws and are critical to the success or failure of the country. In order for the values and norms to be successful, they cannot be watered down by people entering the society that do not follow the shared values or are hostile to them. This is why multiculturalism is a failure.

    Societies need to have a way for new members to join the society, and part of that process for new adults entering the society is to ask that they respect the country’s shared values and norms. Breaking the country’s laws by entering illegally seems to be a poor way to start that relationship.

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