Thursday, April 5, 2018

With illegal immigration trending down, Trump's deployment of National Guard is unnecessary, fear-mongering politics.

This morning the AZ Daily Star, among other outlets, trumpets Arizona governor embraces Trump plan for National Guard on border.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is embracing President Trump’s decision to deploy the military along the border with Mexico and is consulting with officials in Washington on how the state National Guard could help.

The Republican governor said in a Wednesday tweet that the state “welcomes the deployment of National Guard to the border.” He said Washington has ignored the issue and help is needed. Ducey said for Arizona, “it’s all about public safety.”

The Trump administration said it is working with governors to “immediately” deploy the National Guard to combat illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Wednesday said “the threat is real” and announced the president was signing a proclamation to put the deployment into effect — something he did Wednesday night.

That raises some questions. What necessitates deployment now? Is this move really about public safety? Or is it just another Republican ploy to gin up fear among the Trumpian base? There are data (aka embarrassing facts) that can be used to decide these matters.

Once source of data is provided by the Border Patrol itself in their spreadsheet which shows the Total Illegal Alien Apprehensions By Month. Illustrative yearly totals include FY2000 (1,676,438), FY2007 (876,704), FY2016 (415,816), and FY2017 (310,5310). Those representative totals show that apprehensions declined during the Bush, Obama, and now Trump presidencies. To be sure, there are month-to-month and year-to-year variations, but the overall trend was, and is, down. Minor bumps in the trend line should not be used to take these kinds of “draconian” actions (what CD3 Rep. Raul Grijalva called them).

There is another set of data that are the basis for rejecting Trump’s precipitous, impulsive action. This morning’s Significant Digits email from 538 reports on the relation between immigration and crime.

118 percent
There is not a link between immigration and crime. Since 1980, the immigrant population in the United States increased 118 percent. Since 1980, the violent crime rate in the United States decreased 36 percent. Indeed, cities that had more immigrants tended to see a decrease in crime. [The Marshall Project]

The Marshall Project debunks THE MYTH OF THE CRIMINAL IMMIGRANT. The link between immigration and crime exists in the imaginations of Americans, and nowhere else. Below are snippets capturing some of the results.

In a large-scale collaboration by four universities, led by Robert Adelman, a sociologist at the State University of New York at Buffalo, researchers compared immigration rates with crime rates for 200 metropolitan areas over the last several decades. The selected areas included huge urban hubs like New York and smaller manufacturing centers less than a hundredth that size, like Muncie, Ind., and were dispersed geographically across the country.

According to data from the study, a large majority of the areas have many more immigrants today than they did in 1980 and fewer violent crimes. The Marshall Project extended the study’s data up to 2016, showing that crime fell more often than it rose even as immigrant populations grew almost across the board.

And yet the argument that immigrants bring crime into America has driven many of the policies enacted or proposed by the administration so far: restrictions to entry, travel and visas; heightened border enforcement; plans for a wall along the border with Mexico. This month, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against California in response to the state’s refusal to allow local police to assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in detaining and deporting undocumented immigrants charged with crimes. On Tuesday, California’s Orange County signed on in support of that suit. But while the immigrant population in the county has more than doubled since 1980, overall violent crime has decreased by more than 50 percent.

But since when do facts matter to Republicans? Apparently not in Orange County.

In general, the study’s data suggests either that immigration has the effect of reducing average crime, or that there is simply no relationship between the two, and that the 54 areas in the study where both grew were instances of coincidence, not cause and effect. This was a consistent pattern in each decade from 1980 to 2016, with immigrant populations and crime failing to grow together.

Now suppose that the first possibility,“immigration has the effect of reducing average crime”, is true. Then the Trump/Ducey move to prevent immigration will have the effect of increasing crime. Instead, suppose that the second possibility, that “there is simply no relationship between the two”, is correct. In that case, the deployment of national guard to our border is merely a colossal mistake and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

In either case, the Marshall Project data show that the motives for the deployment are nothing more than fear-mongering designed to help Trump and Ducey and the GOPlin pawns to seize and hold political power. Senate candidate Martha McSally, for example, citing no evidence whatsoever politicized the deployment to bash Democrats.

At a campaign stop in SaddleBrooke, Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., backed the decision by Trump to put National Guard troops on the border.

She said it would be up to the Democrats on how long troops stay on the border.

“It depends on how long it takes to get the Democratic leadership to come to the table and be willing to provide the resources and everything we need to secure the border,” she said. “Perhaps this will bring them back to the table.”

Like I said. Trump’s deployment is fear-mongering politics at its worst. There is no reliable evidence that would justify the deployment at this time.

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