So After All That There Is No Border Surge?

Charles P. Pierce
·2-min read
Photo credit: John Moore - Getty Images
Photo credit: John Moore - Getty Images

From Esquire

The Washington Post has unleashed its Figure Filberts on the widely trumpeted "crisis" around the "surge" at the Southern border. (This was after a Post story on the subject this weekend that was roundly barbecued for its uncritical acceptance of Republican frames.) The analysis showed that the "crisis" was a phantom because there was no "surge."

We looked at data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection to see whether there’s a “crisis” — or even a “surge,” as many news outlets have characterized it. We analyzed monthly CBP data from 2012 to now and found no crisis or surge that can be attributed to Biden administration policies. Rather, the current increase in apprehensions fits a predictable pattern of seasonal changes in undocumented immigration combined with a backlog of demand because of 2020’s coronavirus border closure...

... the CBP has recorded a 28 percent increase in migrants apprehended from January to February 2021, from 78,442 to 100,441. News outlets, pundits and politicians have been calling this a “surge” and a “crisis.” ... the CBP’s numbers reveal that undocumented immigration is seasonal, shifting upward this time of year. During fiscal year 2019, under the Trump administration, total apprehensions increased 31 percent during the same period, a bigger jump than we’re seeing now. We’re comparing fiscal year 2021 to 2019 because the pandemic changed the pattern in 2020. In 2018, the increase is about 25 percent from February to March — somewhat smaller but still pronounced.

The immigration problem is just that...a problem, a doggedly persistent issue for every president going on 40 years now. For the four years of the previous administration*, we tried outright cruelty and that didn't solve anything. So now we have a brand-new administration trying to get a handle on it while facing amped-up impatience and ginned-up outrage. (If Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, goes to hell, it will be for public appearances like this one.) Not everything is a crisis. Sometimes, American politics looks like a hospital with nothing but a chronic ward.

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