Accuracy in Media

Vigorous enforcement of U.S. immigration law at the Mexican border has proven enormously successful.

Crossings are at 20-year lows. The nearly 700 miles where walls and fencing have been built since 2006 have forced those attempting to sneak into the country to find ever more remote and difficult places to do so.

Asylum seekers with weak cases – the vast majority of those from Central America do not qualify – soon will find themselves having to wait out their cases south of the border, taking away an advantage of reaching the U.S. The administration also has limited the number of asylum cases it processes each day, further adding to the delay.

In short, it is getting more uncomfortable, inconvenient and difficult to break U.S. immigration law and enter the U.S. illegally, and the further steps being contemplated by Congress and the White House now will prove only to further the decline in illegal immigration.

This wasn’t the take the New York Times intended with “The Trek Across the Border Veers Into More and More Remote Terrain” by Simon Romero and Caitlin Dickerson. But it is the conclusion that emerges.

The intended take of the story, datelined Antelope Wells, N.M., is that of a humanitarian crisis emerging as understaffed Border Patrol agents and immigration officials seek to deal with hundreds of border crossers and asylum seekers.

“The Border Patrol’s tiny base in the southwest corner of New Mexico is so remote that the wind howls through the surrounding basin where jaguars still stalk their pray,” Romero and Dickerson began. “But that hasn’t stopped thousands of Central Americans from journeying in recent weeks to the rural outpost and other isolated points along the Southwest border, launching increasingly desperate bids for asylum in the United States.”

Earlier this month, 362 people surrendered to the Border Patrol at its Antelope Wells operation. Last week, 306 more did, including “children in need of immediate medical care.”

The Trump administration’s more vigorous enforcement measures “have forced some Central American migrants to wait for months to apply for asylum, sometimes sleeping on the street or in crowded shelters in Mexican border cities,” the Times wrote.

Then, demonstrating the effectiveness of Trump’s new plan to have asylum cases heard south of the border, we learn those seeking to enter the U.S. illegally are “frustrated and increasingly desperate,”  so much so they have been paying smugglers to take them to remote border stations where they can surrender quickly to American officials and hope to be allowed to remain in the United States while their asylum claims are processed.”

This explains the 1,866 percent increase in apprehensions in the El Paso sector, which includes rural New Mexico, from November 2017 to November 2018, the Times asserted. And it is dangerous.

“Pushing migrants toward remote desert locations puts them at higher risk of dehydration, heatstroke or hypothermia,” the Times wrote. They’ve sought the “more dangerous crossing routes because they have been foreclosed from seeking asylum at the more widely traveled border crossings,” the Times wrote, citing a human rights activist from El Paso.

The Times refused to credit Trump’s policies.

“Border Patrol officials have put forward various theories about why crossings at remote locations are climbing that have nothing to do with the administration’s policies,” it wrote.  

It could be smugglers are going to remote places to avoid paying transit fees to Mexican gangs that monitor movement toward more popular crossings. It could be those smuggling cannabis into the U.S. “were trying to distract agents in the field by flooding remote stations with asylum seekers.”

Or it could be the remnant of policies that date back to the Clinton administration. “Immigration activists say the increase in remote crossings is just the latest development in a decades-long effort to push immigration out of urban areas” that traced back to Operation Blockade in 1993.

“Border fencing erected in Southern California and Arizona in recent years drove some of the biggest migration flows toward the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, where the river marks the border and many migrants are able to cross with a short boat ride,” the Times wrote.

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