Trump’s enforcement tactics will not deter new flow of migrants, says policy analyst

Policy analyst Sarah Pierce on Wednesday predicted that President TrumpDonald John TrumpAlaska Republican Party cancels 2020 primary Ukrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' MORE’s immigration enforcement tactics will not be enough to deter the migrant families heading towards to the U.S. Southern border.

Pierce, a policy analyst for the U.S. Immigration Policy Program, says while using enforcement tactics like deportation and military force to curb the flow of illegal immigration worked during the 1990s and 2000s under previous administrations, they're no longer as effective when it comes to addressing migrant families and more vulnerable populations who are escaping violence from their own countries.

“We had millions of people arriving at our Southern border that were largely single economic migrants that were coming to the United States to work and looking at the numbers, using that sort of strategy against them – prosecutions, all of these enforcement tactics – it actually does have some effect,” Pierce told “Rising” Hill.TV co-hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton.

“But when you’re looking at families, vulnerable populations, children – these strategies don’t seem to work, so we really need a different approach at the Southern border,” she added.

Pierce said the nonpartisan group has seen a spike in the number of families arriving at the U.S. Southern border, despite Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric and past family separation policy.

“We had more families arriving at our Southern border during fiscal year 2018 than we ever have before and that was with the president using really the most draconian type of deterrence measures against families,” Pierce told Hill.TV.

In August, the Trump administration introduced a "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which called for the prosecution of all individuals who illegally enter the U.S., and caused the separations of many immigrant families in the process. Even though Trump has since reversed this policy, hundreds of migrant children have yet to be reunited with their parents. 

Trump is now warning that a caravan of Central American migrants heading towards the U.S. Southern border is an "invasion" and threat to the U.S. 

Thousands of men, women, and children are traveling to the U.S. border, largely in an effort to flee violence and poverty in their own countries. Pierce said the current number in the group is about 2,000, adding that this is likely to shrink as the caravan continues its journey north.

Pierce asserted that the Mexican government is being proactive in trying to encourage the migrants in the caravan to stay in the country – both through asylum and through a program similar to the U.S. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

“The Mexican government is actively pushing the caravan to apply for asylum and thousands have actually applied for asylum but in addition to that, they’re offering a sort of, I would say it’s kind of similar to DACA-type program in Southern Mexico – they’re saying if you stay in the Southern states of Mexico, we’ll offer you work authorization, we’ll help you find a place to stay, we’ll let you go to school,” she said. 

But the remaining members of the caravan have called for “safe and dignified” transportation to Mexico City as the group continues to head towards the U.S. border. Even though the group won't reach the Rio Grande for at least another two months, the Pentagon is expected to move forward with deploying an additional 5,200 active-duty military troops to the border by the end of the week.

— Tess Bonn