The crisis at the southern border continues while pundits and politicians point fingers at each other, casting blame for the plight of migrants in detention centers. Even after Congress approved emergency funding for immigration authorities, the debate over the US policy toward migrants persists. One critical factor is the deaths of migrants in the custody of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The Democrats have seized on these deaths and shaped them into an emotionally charged political weapon against the Trump administration, which it blames for the fate of these individuals. But are the criticisms fair? If you have been following politics, you already know that the Democrats and their allies in the establishment media rarely offer rebukes that even approach the realm of fairness. This situation is no different.
Migrant Deaths Decrease Under Trump
Despite their best efforts, officials working with CBP and ICE have been unable to prevent fatalities that occur under their care. Many of the deceased became ill during their arduous trek to the southern border from their home countries, and they arrive already suffering from various ailments. But US authorities provide as much medical care as possible to prevent the illnesses from worsening.
What the media will not tell you is that migrant deaths occurred under the Obama administration, and at a higher rate than under President Trump. According to a recent report, fatalities have decreased under the current administration by 20% from the Obama era. Over the first two years of Trump’s presidency, 581 migrants passed away. This represents an average of 291 per year. Under the Obama administration, an average of 372 migrants died annually.
One would think this decrease would dissuade progressives from using the death toll to attack the president. Unfortunately, Trump Derangement Syndrome is powerful. Thus, the hard left goes into a pearl-clutching frenzy.
Doomed presidential candidate Beto O’ Rourke tweeted: “Trump is responsible for these deaths.” Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) went full Spartacus on his Twitter feed, writing: “These are the consequences of Donald Trump’s inhumane and immoral immigration policy.”
Oddly enough, neither of these individuals expressed similar sentiments about migrant deaths under President Obama. If one didn’t know better, one might think these are nothing more than cynical attacks by Democratic presidential hopefuls.
Will There Ever Be a Solution?
That Congress approved more than $4 billion in emergency funding was a step in the right direction, but without legislative action on immigration policy, it is likely just a Band-Aid. President Trump has repeatedly called on legislators to craft and implement a viable solution to the problem and improvements to current laws. Even after he threatened major ICE raids nationwide, the Democrats refused to pursue any action that might provide results.
As is their tendency, Democrats allow the problem to fester because of its efficacy as a political cudgel, and their hope that ensuring a lax immigration policy will allow more migrants to enter the country legally and illegally. It seems this is the way they intend to grow their voting base — by offering citizenship. Thus, it makes no political sense for them to sign on to viable solutions.
Of course, this does not apply to all Democratic lawmakers: Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema recently joined a bipartisan faction of lawmakers to propose a program to expedite the deportation process for migrants whose asylum claims have been deemed invalid. Dubbed “Operation Safe Return,” the program would provide that authorities deport within 15 days migrants whose claims are not accepted.
Likely other Democrats in Congress genuinely wish to solve the problem, but it is unknown whether or not they will spend political capital to make something happen. Either way, as the American public grows weary of the crisis and the 2020 election approaches, lawmakers will likely be forced to make a decision soon.