Trump Now Owns the Refugee Surge He Fueled
Washington, DC – Leading observers are recognizing that the Trump administration’s deterrence-only policies have been an abject failure and that their proposals to slash aid to Central America and close the border are similarly doomed to fail. Meanwhile, new polling and political analysis underscore the diminishing returns and cynical political motivations at the heart of Trump’s chaos-inducing strategy.
According to Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice, “The Trump approach at the border is an epic failure. In fact, through their deterrence and enforcement only approach, the administration’s strategy helped fuel the increase of refugees coming to our border seeking safety. Trump and his team dismantled in-country refugee processing in Central America, refuses to work with the UNHCR on a regional protection and resettlement strategy, and at the border focuses on stunts rather than solutions. At a time when we need to be bringing orderly processes to this growing refugee population, Trump and his team are creating and exploiting chaos. This humanitarian crisis needs an integrated regional, border and asylum strategy, not a President looking to exacerbate the crisis to advance his tough-guy brand before 2020.”
Below are some key pieces underscoring why the deterrence-only strategy has failed and is doomed to fail and how the Trump chaos strategy is cynical political gamesmanship:
The Atlantic: “The Worse Things Are, the Better They Are for Trump”
David Graham: “it’s more politically useful for Trump to be in a lengthy fight about building a border wall than it is to have actually built it. If and when the wall is built, it will become clear that it isn’t a panacea for immigration, but in the meantime, it’s a useful political wedge. The more migrants are coming toward the United States, the more Trump can warn of an “invasion” and inflame nativist fears that he thinks will help him win reelection. Trump isn’t really interested in solving immigration. A permanent crisis is more useful to him.”
The Washington Post, “U.S. Officials Said Aid to El Salvador Helped Slow Migration. Now Trump is Canceling It.”
Kevin Sieff: “Until last week, U.S. officials held up El Salvador as proof that foreign aid could help curb migration. The partnership between the two countries drew praise from diplomats, members of Congress and even America’s top border enforcement official. Then President Trump announced that he was withdrawing economic assistance to the Central American country and its neighbors Guatemala and Honduras. ‘They haven’t done a thing for us,’ the president said Friday.
The claim baffled development officials and Salvadorans, who saw the country’s cooperation with the United States on security, civil society and economic development as a success story, inasmuch as it achieved the Trump administration’s goal of slowing the flow of migrants heading north to the United States.”
Eli Watkins, Pamela Brown and Jeremy Diamond: “Trump has been repeatedly warned by officials that shutting down the US-Mexico border could result in billions of dollars in economic losses, destabilize border towns and cities, and do little to stem the flow of migrants across the southern border, multiple current and former administration officials told CNN … The results, one administration official warned, could be ‘catastrophic.’ ‘We could be in a whole world of hurt,’ another White House official told CNN.”
The New York Times editorial, “Trump’s Border ‘Solutions’ Will Make Things Worse.”
Nonsensically, Mr. Trump has insisted that the real problem is Mexico, which he suggested is doing “nothing” to help stop the tide of migrants. That’s despite the efforts by Mexican leaders to intercept migrant groups, providing temporary visas to asylum seekers and allowing some making the trek north to remain in Mexico while they await court hearings in the United States.
As with the president’s wall, which would do little to discourage unauthorized migration, let alone illegal drug trafficking, no one with a working knowledge of immigration policy believes that closing the border is a solution to the recent surge. The economic disruption for border communities and the impact on trade would be disastrous. Plus, closing the border won’t stop migrants from stepping onto United States soil and claiming asylum, as many of the groups surrendering to border agents in recent months have done in between ports of entry.
….This moment calls for proactive measures — not incendiary policies that are destined to backfire.
A large majority of voters would prefer that congressional Republicans focus on issues other than President Trump’s border wall, according to a new poll conducted amid Trump’s threats to close the U.S.-Mexico border. In a Hill-HarrisX survey conducted over the weekend, 69 percent of registered voters said they want Republicans on Capitol Hill to move on from the wall fight, while 31 percent said the GOP should keep pushing for more funding. Even among Republican respondents, a sizeable minority of 41 percent of GOP respondents support Republicans moving on from the wall fight.