Monday, July 26, 2021
From early in the Biden administration, claims have been made, especially by Republicans, of a "border crisis." Breitbart points to the increase in apprehensions as a "crisis." In Truthout, David L. Wilson counters the Republican narrative. He writes:
"the present increase in border apprehensions hardly justifies the term `crisis.'
It’s true that as of June, this fiscal year’s apprehensions had topped 1 million for the first time since 2006. Still, this only seems high because of a sharp contrast with the previous 14 years. Apprehensions were unusually low during that period . . . . Apprehensions exceeded a million a year for most of the period from 1983 to 2006, but they declined significantly during and after the Great Recession of 2007-2009. This year’s increase is at most a return to normal.
But it may well be a temporary uptick [due to the pandemic]. . . . . Economic hardships created by COVID may have pushed more Mexican workers to cross the border, he noted, and these conditions might also explain the increase in asylum seekers from Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
In addition, stepped-up border enforcement itself accounts for part of the increase. The number of apprehensions is inflated because of the Title 42 policy, according to a fact sheet from the American Immigration Council . . . . By simply pushing migrants back across the border without formally removing them, the policy makes it easier for migrants to attempt repeated crossings — and to be apprehended more than once. From 2014 to 2019, before Title 42 went into effect, only 15 percent of the migrants apprehended by the Border Patrol had been apprehended previously in the same year. In May 2021, recidivists accounted for 38 percent of apprehensions.
In any case, an increase in apprehensions at the border doesn’t necessarily translate into more migrants getting into the United States without being caught."
In evaluating the increase in apprehensions, it is worth noting that border crossings increases in the spring and early summer, with seasonal farm workers seeking to cross and others crossing before the deadly heat hits its peak.