There is No Border Crisis EXCEPT GOP Governors Kidnapping and Killing Immigrants

The narrative we are being fed by the Republican noise machine – and that mainstream media is only too happy to amplify for them – that the border is ‘overrun‘, ‘out of control‘ or a ‘crisis‘, is bullshit. And far too many Democrats are buying into that tall tale and blaming Joe Biden for the supposed problem – including our own Governor Hobbs at her State of the State address, unfortunately. Such Democratic buy-ins to the Republicans’ bad-faith framing only make our job at communicating reasonably to voters about real solutions to the challenges and opportunities of immigration policy.

I’m not the only one who noted the Governor’s political cowardice on immigration: Robert Robb also noted it, titling his post “Hobbs throws Biden under bus” and you can bet there was a lot of high-fives in the AZGOP caucus when Hobbs did it:

Hobbs made several pointed references to the failures of the federal government regarding immigration and their adverse consequences for Arizona. Biden, of course, heads up that federal government, and immigration is, at present, the most potent issue Republicans are deploying against him. 

Winning Arizona was a vital building block in Biden’s successful Electoral College collage in 2020. The state is presumed to be a key battleground in 2024 as well. Biden won in 2020 by an eyelash.

In such a situation, there would be an expectation that a Democratic governor would be doing some blocking and tackling for Biden, not amplifying the GOP’s most potent criticism. Hobbs did try to soften the blow by saying the problem has festered under both Republican and Democratic administrations. But Biden has the job and responsibility now. And a border state Democratic governor is saying he ain’t hacking it. Politically, that’s noteworthy. 

Robert Robb Substack, The Political Notebook 1.12.2024

Actually, politically that’s DEVASTATING. That portion of Hobbs’ address will be on loop in Arizona’s Trump ads – mark my words. Avoiding personal blame and passing the buck doesn’t help Democrats – just the opposite, in fact. We have to WIN this issue, or at the very least nuetralize it’s potency and salience to voting in 2024. Every Democratic officeholder must be pushing back on the false narrative of a border crisis, not buying into it like Hobbs did.

Ruy Teixera lays out the scale of the problem Democrats face on the immigration issue heading into election year:

… lurking in the weeds is voters’ second most important issue: immigration and the border. The Democrats are in such terrible shape on this issue that it could tip the balance decisively in Trump’s favor.

Start with this: Biden’s approval rating on “handling the immigration situation at the U.S.-Mexico border” is now 18 percent. Eighteen percent! That’s really, really bad and the lowest presidential approval on the issue ABC News has measured since 2004.

In the latest Wall Street Journal poll, Trump is preferred over Biden by 30 points, his greatest lead on any issue. In the latest Fox News poll, voters favor a wide variety of measures to crack down on illegal immigration: increasing border agents (79 percent); deporting illegal immigrants (67 percent); penalizing hiring illegal immigrants (64 percent); using the US military at the border (58 percent); and even building a border wall (54 percent).

Illuminating detail comes from a December survey conducted by the Blueprint group. Between Trump and Biden, who are voters most likely to think is close to their views on immigration? It’s Trump by a country mile: 44 percent of voters say Trump is close to their position, compared to a mere 25 percent who say Biden is close to their position. Even Hispanic voters are more likely to say Trump is close to their views on immigration than to say Biden is! (To understand this last data point I recommend Politico reporter David Siders’ sobering article, “There Are a Lot of Mexican People Looking Forward to Trump,” based on a reporting trip to El Paso, Texas.)

The Liberal Patriot, by Ruy Texiera, Jan 18, 2024.

So how do we make progress on an issue that the GOP is absolutely owning us on?

I’m here to help. The first step to getting out of a hole is always to stop fucking digging your own damned grave!

Democrats have to understand and internalize the fact that the story Republicans are telling voters about the border and immigration are simply not true, and wildly mistates the actual causes and scale of problems we are facing around immigration. We have to start pushing back with the facts, and refuse to accept their lying narrative. If we internalize their framing, they will win this issue decisively because they genuinely haven’t ANY concern for the welfare and humanity of immigrants, which allows them to use these poor desperate people as disposable pawns in their gambit for power.

Here’s the reality of the border in context:

The level of immigration is historically high but clearly comparable with recent years under Republican leadership in the Presidencies of Regan, Bush 1 and Bush 2. Note: many of these illustrations and facts are courtesy of the Pew Research Center 2021 report on the border and immigration, but these are simply objective data that can be found in many places.

You will note that while we are indeed seeing record numbers of encounters at the border, the numbers are clearly comparable to the highs in immigration flow during the mid-80s and around the turn of the century. The idea that there is an uprecedented crisis happening now is just pure bullshittery. Immigration ebbs and flows and has little to nothing to do with any policies of the United States or what Administration is in charge. Macroeconomic trends and the conditions in originating countries are the biggest drivers, not immigration policy or enforcement here in the United States.

The next thing to note is that we are seeing a historic change in the nationality of those immigrants with far more non-Mexican immigrants than in the past. These are not economic migrants looking to come a work for a season or a few years and go home as in the recent past with mainly Mexican immigration flows; these are largely people fleeing collapsing, repressive or failed nations, who are fleeing organized violence and persecution at home.

Which are those new nationalties we are seeing at the border now?

We are still getting a lot of people displaced from the “Northern Triangle”, but the greatest growth in flows has been from failing and repressive states in South America and the Carribean (Ecuador, Brazil, Venezuela, Haiti, and Cuba).

Most of the encounters with non-Mexicans in fiscal 2021 involved people from the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. There were 308,931 encounters with people from Honduras last fiscal year (representing 19% of all encounters), 279,033 with people from Guatemala (17%) and 95,930 with people from El Salvador (6%). The Northern Triangle region has been a major source of migration at the U.S-Mexico border in recent years.

Pew Research Center

I have addressed in a prior post the disinformation and propaganda of the GOP about terrorists at the US/Mexico border, fentanyl trafficking being related to illegal immigration, and rates at which immigrants are committing crimes here – all bullshit, of course.

One of the most important statistics that drives home to folks that we are not experiencing anything that our enforcment agencies can’t handle is this: total daily encounters has never exceeded more than 2 per border agent. Ever. Even if you look at the Republican’s own numbers of total encounters (which is inflated in several ways) of 3.2 million in 2023 for the entire nation (not just the US/Mexican border), and Homeland’s own number of agents (19,357 Border Patrol agents), you realize that we are seeing far fewer than 1 encounter per day per agent. When you consider that we also employ 25,836 CBP officers who work our ports of entry the “encounters” numbers completely collapse the GOP’s false narratives. We don’t have an emergency if your average BP Agent is really only having one encounter per day.

Of course, gross statistics don’t always tell a complete story, and no serious Democratic officeholders are advocating for less border personnel or enforcement resources – just the opposite, in fact. It is the Republicans who refuse to increase agent numbers or giving more resources to border enforcement.

The GOP’s culpability for blocking progress and harming people:

The MAGA faction has driven the Republican Party to oppose the Democrats’ funding of over $13 billion dollars in additional funding for border agents, support personnel and new technology and equipment for enforcement, and more judges to help clear the vast backlog of immigration and asylum cases.

Why? Because they smell political blood. They are willing to damage our foriegn policy by opposing military and civilian aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan as well as prevent any bi-partisan reform of our immigration and asylum system by insisting on their package of absolutely unrealistic and punative employment and asylum enforcement mandates in their pet hate-on-non-citizens bill, HR 2.

What is HR 2, and what does it do, you might ask? In short, it would force a purge of all employees in the United States who cannot pass an E-Verify check – which includes lots of a perfectly legal citizens, BTW – instantly creating a massive labor shortage in America, and very likely breaks our international obligations to asylum seekers, all while slashing services to those same asylum seekers, building the whole stupid wall (which, BTW, Biden is still doing in places where a barrier makes enforcement sense…), and ends protections for minor children asylum seekers under domestic law (also likely abrogating our international agreements regarding refugees). Most absurdly, it requires the border be entirely closed if Homeland cannot certify that the border is under ‘operational control’, which is defined in HR 2 as “the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband.

That has NEVER been the case, and never will be. Passing HR 2 would be slitting our own throats by plunging us immediately into recession due to a massive labor shortage, completely shutting down trade with our largest trade partner (Mexico), violating our international agreements and existing domestic humanitarian law, and wrecking our image around the world due to the mandated mistreatment of refugees that HR 2 requires. In short, when MAGA legislators demand passage of HR 2, they are demanding we sacrifice our economy, our international obligations, and our self-respect at the altar of their hatred of foreigners. Let voters know that, damnit!

TX Governor graduates from kidnapping to negligent homicide…

If that weren’t bad enough, now Republican border-state (and not-so-border states… looking at you Ron…) Governors are potentially committing crimes against asylum seekers and immigrants as political theater. There has been ongoing programs of systemicized kidnapping by fraud and human trafficking by Republican Governors to harrass and overwhelm the support systems for refugees in blue states. Now Governor Abbott of Texas has stepped up his criminality with veiled threats of murder and actual neglegent homocide of immigrants by physically blocking federal agents from parts of the border, which has already resulted in deaths by either incompetence or indifference.

Incidentally, the MAGA faction is also using this blatantly false narrative about the border to drive forward an utterly baseless impeachment inquiry into Biden’s Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas. This could have never happened if we Democrats had not allowed their false narrative to go almost wholly unchallenged.

The American voters’ position:

So what does the American public say they actually want done about the border and immigration? Nothing that is in HR 2, certainly. Unsurprisingly, the American public is broadly supportive of a well-regulated system of immigration and asylum. I don’t want any accusation of choosing the most favorable polls, so I chose conservative think tank Cato Institute’s polling and analysis to ensure we aren’t looking at public opinion with any rose-tinted glasses.

We are a nation of immigrants and most Americans are broadly supportive and realistic about our economic and demographic need for new immigrants and merely wish the process of immigration and asylum claims to be more orderly, with more protections to ensure we are getting the best people, fairly adjudicating claims and, surprisingly, we want the process to be faster and easier and safer for immigrants and asylum seekers in general. We are not a cruel people. We don’t want people to die of exposure in the desert. We don’t want human smugglers to profit off the desperate. We don’t want immigrants to have to live in constant fear of deportation or have to tolerate employer abuse and exploitation. We don’t want to have the government abusing asylum seekers by locking people up in terrible conditions. In short, we want our leaders to make our system of immigration safer, cheaper, quicker, more orderly, more respectful of the rights of immigrants and refugees, and to serve our economic and national security better.

We don’t like there to be chaos and death on our border, but that is exactly why Republicans are driving the false narrative and don’t care about the real consequences of GOP policy and rhetoric on immigration: whatever they can do to make the situation worse, they will gleefully do, because it tends to redound to their benefit when Democrats are in a defensive crouch on the subject – like Hobbs’ cowardly denouncement of the Biden Administration’s handling of the matter. We can deliver on what Americans actually want with reasonable bi-partisan negotiations, but not as long as a wacked out White Nationalist MAGA movement holds the keys to the House Speaker’s chastity belt and we continue to accept the GOP’s blatantly false narratives.

What our narrative on the border and immigration should be…

First, and foremost, NEVER accept or reinforce assertions that the border is in chaos, or out of control, or an emergency due to anything Biden has done or is doing. It’s just not true. Immigration levels are comparable to other historic highs and have nothing to do with our immigration policies. Or at least only as true as it has even been for the past 40 years. The border has always been a policy and enforcement challenge for every Administration and Congress, but we can improve things with the additional resources and real bi-partisan reforms that the GOP is blocking for political gain. Here is an excellent podcast outlining how the GOP builds and uses the ‘border crisis’ narrative.

Strongly denounce and deny GOP/MAGA fairy tales of terrorists flooding in, immigrant crime sprees, and fentanyl being packed in by immigrants as total balloney and demand they back up any such rhetoric with facts: they won’t because they can’t. Call them out as the alarmists and liars and fearmongers they are.

Remind people that what Americans really want is a safer, orderly, and controlled immigration and asylum process to provide the workers and job creators our economy and our aging workforce need to remain globally competative and to live up to our tradition of being a becon of freedom and refuge to the world’s oppressed, and that nothing the GOP is proposing in HR 2 addresses immigration reform in any way. Denounce HR 2 as an economy-killing death pact driven by bad faith, disinformation, and disastrously bad policy. We should frame immigration as an opportunity, not a crisis.

Debunk, attack, and appeal to solutions based on shared values. That’s the essence of how you change a narrative and break a rhetorical frame. The technique is simple and effective, but requires message discipline. And it works. And it’s not just me who says so: read Rachel Bitecofer’s book ‘Hit Em Where it Hurts‘ or Mehdi Hasan’s ‘Win Every Argument‘ if you need reinforcement on what works. Stop cowering when immigration and border comes up; bring it up yourself, step up, point out their lies, and lead with American values and common sense.

8 thoughts on “There is No Border Crisis EXCEPT GOP Governors Kidnapping and Killing Immigrants”

    • What John Government Checks Feed Me Kavanagh is saying is the stock markets are at all time highs, gas is near 3 dollars a gallon, unemployment is at near record lows, crime is near all time lows, so his party needs to run on irrational fear and hate so he can continue taking your tax money and giving it to his out of state billionaire owners.

      He’s a religious hypocrite and mighty creepy.

      Consider donating to RaicesTexasDotOrg in honor of John The Hypocrite Mooch Kavanagh. Raices provides free or low cost legal help to immigrants.

      You know, those people Jesus says we have to welcome and care for or we’re all on the bus to Hell.

      Another option would be to donate to the mental health charity of your choice, because John the Hypocrite and Taxpayer Mooch Kavanagh is clearly sundowning, unaware of his own hypocrisy, and unable to parse the days events in a rational manner, and we need to understand how to help people like him.

      Not him, people like him, he’s useless.

      Geez, just the number of things he could be doing to help Arizona is extensive, but he spends his time here, trolling at a 13 year old level.

  1. Let me preface my comments by saying I’ll be voting for Biden if it’s the only choice I have against Trump, but I don’t believe he is the best choice Democrats could have and his ego of wanting to run against Trump is preventing better candidates from getting into race. I’ll be voting for Dean Phillips in the Arizona primary to send a message that Biden should bow out.

    I’ve been following the border issue for 35 years when I was a labor market analyst ad writer for Arizona’s Dept. of Economic Security. In the late 1980s and all through the 1990s and early 2000s most of the illegal immigration from the south was coming from Mexico by those lured here by jobs in construction and other low-wage occupations. Many only wanted to work here part of the year or send money back to their families. But with the original NAFTA (free trade) agreement with Mexico and Canada, business began to build industry along the border (maquiladoras) to employ Mexicans who wanted to stay in their country but needed work.

    That changed somewhat when the immigration laws were modified in the early 1990s to put the onus on workers, not business, to prove eligibility for work. Then we saw a lot of people, still primarily from Mexico, using fraudulent documents to work in the U.S. after coming into the country illegally.

    Today, we have a much different issue. Immigrants from across the globe are abusing our asylum laws to gain access to our country. While a majority are turning themselves in and waiting for asylum hearings that may take 3 years (and who knows if they’ll show up) we allow people to roam the U.S. And that’s the ones who turn themselves in. There are the got-aways who many number in the hundreds of thousands. And ones who are processed, in many cases we don’t have good relations with those countries and we don’t know if they are friend or foe.

    Fareed Zacharia of CNN has written a number of articles and had a special show on illegal immigrations at the southern border. Go to the Web to find it. He said that 95% of the asylum seeks are coming to the U.S. for economic reasons, not for political hardship or fear or death. Zacharia, an immigrant himself from India, is no xenophobic, white nationalist. He’s a thoughtful political analyst who says the U.S. should go to a similar immigration policy as Canada and European countries, based on merit and need for the country, not a lottery system we currently use.

    As for the “chaos at the border” message being currently pushed by politicians and the media, I would say, ask the mayors at the border (mostly Democrats) who are being overwhelmed with immigrants. In some cases so many that the Border Patrol close the Lukeville crossing that is primarily used for accessing the Rocky Point resort town in Baja. It was because agents were needed at Eagle Pass, Texas, to deal with the hundreds of thousands flowing through there monthly.

    In the last several years the number of illegal immigrants has swelled to 12 million, the same number who came through Ellis Island in 60 years, according to a former Yuma Border Patrol official. And even with Ellis Island, immigration officials who go out and meet the ships and interview passengers before they came to Ellis Island.

    Despite the fact immigration issue has been going on for years and House Republicans blocked two proposals when George W Bush and Barrack Obama were presidents, it’s up to Biden to take measures to deal with the problem. Biden also needs to talk to the American people and explain his position and steps he needs to take to restore some sense of normalcy at the southern border, otherwise those who seek to take advantage of the situation will win the day with voters.

    I believe Biden has already lost Arizona over immigration in 2024, as well as Georgia, which has a large Hispanic population. A majority of Hispanics are against illegal immigration because it puts pressure on wages (keeping them low) for many of the jobs they have. Caesar Chavez was against illegal immigration.

    For too long Biden hasn’t taken this issue seriously and now it will come back to haunt him. Sen. Fetterman and other Democrats are not in agreement with him on this issue.
    Brent Fine,
    Chandler

    • Hey Brent, you said “While a majority are turning themselves in and waiting for asylum hearings that may take 3 years (and who knows if they’ll show up)”

      How many don’t show up, Brent? You said “who knows”, but there are actual numbers that people do actually know.

      This is not a mystery. And you’re clearly on the internet, since you posted on the internet.

      Maybe there’s some way to look up that number? On the internet? 🙂

      Because most of them do attend their hearings, and the number goes up if they have someone representing them.

      If you really care about immigration, you need to look on the other side of the border and understand why people are coming here.

      Most immigrants don’t want to leave their homes and families. Uprooting your entire life is no small thing.

      Most immigrants used to come here, work part of the year, usually in agriculture, then go back home.

      What changed? US immigration policy, our subsidies of agriculture, our drug policy?

      And what in your opinion is “normalcy at the border”?

      Posting what you surely meant to come across as a thoughtful comment comes across as a little sketchy.

      RaicesTexasDotOrg

  2. Let me preface my comments by saying I’ll be voting for Biden if it’s the only choice I have against Trump, but I don’t believe he is the best choice Democrats could have and his ego of wanting to run against Trump is preventing better candidates from getting into race. I’ll be voting for Dean Phillips in the Arizona primary to send a message that Biden should bow out.

    I’ve been following the border issue for 35 years when I was a labor market analyst ad writer for Arizona’s Dept. of Economic Security. In the late 1980s and all through the 1990s and early 2000s most of the illegal immigration from the south was coming from Mexico by those lured here by jobs in construction and other low-wage occupations. Many only wanted to work here part of the year or send money back to their families. But with the original NAFTA (free trade) agreement with Mexico and Canada, business began to build industry along the border (maquiladoras) to employ Mexicans who wanted to stay in their country but needed work.

    That changed somewhat when the immigration laws were modified in the early 1990s to put the onus on workers, not business, to prove eligibility for work. Then we saw a lot of people, still primarily from Mexico, using fraudulent documents to work in the U.S. after coming into the country illegally.

    Today, we have a much different issue. Immigrants from across the globe are abusing our asylum laws to gain access to our country. While a majority are turning themselves in and waiting for asylum hearings that may take 3 years (and who knows if they’ll show up) we allow people to roam the U.S. And that’s the ones who turn themselves in. There are the got-aways who many number in the hundreds of thousands. And ones who are processed, in many cases we don’t have good relations with their countries and we don’t know if they are friend or foe.

    Fareed Zacharia of CNN has written a number of articles and had a special show on illegal immigrations at the southern border. (https://www.cnn.com/audio/podcasts/fareed-zakaria-gps/episodes/a792a8ce-4c30-11ee-a8f2-33ca741f1643)
    He said that 95% of the asylum seeks are coming to the U.S. for economic reasons, not for political hardship or fear or death. Zacharia, an immigrant himself from India, is no xenophobic, white nationalist. He’s a thoughtful political analyst who says the U.S. should go to a similar immigration policy as Canada and European countries, based on merit and need for the country, not a lottery system we currently use.

    As for the “chaos at the border” message being currently pushed by politicians and the media, I would say, ask the mayors at the border (mostly Democrats) who are being overwhelmed with immigrants. In some cases so many that the Border Patrol close the Lukeville crossing that is primarily used for accessing the Rocky Point resort town in Baja. It was because agents were needed at Eagle Pass, Texas, to deal with the hundreds of thousands flowing through there monthly.

    In the last several years the number of illegal immigrants has swelled to 12 million, the same number who came through Ellis Island in 60 years, according to a former Yuma Border Patrol official. And even with Ellis Island, immigration officials who go out and meet the ships and interview passengers before they came to Ellis Island.

    Despite the fact immigration issue has been going on for years and House Republicans blocked two proposals when George W Bush and Barrack Obama were presidents, it’s up to Biden to take measures to deal with the problem. Biden also needs to talk to the American people and explain his position and steps he needs to take to restore some sense of normalcy at the southern border, otherwise those who seek to take advantage of the situation will win the day with voters.

    I fear Biden has already lost Arizona and probably Georgia, which has a large Hispanic population, for the 2024 election. Hispanics, by the way, largely don’t like illegal immigration because in many cases they fear new immigrants may put pressure on their earning a living by lowering wages. Cesar Chavez was an opponent of illegal immigration.

    Brent Fine
    Chandler

  3. Migration is a human right.

    The Christian Bible, and other religions, instruct followers to welcome migrants.

    If you live where the water has dried up and there is no food, or in a war zone or other dangerous place, you have a basic human right to move somewhere safe with water and food.

    If you’re a Capitalist, you welcome more customers and employees, because Capitalism requires perpetual growth (don’t @me for that, I didn’t invent Capitalism).

    If nothing else, the Golden Rule applies.

    Not that anyone in the GOP cares about their own stated religion or the Golden Rule, or the most basic need of Capitalism, that thing they say is so great, or that the Dems will do much in an election year.

    Human suffering, whatever, I guess.

  4. A federal official met with Obredor in Mexico recently. What resulted? I heard a few vague remarks but nothing helpful. What was the result and what is Mexico going to do about the problem? I am aware that not all the immigrants are from Mexico but they are coming through Mexico. And other nationalities are coming to their border, too.
    Our gov should have more backbone She wants to win a second term.
    But she should go after the Texas a-hole. As we should.

  5. Well put. I’m a voter who appreciates straight talk. As I see it, too many times the Democrats do not communicate in ant coherent manner. Immigration is a stellar example of their lack of backbone by pushing back at Republican propaganda. I’m waiting for Democrats at both local and national levels to get on the same page.

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