Reason Roundup

Migrant Arrests by U.S. Border Patrol Were 'Off the Charts' in April

Plus: Protests against prostitution-loitering laws in NYC, Denver mushroom measure passes, misinformation about Section 230, and more...


April arrests of migrants at the U.S.–Mexico border were "off the charts," Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee recently. Numbers released Wednesday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) show 98,977 migrant arrests around our southern borders in April, including:

  • 58,474 people traveling with family
  • 31,606 single adults
  • 8,897 unaccompanied minors

An additional 10,167 people were turned away at a port of entry.

The Trump administration is using these high arrest numbers to push its "border control" priorities, which includes $4.5 billion more in funding for things like shelters for unaccompanied migrant minors and beds at adult detention facilities.

"Arrests along the southern border" are "a rough metric to measure illegal crossings," notes Politico. Though they "have risen in recent months to their highest levels in more than a decade," it doesn't necessarily signal an increase in attempted illegal crossings rather than a shift in political priorities.

The arrest numbers are still below "those observed in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, when annual arrests routinely topped one million," Politico's Ted Hessen writes.

But there has been a shift in the kinds of people attempting to cross the border, with fewer single adults coming north solely for economic opportunity and more families fleeing violence, poverty, and political unrest.

"The border has seen illegal-immigrant waves before. This one is different," writes Alicia A. Caldwell in The Wall Street Journal:

Instead of the single job seekers of a decade ago who aimed to sneak in undetected, these are families openly seeking asylum—more like the groups of refugees familiar on borders elsewhere in the world, where wars, famine and genocide have created massive camps of displaced families with nowhere to go.

Families arrive at a U.S. border unprepared to absorb the sheer numbers of adults and children who are, by law, allowed to remain at least temporarily—confounding federal policy and the Trump administration. It is getting more chaotic, as Border Patrol officials shuttle immigrants hundreds of miles to find space.

According to the new federal data, 248,000 parents and children had illegally entered the U.S. by April since the federal fiscal year began in October, more than in any prior full year.

More here.


A lot of misinformation about Section 230 has been floating around, often in the service of tech-regulation aims or political attention-seeking. But even attempts at neutral journalistic coverage lately of this federal law have been getting a few key points wrong. Mike Masnick at Techdirt explains:

There's an unfortunate belief among some internet trolls and grandstanding politicians that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act requires platforms to be "neutral" and that any attempt to moderate content or to have any form of bias in a platform's moderation focus somehow removes 230 protections. Unfortunately, it appears that many in the press are incorrectly buying into this flat out incorrect analysis of CDA 230. We first saw it last year, in Wired's giant cover story about Facebook's battles, in which it twice suggested that too much moderation might lose Facebook its CDA 230 protections:

But if anyone inside Facebook is unconvinced by religion, there is also Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act to recommend the idea. This is the section of US law that shelters internet intermediaries from liability for the content their users post. If Facebook were to start creating or editing content on its platform, it would risk losing that immunity—and it's hard to imagine how Facebook could exist if it were liable for the many billion pieces of content a day that users post on its site.

This is not just wrong, it's literally backwards from reality. As we've pointed out, anyone who actually reads the law should know that it was written to encourage moderation. Section (b)(4) directly says that one of the policy goals of the law is "to remove disincentives for the development and utilization of blocking and filtering technologies."

Please read the whole thing.


Denver decriminalizes 'shrooms. I reported in Reason Roundup yesterday that Denver's measure to decriminalize hallucinogenic mushrooms had failed. That's what local outlets were saying based on initial vote tallies. But the final count shows that the measure actually passed. More here from Reason TV.


"Every time I'm walking outside, I feel like I'm profiled for prostitution because I am a transgender woman," TS Barbii tells The Root.

Barbii and "more than 100 current and former sex workers from New York City" lobbied state lawmakers in Albany "for two pieces of legislation they say would protect them from abusive policing," writes Terrell Jermaine Starr:

Currently, a 1976 New York state law allows police officers to arrest people for loitering for the purpose of prostitution, even though "purpose" is not clearly defined. Several assembly members and senators wrote a letter to the NYPD inspector general last month questioning the wisdom of policing sex trafficking alongside sex work between consenting adults. As of now, sex work is illegal in New York state and virtually everywhere else in the union.

Barbii and other women The Root spoke to are part of the organization Decrim NY, which is pushing for full decriminalization of sex work in the state. Current laws allow for too much space for abuse by police officers, who can take advantage of people taken into custody on prostitution charges, activists say. That abuse includes sexual assault and being forced to become a CI. That's why activists arrived at the state Capitol after 9 a.m. Tuesday, hoping to convince lawmakers to back the legislation before the annual legislative session ends next month.

Sex workers and criminal justice reformers in Rhode Island are also lobbying for lawmakers to at least study decriminalization of prostitution.


  •  "99.75% of a young person's life satisfaction across a year has nothing to do with whether they are using more or less social media," says the coauthor of a new Oxford University study on children and social media use.
  • Mar-a-Lago member Cindy Yang is suing the Miami Herald for libel over a story "that she claims falsely portrays her as the one-time head of a day spa prostitution ring," reports Courthouse News Service.
  • The rise of "fear-based social media."
  • "Unintended" consequences: