“For 50 years, and long before that, it was a disaster. But over the last 20, 25 years, it’s gotten worse.”
The numbers suggest that this is not true.
Unauthorized crossings along the border with Mexico have sharply declined over the past two decades, according to government data. From the 1980s to the mid-2000s, the government reported annually apprehending around 1 million to 1.6 million people who tried to cross the southwestern border illegally. That number has been halved in recent years. By month, border apprehensions averaged more than 81,588 under President George W. Bush, declined to more than 34,647 under President Barack Obama and now stand at 24,241 under Mr. Trump.
.. The president is correct in citing a spike in illegal border crossings that occurred in March: The 37,393 individuals apprehended was a 203 percent increase over the same period in March 2017, though the number was lower than in 2013 and 2014.
.. Research shows that incarceration rates of both legal and undocumented immigrants across the country are lower than those of native-born Americans, and that the net economic impact of immigration is positive.
.. “There’s this misconception that we’re in this lawless land, and it’s the wild, wild frontier, and it’s not,” said the Brownsville police chief, Orlando C. Rodriguez. “We see actually a downward trend in crime in Brownsville over the past few years, and the numbers are just getting better every year.”
.. Asked whether the city’s population of undocumented immigrants was committing widespread crime, Chief Rodriguez said they were most definitely not.
.. “To say that illegals are running around in Brownsville causing problems, we just don’t see it,” the chief said.
.. In Nogales, Ariz., which borders and shares its name with a Mexican city, the number of violent crimes plummeted by more than 70 percent from 1997 to 2016. Similar trends can be seen in San Luis, Somerton and Yuma. The overall crime rate in Arizona has also dropped by more than a third from 1993 to 2016. During that same time, the state’s undocumented-immigrant population more than doubled
.. The drug trade fuels public corruption.
.. Police chases of smugglers’ vehicles often end in tragedy — in deadly collisions, fatal shootings and rollovers.
.. Sergio Sanchez, a Republican activist and commentator in nearby McAllen, agrees with Mr. Trump’s portrayal of the border and his hard-line approach to illegal immigration.
.. “The crisis is real,” said Mr. Sanchez, the former chairman of the Hidalgo County Republican Party and the host of a conservative talk-radio show called The Wall. “The crisis is immediately south of the border, and it bleeds over to our side. Mexico is literally a lawless land and they need to come to grips with that. The crisis has been going on for decades.
For such critics, the only possible explanation for evangelicals’ continuing faith in Trump is some combination of ignorance and hypocrisy... These voters — and almost all of them voted — see Trump’s flaws but perceive him as a fellow sinner willing to fight the forces of the establishment on their behalf... The barrage of negative press hardly rattled him or most of his colleagues, who see the mainstream media as anything but friendly to their opinions and their faith... “He has to fight all of them,” said the preacher, referring to the Democrats and the media.Another minister told me he appreciates that Trump has no hesitation taking on “the reprobate left” that considers the president “an enemy of their established power system.”
.. Part of the decision by many evangelicals to support Trump for president was attributable to long-standing differences with liberal candidates over social issues. Evangelicals tend to share conservative positions on abortion, gun rights, border security and the fight against “radical Islamic terrorism,” as they usually make sure to phrase it. But more than anything, Trump’s specific pledges to the religious right got their attention.
.. So far, they think Trump has kept those promises. He has followed up with invitations to the White House, sought input on court appointments, stood firmly with Israel and signed an executive order expanding religious freedom in regard to political speech... when Trump refuses to fully adopt the conclusion that climate change is due to man-made influences, he demonstrates an affinity with evangelical Christians who do not blindly accept every scientific theory... They also know they are considered by many to be superstitious or ignorant for adhering to their beliefs... Probably half the people in churches across the country defined as “evangelicals” were converted from lives that were even more unprincipled than the life Trump has led. Some experienced divorces, others used foul language, and many were addicted to drugs or alcohol... In most cases, no immediate miracle happened with regard to their behavior at the moment of their confessions of faith or their emergence from the baptismal waters. The only miracle they were promised was the application of the grace of Jesus Christ, which, under New Testament doctrine, washed away their sins.
..Trump speaks to this man’s situation and makes him feel heard. But when you think practically about which candidate could improve his life, it’s clear that Clinton is the bigger change agent.
.. To create political change, you have to work within groups and organize groups of groups.
.. Now, if you wanted to design a personality type perfectly ill suited to be a change agent in government, you would come up with Donald Trump: solipsistic, impatient, combative, unsubtle and ignorant.
.. None of us should be under any illusions. Wherever Clinton walks, the whiff of scandal is always by her side. The Clintons seem to have decided that they are righteous and good, and therefore anything that enriches, empowers or makes them feel good must always be righteous and good. They surround themselves with some amazing people but also some human hand grenades who inevitably blow up in their faces.
Passing legislation next year is going to be hard, but if Clinton can be dull and pragmatic, and operate at a level below the cable TV ideology wars, it’s possible to imagine her gathering majorities behind laws that would help people like that guy in Idaho:
- an infrastructure push, criminal justice reform,
- a college tuition program,
- an apprenticeship and skills program,
- an expanded earned-income tax credit
- and a bill to secure the border
- and shift from low-skill to high-skill immigration.