Donald Trump didn’t need the wall

“President Donald Trump has spent three years molding America’s immigration system to primarily be concerned with keeping people out.

He built, layer by layer, impediments in Central America, at the border, in detention centers, and in the immigration courts that have made obtaining asylum nearly impossible.

He swept aside former President Barack Obama’s immigration enforcement priorities in favor of vastly expanding immigration detention and prosecuting every immigrant who crosses the border without authorization. The result is a punitive system that treats immigrants as criminals and places them in prolonged detention even if they don’t pose any danger to the public.

And he waged a quiet and effective campaign to reduce legal immigration — including expanding his travel ban to block immigration from Nigeria, the largest country in Africa. Under Trump, the legal immigration system increasingly rewards skills and wealth over family ties to the US, while shutting out a growing number of people from low-income countries.

When Trump lays out the start of his reelection-year argument in the State of the Union address on Tuesday night, his guests will include a senior Border Patrol official and the brother of a man who was killed by an unauthorized immigrant. His immigration record is likely to be one of his top talking points.

It’s true that Trump has run into some roadblocks: He’s behind schedule on construction of the southern border wall, a key messaging tool for his base. He hasn’t been able to appoint his preferred candidates to lead the immigration agencies. His attempts to pass immigration-related legislation in Congress have failed. And his policies have faced so much opposition in the courts that his administration has appeared to pursue a strategy of rapidly churning out new policies and hoping that at least some of them survive judicial review.

But while he might not have succeeded at building an actual wall to keep immigrants out, his policies have achieved the same end.”

The Wall Isn’t Working

“about 130 feet of newly constructed border wall “fell on the Mexico side of the border, landing on several trees.” Evidently, the sections had not yet been set in a concrete foundation.”

“other sections of the border wall have huge holes, by design, to prevent flash floods from damaging it. Sources familiar with the wall designs tell the Post that the structure will act like a giant sewer gate during those periodic downpours, allowing water to pass through but causing rocks, trees, and other debris carried by the water to slam into it. To avoid potential damage, there 30-foot floodgates will be built into the wall, and the floodgates will be left open for months at a time during the rainy season.

John Ladd, a cattle rancher who has one such floodgate on his property—built into an older section of border wall constructed in 2008—tells the Post that he’s seen smugglers drive pick-up trucks through the openings.”

“Smugglers have already been spotted cutting holes in new sections of the wall, and there’s a long history of people gaining access to the United States by tunneling or catapulting their way in. More than 200 such tunnels discovered since 1990, and another one was found just this week near San Diego, California.”

“Most illegal immigrants to the United States don’t hop the border; they land at airports and then overstay their visas.”

E-Verify: Making Life Harder for Workers and Small Businesses, With Enthusiastic MAGA Support

“”there are non-trivial set-up, training, and compliance costs to using the system. These costs are particularly cumbersome for small firms, which a 2011 analysis suggested would spend $2.6 billion on compliance-related costs if forced to utilize E-Verify.”

The law, which is currently imposed on some or all workers in 22 states, is thus widely flouted, and smaller firms are more likely to evade it.”

“The economists found reasons to believe that E-Verify produces “significant declines in Hispanic worker employment.” But they saw “no evidence that native-born workers benefit from E-Verify mandates,” and in fact found that those mandates “reduce employment among some lower-skilled groups of native-born workers.” Specifically, “the passage of any E-Verify mandate reduces employment among natives with a high school degree or less education by 2.7 percent,” an effect “entirely driven by reduced employment among low-skilled natives who are 16 to 40 years old.””

“the authors did not find evidence that E-Verify lowers the actual “potentially undocumented population” in areas where the system is enforced. The authors suggest that they’re instead getting by with “increases in supplementary family income sources”—i.e., being helped by others in their households.”

“when something goes wrong with the system, nearly half of the problem cases can take up to eight days to resolve, creating uncertainty and paralysis for both hired and hirer—and giving employers an incentive just to cut out potential workers who might have eventually made it through the system.

How often does E-Verify mistakenly mark people as legally unable to work when they should have been approved? About 0.15 percent of the time, which sounds impressive, but if it were applied to every American worker via federal mandate it would leave more than 187,000 people a year barred from work for no reason at all.

The system can be gamed with borrowed or stolen identify documents, and the low compliance with state mandates does not hold out promise of success for any federal mandate that might come along.”

Trump says most asylum seekers don’t show up for their court hearings. A new study says 99% do.

“About 99 percent of asylum seekers who were not detained or who were previously released from immigration custody showed up for their hearings over the last year, according to new data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, a think tank that tracks data in the immigration courts.

Studies from previous years have also disproven the idea that most migrants will choose to live in the US without authorization rather than see their immigration cases through. But it’s nevertheless a central idea in Trump’s immigration policies, including those that aim to keep migrants in Mexico rather than letting them walk free in the US.”

“Data from the DOJ suggests that the rate at which migrants overall show up for their immigration court proceedings is lower than the rate TRAC cites. In 2018, the most recent year for which data is available, about 75 percent of migrants showed up for their court hearings in 2018 — similar to rates over the previous five years. The DOJ has also reported that the number of migrants and asylum seekers who fail to show up for their hearings is on the rise.”

“There are comparatively low-cost alternatives to keeping immigrants in detention or sending them abroad, including the now-defunct Obama-era Family Case Management Program. Under that program, which Trump ended in June 2017, families were released and assigned to social workers who aided them in finding attorneys and accommodation and ensured that they showed up for their court hearings.

The program was small in scale, with no more than 1,600 people enrolled at any one time, but appeared to be successful in ensuring that 99 percent of participants showed up for their court appearances and ICE check-ins.”

Can populist economics coexist with pro-immigrant policies?

““When we decide how much to redistribute, how progressive the tax should be, the thinking is: I’m putting some weight on everyone in the economy, measuring how much I value $1 given to Dylan, $1 given to Stefanie,” Stantcheva told me, laying out the model. “The weight we put mentally depends on many characteristics of those people: how poor they are, how hard they work, etc.”

Voters often put a lower weight on immigrants’ welfare, which means the more immigrants they think are getting money from the government, the less likely they are to support redistribution overall. But the picture is more complicated than that. Alesina and Stantcheva’s model also assumes that voters put a low weight on “freeloaders”: people they perceive to be cheating the welfare system, as opposed to the “deserving poor,” who are getting benefits they ought to be receiving. If voters think that a higher share of immigrants than natives are freeloaders, that will also reduce support for redistribution.

“Misperceptions and biases against immigrants can interact and reinforce each other,” Alesina and Stantcheva write. “If the bias against immigrants is already high … even a small over-estimation of the share of free-loaders among immigrants can tilt preferences towards less redistribution. Similarly, if the bias against immigrants is high (or if the perceived share of free-loaders is high), even a small overestimation of the share of immigrants can reduce support for redistribution.”

And what their survey work with Armando Miano finds is that these kinds of misperceptions are incredibly common, and especially common among people disposed negatively toward immigration.”

Trump’s Visa Wall Against Foreign Students Is Making Other Countries Great Again

“A company that spurned talent it badly needed couldn’t thrive. The same is true for a country.

But that isn’t stopping the Trump administration from blithely driving foreign students into the open arms of other countries with its ill-advised immigration policies.”

The abandoned asylum seekers on the US-Mexico border

“The primary driver of this crisis is that President Donald Trump’s policies are sending thousands of migrants back to Mexico, where there isn’t enough safe, temporary housing in which they can stay.
In 2018, US Customs and Border Protection officials started limiting the number of asylum seekers it processes at ports of entry each day. Those waiting had to do so in Mexico, where migrant shelters are at capacity. Many have been forced to sleep on the streets. The amount of names on lists of those waiting to be processed exceeded 26,000 in August.

Once they are processed, though, they may quickly be returned to Mexico under the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, officially known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). More than 56,000 migrants have been sent back to await decisions on their US asylum applications.”

One surprisingly simple reason evangelicals love Trump

“Burge’s analysis, published Thursday, finds that on issues ranging from border security to immigration detention, white evangelicals — a group that includes dozens of individual denominations, from the Southern Baptist Convention to the Pentecostal movement — are substantially more conservative than the average American and even the next most conservative religious group.”

“on the whole, the president’s views on immigration have drawn support from evangelicals, a key voting bloc that helped carry him to victory in battleground states in 2016. It’s a strategy that his campaign is hoping to replicate in 2020 and, so far, it appears to be working: Trump has a 75 percent approval rating among white evangelicals, compared to 42 percent among all Americans.”