Well, here’s a clever whodunit from the Paper of Record. Whatever might be the cause of a sudden drop in border crossings? What could it possibly be?
Here’s the NYT headline:
And here’s the lead:
In the sleeping quarters, green cots that were once occupied by hundreds of parents and children on a single night were stacked against the wall. For dinner on Tuesday, just two tables were set for the handful of families staying at the large shelter near the California border that takes in migrant families arriving from Mexico.
At its peak, the facility run by Jewish Family Service of San Diego held more than 300 migrants dropped off by United States immigration authorities. Some days this spring were so busy that new arrivals had to be sent to overflow sites.
Now, the shelter is almost eerily empty. The number of people arriving there has plunged in recent weeks amid a precipitous decline in arrivals along the southern border, where the Department of Homeland Security said that apprehensions dropped 28 percent in June.
Customs and Border Protection authorities encountered 104,344 people crossing from Mexico last month, compared with 144,278 in May, which had marked a 13-year monthly high. At the nonprofit shelter here in San Diego, the effects have been dramatic. On Friday of last week, not a single migrant arrived at the facility, the first time this had occurred since it opened in October.
So … what’s happening? For my money, it’s either one of two answers. The betting fave has to be Beto O’Rourke in the parlor with the “white supremacy” mallet. If not that, maybe Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ tantrum at Border Patrol facility scared them off.
To get the real answer, readers need to scroll down eight more paragraphs before the big reveal:
“The United States policy to return people to Mexico and the pressure on Mexico to stop the migration are having a big impact,” said Daniel Bribiescas, an immigration lawyer in Tijuana.
In other words, Donald Trump’s get-tough policies have had their desired impact. No wonder the Gray Lady waited until the twelfth paragraph to mention it. In fact, eighteen thousands asylum seekers were sent back into Mexico last month, which might have sent a clear message to others not to bother with the trip for just economic reasons. At the moment, they won’t even have court dates until October to resolve asylum applications, and historically less than ten percent of those will qualify anyway.
Along with the tariff threat, Trump also demanded that Mexico adopt the “safe third country” protocol while securing its own southern border. After brief but tense negotiations, Mexico avoided that demand, but only if it could show that they could end the wholesale deluge of migrants flocking to the southern border. And guess what? Readers have to scroll down considerably further to learn that incentives work:
Mexico’s own heightened border security is also having an effect. To make good on a deal struck with President Trump last month to avert trade tariffs, more than 20,000 Mexican security forces, including members Mexico’s newly-formed National Guard, have been deployed throughout Mexico’s southern and northern border states.
At well-traveled but typically unguarded crossing points, the Mexican authorities have been intercepting buses traveling along major migrant corridors. In Tijuana, Mexican officers have been stopping and arresting migrants who do not have papers to prove that they can legally remain in the country.
For a whodunit story, the Times’ report is remarkable subtle. They only mention the perpetrator once (in the above excerpt), although there is one other mention of “the Trump administration.” Why, it’s akin to the end of Murder on the Orient Express, except if no one did it.
How difficult is it to admit that Trump got this one right? Or at least to report the facts absent a narrative to distract from it?