Today the Washington Post reports that Democrats are struggling with a political dilemma over immigration. On the one hand, they are eager to deny the Trump administration’s claims that there is a crisis at the border. On the other hand, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that there is, in fact, a crisis at the border.
For Democrats eager to draw a sharp contrast with Trump ahead of the 2020 presidential election cycle, the growing number of migrants being apprehended threatens to puncture a reliable talking point and force them into a fraught choice: sound heightened alarms and risk affirming Trump’s narrative of a border “crisis,” or play down the rising numbers and risk appearing indifferent or negligent…
In their fight, Democrats have pressed administration officials to acknowledge there is no emergency. During a Senate oversight hearing this month, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) asserted that border crossings “are still at a historic low compared to other times in our nation’s history.”
“No, Senator, they’re not,” CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan responded. “We’re on pace for over 700,000 crossings this year — that’s closer to historic highs than historic lows.”
After Blumenthal suggested the numbers were a fluke, McAleenan said: “We have to confront what’s happened in these five months . . . This is new, different and potentially worsening.”…
“I’m concerned about the lack of factual grounding in our political debate,” said one senior U.S. official whose career has spanned multiple administrations. Democrats are “starting to not even believe data created by professionals,” the official added, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal operations.
The Party of Science™ seems to be struggling with math. Maybe they missed the recent report in the Washington Post which described how smugglers have come up with a new system to bus people from Central America to the border in just a few days. U.S. officials call it the “conveyor belt.” They may want to look into it.
But even as Democrats are ignoring or downplaying what is happening, the Border Patrol is still dealing with thousands of people arriving each week. Yesterday the Los Angeles Times reported hundreds of migrants were released in the past two days because detention centers are full:
The Border Patrol released 250 migrants here on Tuesday and Wednesday and expects to free hundreds more in coming days because there is no room to hold them.
Normally, the agency would transfer the migrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be “processed” and in many cases placed in detention facilities. But officials said Wednesday that a recent influx of Central American families has led to a severe shortage of space.
Last week Greyhound Lines asked authorities to stop dropping immigrants off inside their Phoenix, AZ terminal because the station was too crowded:
ICE for years has dropped off migrants at Greyhound stations, largely in Phoenix, after releasing them pending court hearings to decide whether they can stay in the country. From the stations, they travel to their intended destination in the United States.
Greyhound spokeswoman Crystal Booker said the Dallas-based company is experiencing an “unprecedented increase of individuals” at certain bus terminals and that travelers need tickets to get in. She said the policy applies to anyone who lacks a ticket.
“Our priority is to safely and efficiently get customers to their destinations,” Booker said in a statement.
It would have been great for Democrats if the number of border crossings had remained at historic lows so they wouldn’t have to think about updating their talking points. But reality isn’t conforming to their pre-conceived notions. If the seasonal rise in migrants flowing to the border follows the pattern seen in the last 5 years, then we are going to have a big surge this summer that is going to be impossible to ignore.
Here’s the exchange between Blumenthal and McAleenan.