Is rigid partisanship the real reason for rejecting Trump's border crisis claim?

Is rigid partisanship the real reason for rejecting Trump's border crisis claim?
© Getty

Gallup scientist, Frank Newport, says that President Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE’s wall has become an "RPPI" — a Rigidly Partisan Policy Issue. Opinions “are highly entrenched and largely based on underlying partisan identity.”

Pew Research Center's recent poll found that 82 percent of Republicans favor expanding the border wall, compared to only 6 percent of Democrats. Pew analysts noted that "partisan differences [on the wall] are now wider than they have ever been."

And the RPPI is even stronger in congress.


Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) introduced a joint resolution, which, with favorable action in the Senate would terminate the national emergency declaration that Trump is using to obtain funding for his wall. Castro refers to it as “Trump’s fake emergency declaration.”

The resolution was cosponsored by 232 Democrats and one Republican. It passed on a roll call vote of 245 yeas and 182 nays. All of the nay votes were from Republicans.

Situation is worse than Trump is indicating 

The failure to secure the border has resulted in a population of undocumented aliens so large that effective immigration enforcement in the interior of the country is no longer possible.

According to ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations Report for fiscal 2018, the number of aliens deported from the interior of the country rose from 65,332 in fiscal 2016, to 95,360 in fiscal 2018.

A study by MIT and Yale professors, however, indicates that the number of undocumented aliens in the United States could actually be as high as 22.1 million. If interior removals continue at the fiscal 2018 rate, it would take more than 200 years to remove them all.

Rep. Castro claims illegal border crossings are at a four-decade low

Presumably, he is referring to the fact that apprehensions dropped to 303,916 in fiscal 2017.  Apprehensions, however, are rising again.

There were 50,998 apprehensions in October 2018; 51,857 in November; 50,749 in December; and 47,893 in January 2019. At that rate, there will be 604,491 apprehensions for fiscal 2019, roughly twice as many as in fiscal 2017.


Almost half of the apprehensions during this four-month period were family units, which can be attributed primarily to the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement between immigration activist groups and the government.

Flores limits the detention of children to no more than 20 days, and concern over separating children from their parents has led to the practice of releasing the parents too when the children are released.

Consequently, aliens who bring children with them and say they want asylum are processed and then allowed to continue on their journey to the interior of the country. This has become a magnet that draws undocumented aliens who can bring children with them.

Apprehensions not a reliable indicator of illegal crossings

No one knows how many aliens have succeeded in crossing the 1,933-mile southwest border illegally without being detected. For instance, many illegal crossings are made at remote locations that are not patrolled heavily, such as the Arizona desert.

Border Patrol data indicate that 7,216 people died while illegally crossing the southwest border at remote locations in the 20-year period from fiscal 1998 to fiscal 2017. Most of them perished in the desert from dehydration, hypothermia, or heatstroke.

According to CNN, the Border Patrol usually just counts dead bodies they happen upon while patrolling the border, so the actual number of deaths may be much higher.

Immigration court backlog crisis makes it virtually impossible to process new cases

As of the end of January 2019, the immigration court backlog was 829,608 cases, and the average wait for a hearing was 1,035 days — nearly three years. That does not include 330,211 additional cases that are not yet on the active docket, which would raise the total to 1,159,819 cases.

Central American migration is a national security threat

Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Daniel R. Coats included an increase in migration from Central America as a regional national security threat in the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community that he presented to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in January 2019.

Migration from Central America was also included in the Worldwide Threat Assessment that former DNI James R. Clapper presented to Congress in 2016, during the Obama administration.

The redacted public versions of these reports do not explain why increased migration from Central America is a national security threat. Presumably, the explanation was given to lawmakers when the hearings were closed for the presentation of classified information.

Trump no longer intends to erect a concrete structure from sea to sea

He just wants a strategic deployment of steel barriers at high priority locations, which would make it more difficult to cross the border illegally.

It will be a shame if misguided partisanship prevents him from doing it.

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.