Central American Migration Subsides – For Now

Published on September 16th, 2014

The heavy flow of Central American youths crossing our border, which drew national attention when it peaked in June, has tapered off significantly since then. Experts suggest a number of reasons. One is simply the hot weather. As a Border Patrol Officer noted, “It’s slowed down . . . due to the heat. Whenever these summer months come along, that translates to less people.” As the weather cools, the crossings may increase.

But other factors, indeed more significant ones, will come into play as well. Recent increased enforcement by Mexico at her southern border has reportedly been working to stem the flow of Central Americans seeking to cross that country and enter the United States. Pressure from the U.S. no doubt played a role in this action. The Obama Administration had to have been embarrassed by seeing our border so easily overwhelmed by women, teens and children. That spectacle didn’t play well for his agenda to grant amnesty to illegal aliens.

Interestingly, the Mexican crackdown shows that enforcement can indeed be effective in stopping illegal immigration. Perhaps a future American administration more committed to safety and security and enforcing fair immigration laws might want to apply this lesson to our own border.

The question now is whether Mexico will maintain her grip. Pressure from Washington may subside with President Obama’s plan to decree amnesty after the November elections. When Obama was planning to do so before the elections, he had to consider the possibility of a backlash against his party at the polls. Obama himself admitted that the border crisis caused him to pause. Unable to address the crisis quickly enough, he had to break his promise for a pre-election decree and opt for doing it after the elections.

In that situation, he won’t have to worry as much about a backlash, calculating that it will blow over without too much political damage. Washington might then signal to Mexico that enforcement can be eased.

Another step the administration took to defuse the crisis was authorizing ads in Central America telling potential migrants not to come. The reason many came was the impression, greatly encouraged by Obama’s DACA amnesty, that youth crossing the U.S. border would be allowed to stay. The advertisements maintain that the trip is dangerous and that crossers will be sent back home.

Perhaps this information has dampened the enthusiasm of potential migrants, but their hopes may rise again when it becomes apparent that very few of the Central American youths who made it here are being sent home. Under current interpretation of the law, many of them will have hearings before clogged courts which may take years to decide their cases. Quite a few, one can be sure, will never return to their home countries.

Also likely to encourage new migrants will be Obama’s post-election amnesty proclamation, if it indeed happens. Regardless of its specifics, it will send the message that we are not serious about enforcing our immigration laws, and that anyone who comes here illegally has an eventual shot at amnesty.

As we wait to see what happens, some clear lessons emerge. Illegal immigration is not an unstoppable force of nature. It will decline if we discourage it, and increase if we encourage and reward it.

Please tell Congress to stop President Obama from expanding executive amnesty.

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