Friday, March 9, 2012

The Enforcement Façade

The Enforcement Façade

By Joshua Hutchison

For the past year, the Obama administration has been working hard to convince the American people that the President is tough on enforcement, the border is secure, and conservatives are the roadblock keeping America from solving our illegal immigration problems. To a large degree, this campaign has been a success. Obama has touted fewer apprehensions as proof the border is secure and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano never wastes an opportunity to proclaim the Obama administration has deported more illegal immigrants than any other in history. But do these two claims accurately reflect reality? Or is Obama using misdirection to advance his political agenda?

Fortunately, the data the Obama administration references is available.  But unfortunately for the country, it raises a number of questions that reveal the administration has created a façade—one they began rolling out to the public last May.

You may remember the President’s immigration speech last year in El Paso; it was the one where he joked about Republicans soon wanting a moat on the border with alligators in it.  While the moat joke captured that week’s headlines, it was another proclamation in the speech that has served as a central theme in the administration’s “tough enforcement” narrative: That fewer apprehensions are proof of a secure border.

For the past year we have been listening to this administration cite low apprehension numbers as proof “our border is more secure than it has ever been.” But you need not look any further than the President’s El Paso speech to see that this claim is not driven by data. Remember, not only did he cite fewer apprehensions as proof of a secure border; he also cited increaseddrug and gun seizures as proof of a secure border.

It sounds great, but there is a glaring fallacy in that statement.  Did you catch it?  Did anybody?

In his weekly column for the Washington Post published right after the President’s speech, Charles Krauthammer did:

“Obama then boasted that on his watch 31 percent more drugs have been seized, 64 percent more weapons — proof of how he has secured the border. And for more proof: Apprehension of illegal immigrants is down 40 percent. Down? Indeed, says Obama, this means that fewer people are trying to cross the border.

Interesting logic. Seizures of drugs and guns go up — proof of effective border control. Seizures of people go down — yet more proof of effective border control. Up or down, it matters not. Whatever the numbers, Obama vindicates himself.”
If Krauthammer did not clear it up for you, think about it this way: If Obama said the opposite, that the apprehension of illegals was up and the seizures of drugs and guns were down, could he not have made the same claim?  Clearly he could have, which is our first clue that data is not driving this message.  It is also a clue that begs the question: What message does the data drive?

Every year, the DHS issues a report on the results of the previous year’s efforts to combat illegal immigration.  It details the number of apprehensions, deportations and other relevant data.  Relevant data that is curiously, never mentioned by the Obama administration.

According to these reports, since Obama took the oath of office, apprehensions have taken a sharp drop, deportations have gone up, reinstatements have gone way up, expedited removals have gone down, returns have gone way down and the illegal alien population has stayed the same.

Right now, you are probably asking yourself what all that means.  Particularly, how those last four metrics impact the administration’s claims.  You have not heard much about those have you?  There is a reason for this: They turn the pretty picture Obama paints for you upside down.

Obama claims that fewer apprehensions under his watch are proof that “the border is more secure than it has ever been.”  But how can the border be more secure considering reinstatements have gone up over 9% since he took office?

In the context of immigration enforcement, a “reinstatement” is short for “Reinstatement of Final Removal Orders,” which is the primary method of removal for illegal aliens who have already been deported.  In other words, reinstatements are a measure of government waste, because they account for repeat deportations that would not be necessary if the border wassecure and deported illegal aliens were unable to re-enter.

Since Obama took office, reinstatements have increased from 25% under George W. Bush, to 34%.  That means over 1/3 of all deportations each year are repeat deportations.  But if the border is “more secure than it has ever been,” why is this number increasing?  A border that is “more secure” should mean less re-entry and thus, less repeat deportations, should it not?

And what about the illegal alien population?

Since Obama took office, the official annual estimate of the illegal alien population of the United States has remained at 10.8 million. But at the same time, this administration is bragging that it has deported more illegal aliens than any other in history.  How can this be?  In three years, the administration deports over 1.1 million illegal aliens, yet the illegal alien population remains the same?  If the administration’s own numbers are correct, that would mean just as many illegal aliens have entered the country as have been deported.  All while they sell you on the border being “more secure than it has ever been.”

Moreover, according to the DHS, in the last two years of the Bush administration, the illegal alien population declined by 1 million from 11.8 million to 10.8 million.  But despite this decline, and the lack thereof since Bush left office, Obama points to record deportation numbers as proof he is the toughest immigration enforcer in history; as if a lack of correlation between the two means nothing.  Ask yourself, how significant are deportation numbers if they do not result in a lowering of the illegal alien population?

Well, never mind.  It turns out the deportation numbers do not matter much anyway.  By the President’s own admission, they are “deceptive.”

Last September, in a round table discussion with Hispanic reporters who were airing the concerns of the Hispanic community over record deportations, the President downplayed the claim saying:

“The statistics are actually a little deceptive because what we’ve been doing is, with the stronger border enforcement, we’ve been apprehending folks at the borders and sending them back. That is counted as a deportation, even though they may have only been held for a day or 48 hours, sent back — that’s counted as a deportation.” 
It seems record deportations are good until the Hispanic voting bloc takes Obama to task.  It also seems the President admits to cooking the deportation numbers with a separate metric, as what he describes is the definition of a “Return.”

Returns are measured separately from deportations as there is no immigration hearing. This saves the government money, but it also helps illegals. Those caught at the border will waive their right to a hearing so they can be sent back quickly in order to attempt reentry without delay. Often times, returns result in the same illegal alien being apprehended at the border 10 to 15 times per day.

By the administration subtracting from the returns column in order to add to the deportation column, record deportation numbers are easily achieved.  Unfortunately for the President, his administration’s own data supports his admission that there is a deception taking place.  It also reveals a bit more.

Upon Obama taking office in 2009, returns promptly dropped by 29%. His second year in office, they dropped an additional 19%.  In fact, in President Bush’s last term, there was an average of 936,000 returns each year.  During Obama’s first term, that average dropped to 528,000 returns each year.  That is a 44% drop in returns.  It is also an indicator that uncovers the vehicle of the administration’s deception: the economic downturn.

The Obama administration would no doubt argue that the drop in returns is a reflection of the economic downturn. And why would they not? It is largely true and serves as the perfect cover for borrowing return numbers in order to boost deportation numbers. After all, how could anyone distinguish the difference between a 44% drop in returns due to the economic downturn and a 44% drop in returns where 30% was the result of the downturn and 14% was the result of returns being counted as deportations?  There is no measurement for the number of immigrants who were discouraged from entering the country due to a lack of jobs; Moreover, when you think through how an economic downturn causes a drop in returns, you can spot another misrepresentation by the President.

As everyone knows, the economic downturn has caused unemployment in this country to soar.  That has meant fewer jobs for everyone, which translates to less opportunity for those considering entering the country illegally.  That means fewer immigrants will take the risks associated with crossing the border, which leads to fewer returns because of… fewer apprehensions!  But what does the President say about lower apprehension numbers?  That they are the result of increased border security and his administration’s tough enforcement efforts.

To see more evidence of just how ridiculous this assertion is, you need only take another look at his El Paso speech and his comments about the border fence.

If you remember, the President said the border fence was “basically complete” in his El Paso speech. “Everything they’ve asked for, we’ve done” he said en route to asserting Republicans care more about politics than people. “They’ll never be satisfied!”

But at the time he gave this speech, the DHS was reporting 350 miles of pedestrian fencing was complete along a border 1,954 miles long.  Of that 350 miles, 316 miles was single layer fencing (which has proved very ineffective) and 35 miles was multi-layer fencing (which has proved very effective).  So, when Obama characterized the fencing as “basically complete” when in reality, less than 2% of the border was effectively secured by that fencing, who was playing politics?

It was an outright lie that he tempered with the word “basically” to sooth his conscience.  And it was crafted to intentionally mislead you in order to drive home his next mischaracterization: that Republicans would never be satisfied.  And why wouldn’t they be?  Because they only care about politics?  Maybe, it is because they are… racist?

Whether you choose to believe it or not, it is very clear the President is attempting to use misdirection to distract the American people and fuel his base.  Like a magician, he shows us claims of “secure borders” and “record deportations” in one hand, while the hand behind his back serves his true purpose: backdoor amnesty and ultimately, “social justice.”

Policies like the “prosecutorial discretion” one he rolled out last summer tip this hand, but when those of us who see what is going on behind his back attempt to alert those paying no attention, his supporters use the blank ammunition he has provided them to draw their attention back to the hand in front. This is the purpose of the enforcement façade.

It is the most cynical form of politics employed to discredit the enemy and sink hooks into those who do not pay attention in order to win reelection and carry on the “social justice” agenda.  It is a strategy based on dishonesty, not conceived because the President is evil, but because he is ignorant of the principals that govern individual freedom and feels a little dishonesty is fine if he is serving the greater good.

But he is wrong!  The concept of “social justice” is an un-American disgrace and a free man’s worst nightmare. This is why conservatives must tear the façade and him down.



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