President Donald Trump’s immigration policies - even those not yet fully in effect - are already a huge success. How do we know? Well, for one thing, The New York Times is crediting Mr. Trump’s policies with having had a swift and significant effect on curbing illegal immigration. And, although we don’t often have cause to say this, in this instance, The NYTimes is absolutely correct.
In a full-length piece in Monday’s print edition, reporter Kirk Semple makes the persuasive case that President Trump’s get-tough approach to immigration policy has played a significant role in the decrease of illegal immigration into the United States. From the article: “From February through May [of this year], the number of undocumented immigrants stopped or caught along the southwest border of the United States fell 60 percent from the same period last year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection - evidence that far fewer migrants are heading north, officials on both sides of the border say.”
Mr. Semple argues that would-be illegal immigrants are no longer making the trek to the United States because the risk that they will be deported is too great. In other words, the chances that the United States will actually enforce its immigration laws are a far greater probability in the Trump era than in the previous administration’s era of immigration lawlessness.
The NYTimes piece displays two of the paper’s chief defining characteristics - East Coast elitism that is willfully out of touch with Real America, coupled with a patronizing insistence that our nation’s immigration laws are not only un-enforceable, but they are also borderline inhuman. It is precisely this worldview The NYTimes possesses that is so utterly at odds with the worldview of the vast majority Americans. And it is this exact reason that The NYTimes elites were so caught off guard by Mr. Trump’s surprising win.
President Trump was elected last November, in no small part, because of his willingness to be the candidate most aggressive about enforcing our immigration laws. His simple stance on immigration - which at times was almost simplistic - was that our immigration laws must be enforced. He never shied away from talking about deportations or even building a wall, and he was elected - not because Americans were willing to overlook his immigration rhetoric, but because his supporters actually believed he would do exactly what he said on immigration.
Mr. Trump’s policies were based on a few fundamental premises: that a society that respects the rule of law must actually enforce its laws, and that there is something inherently unsafe about not knowing which people are here, for how long, and for what purpose. Beyond the rule of law and national security implications, candidate Trump started a national dialogue about the latent unfairness - and even un-Americanness - of immigration policies (and the policy of not enforcing our immigration laws) that prioritize non-U.S. citizens over U.S. citizens. It was a conversation many Americans found refreshing.
Mr. Semple’s piece profiles various people who were considering coming to the United States illegally, but who thought better of it, given the change in policy. One person, preparing to come to the United States illegally, was warned by a friend in New York: “The United States [is] no longer a place for undocumented migrants.” Although it violates every elitist instinct, the fact that the United States is no longer a place for routine and flippant disregard for our laws, is actually a welcome change.
Unable to escape The NYTimes dogma on illegal immigration, Semple laments that “[a]rrests of immigrants living illegally in the United States have soared, with the biggest increase coming among those migrants with no criminal records.” Because, from The NYTimes’ perspective, it is possible to flagrantly disregard and violate our nation’s immigration laws, and also be innocent of any criminal wrongdoing.
The NYTimes article almost comically betrays the elitist bias in favor of illegal immigration. In one particularly revealing passage, Mr. Semple bemoans the devastating impact of Mr. Trump’s policies on - incredibly! - migrant smugglers in Honduras, who are presented as savvy small-business owners. “Migrant smugglers in Honduras say their business has dried up since Mr. Trump took office.” And one such migrant smuggler says he has only had one “client” since President Trump was sworn into office. The New York Times has thus unwittingly published high praise for President Trump’s track record of putting Central American criminal enterprises and networks out of business.
Liberals and Establishment Republicans (read: Washington’s elites) have long argued that our immigration laws are too difficult and too expensive to enforce, and that we cannot possibly or practicably deport illegal immigrants, and, as a consequence, that illegal immigration is just something we have to accept.
In six short months of President Trump’s presidency, he has done more than stem the tide of illegal immigrants into the country; he has also single-handedly demonstrated the falsehoods that make up elitist thinking about immigration.