This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Friday, December 22, 2017

Undocumented Migration into the US is NOT Going Up

You will recall that two of the top ten migration stories of 2017 as put together by the Migration Policy Institute related to the Trump administration's attempts to limit immigration (both legal--story #1; and undocumented--story #4). The latest attempt to scare people from trying to come to the U.S. is reported by the NYTimes and outlines a new policy being considered by the Trump administration to separate family members when they are arrested upon arrival. 
Under current policy, families are kept intact while awaiting a decision on whether they will be deported; they are either held in special family detention centers or released with a court date. The policy under discussion would send parents to adult detention facilities, while their children would be placed in shelters designed for juveniles or with a “sponsor,” who could be a relative in the United States, though the administration may also tighten rules on sponsors.
It seems that the motivation for doing this is the idea that, as the NYTimes says, "The debate comes as the administration faces an influx of people crossing the southern United States border illegally." Really? Well, that is what a recent report posted on the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website says:
CBP has seen an uptick in individuals month-to-month apprehended while trying to enter the country illegally in between the established ports of entry, and an increase in those presenting themselves for entry, without proper documentation, along our Southwest border. The majority of these individuals are single adults, while the largest percentage increases come from family units and unaccompanied children who increased 45 percent and 26 percent respectively compared with the previous month.
But if you look at the graph on that page (see below) you come away with a very different impression. What you actually see is that October and November of this year had fewer arrests than either of the previous two years. Furthermore, the past several years have seen consistently fewer than half a million border apprehensions compared to 1.6 million in 2000, and 1.2 million in 2005. Indeed, 2009 was the most recent year in which there were as many as 500,000 apprehensions of undocumented immigrants. 



So, the story is really not that we are facing some new "influx" of immigrants. That is just an excuse for them to do what they want to do. Sad!

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