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By the Numbers: The Real Trump Immigration and Border Record is One of Failure, Cruelty, and Chaos

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There is No Long Term Strategy, Just a Short Term Political Charade

The Trump administration, led by Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan, is once again engaged in audacious spin and an effort to paper over their failed record by claiming “staggering” success along the border. But the Trump administration’s record is permanently defined by its failures, cruelty, and chaos. 

As a reminder, Trump’s failed policies helped fuel the refugee crisis that resulted in the huge spike of vulnerable families seeking refuge and asylum in America in the first place. The administration cut off aid to desperate Central American countries, exacerbating the violence, food insecurity and human rights violations that cause migrants to give up hope that there’s a future for their families at home. And while the administration’s deterrence-through-cruelty strategy has “reduced apprehension numbers” temporarily, it is worth noting that some 60,000 asylum seekers are living in dangerous and squalid conditions in northern Mexico, and the underlying factors driving the refugee crisis remain unaddressed. 

Here are some additional and more relevant statistics about the Trump immigration record than those issued by Mark Morgan. These statistics reveal that what this administration’s border strategy is failing to reflect American values, uphold the law, and treat those seeking refuge and admission with the dignity they deserve. The overall record of Trump’s immigration strategy is one of cruelty, chaos and failure.

  • 5,400+: the number of children separated from their families at the border, a number that keeps rising as the Trump Administration periodically admits to separating more children than previously known. 
  • 26,000 kids: the number of children the Trump administration was prepared to separate from families, per a DHS IG report.
  • 7: the number of children who have died in CBP detention, after not immediately being treated for symptoms or for being held for extended periods of time.
  • 29: the number of adults who have died in ICE custody during the Trump Administration.
  • 660,880: the number of active DACA recipients as of June 2019, a declining number since Trump’s 2017 attempt to end DACA means that no new applicants can obtain status.
  • 318,160: the approximate total number of TPS holders in the US, who would be in danger of deportation if TPS is ended.
  • 18,000: the ceiling set by the administration for refugee resettlement in 2020, down from a ceiling of 85,000 refugees in FY 2016 alone, and the lowest level in some 50 years. 
  • $3.6 billion: the amount of money Trump is diverting from military projects in order to build his costly, ineffective and yet-to-be-built border wall.
  • $21.6 billion: the total cost of border wall, as estimated by a 2017 internal Department of Homeland Security report, though other estimates are as high as $60 billion.
  • 75%: a record-high percentage of Americans who think immigration is a good thing, according to a 2018 Gallup poll; this number has been steadily rising throughout Trump’s presidency
  • 60%: percentage of Americans who disapprove of Trump’s job performance on immigration; 38% approve.