The Axios website purported to tell readers yesterday “why the migrant crisis is happening now” at the southwest frontier of the United States.
Some of what it reported is right. Some of it wrong.
But one thing the writer did correctly assess, if for the wrong reason, is the situation. It is a crisis ... for Americans.
They Are Not Fleeing Violence
Axios writer Stef Kight averred that “migrants” are crossing the border for multiple reasons that she separates into “push and pull factors.”
“The big picture,” she writes, is that illegals are “running from horrors and poverty at home toward a broken immigration system in the U.S. There's no single reason, but droughts, political instability, a booming U.S. economy, technological advancements and asylum backlogs all play a role.”
Kight’s list of “push factors” include crime and violence.
“Homicide rates have fallen slightly in recent years for Guatemala and Honduras, but El Salvador and Honduras maintained the two highest homicide rates in the world in 2016, according to the most recent UN data available,” she wrote.
They also want to escape because booming populations are driving up poverty and “jobs are scarce.”
As well, “severe drought devastated crops last year in areas of Central American nations where families commonly live almost exclusively off the food they grow,” Kight wrote.
Another factor is the collapse of the coffee market because of a rust blight that hit Guatemala in the early 2010s: “With the rust and falling coffee prices, jobs have disappeared and many coffee farmers and workers have decided to migrate.”
The problem with the analysis is a study published in September showing that most migrants leave their countries not because of gangs or violence, but because they’re looking for jobs and, likely, welfare — the goodies they’ll get when they cross the border. Illegals have told reporters the same thing.
The other factors — poverty, drought, the coffee blight — all of which adds up to joblessness, are the reasons they’re coming. And why 90 percent of asylum claims are turned down.
The claim that the illegals are “fleeing violence” comes mainly from hard-left open-borders advocates angling to keep the illegals coming in because they’ll become Democratic voters.
Why They’re Coming
The magnets that Kight calls “pull factors?”
“The U.S. economy is booming and has been for the last couple of years, which is always a draw for immigrants and asylum-seekers,” Kight wrote, citing immigration experts.
Another is our lax asylum system that allows anyone to apply for it, and stay in the country while they await a decision:
Court decisions prevent migrant families and kids from being held in federal detention for longer than 20 days, which has led to many families quickly being released into the U.S., DHS officials have told reporters. Knowing it's likely they will be released can convince families to migrate now, experts said.
Border officials have repeatedly said that catch and release, which the Trump administration promised to stop, is a key reason the illegals, most now arriving in “family units,” not only keep crossing the border but also quickly surrender to border agents.
“At the same time, long backlogs of immigration and asylum court cases give many immigrants years in the U.S. before there is a decision,” Kight wrote without adding the data. In May, Syracuse University’s TRAC immigration project reported a backlog of 908,552 cases.
As well, as TNA reported in June, 90 percent of so-called family units simply don’t show up in court for their cases.
Citing “immigration experts and lawyers,” Kight also averred that “Trump’s actions” are to blame for illegal crossings because the administration “has blocked or reduced legal means of coming to the U.S. by limiting the number of migrants who can come through ports of entry. These actions encourage families and kids to cross the border illegally to apply for asylum.”
“Trump’s threats,” Kight wrote, are exacerbating the crisis. “When you say things like ‘we’re going to build a wall,’ ‘we’re going to send the military to the border,’ that’s just a starting gun,” an immigration lawyer told her.
Which is kind of like saying a retail store’s announcement that it locks the doors at closing time is a signal for looters to raid the place.
Adding to the problem are the “caravans,” which provide safety in numbers, and “smuggler networks now have competition, and they have found safer, faster ways to move people across Mexico by using express bus routes.” And advanced communications tech helps, too, Kight wrote.
All of which adds up to one thing: Trump had better get control of the border.
Photo: AP Images