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Statistics Show Deportation Memo’s Illegal Immigration Surge Is A Hoax

Today, Donald Trump and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly released a memo directing the spending of billions of dollars to construct new detention camps and to hire ten thousand new agents with Customs and Border Patrol to work as a deportation squad. Neither Trump nor Kelly has explained where they are going to get the money to pay for this massive anti-immigrant program. Their justification, however, was clear. “The surge of illegal immigration at the southern border has overwhelmed federal agencies and resources and has created a significant national security vulnerability to the United States,” they wrote.

In order to document their claim of a “surge of illegal immigration”, Trump and Kelly compared the number of apprehensions at the Mexican border in October-November 2015 and October-November 2016. This odd selection of data is an indication that data has been ideologically selected in order to deceive. A broader examination of the data on border apprehensions available from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol demonstrates that this indication is accurate.

It is true that there was a small uptick in apprehensions of people crossing the southern border of the United States without permission between fiscal year 2015 and fiscal year 2016. What today’s Homeland Security memo chose not to reveal is that this uptick is minuscule in comparison to the decrease in apprehensions at the southern border since the beginning of this century (just 6 percent of the previous decrease).

As the chart below shows, the supposed “surge” in illegal immigration is actually a minor fluctuation. The surge is a hoax.

Kelly and Trump chose not to reveal that there were more border apprehensions in 2014 than there were last year. They chose not to acknowledge the overall decrease in unauthorized border crossings because the deportation memo they issued today was a piece of ideological propaganda reflecting their extremist nationalist agenda, not the product of serious policy analysis.

Customs and Border Patrol statistics illegal immigration chart

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