So what specifically makes this current southern border crisis different than the ones faced by President George W. Bush or Barack Obama? It is not so much the raw number of aliens crossing illegally, but the “make up of the flow” that is different. More migrants hail from Central America, more are coming in family units, and there are more unaccompanied minors. This shift in composition of illegal immigrant groups is key to understanding how our current asylum laws combined with various other immigration loopholes and defects allow them to specifically game the system in a way that unaccompanied adult Mexican nationals, who previously comprised the majority of illegal immigrants, cannot. In other words, once these folks (Central American migrants, family units and minors) arrive and set foot on U.S. soil, they are next to impossible to remove. This is why the Trump administration has gone to great lengths to broker a deal with Mexico to serve as a staging area for Central American migrants until their asylum claims are processed.
But until Congress has the will to change the asylum laws and to fix the other legal loopholes and defects, it would be foolish not to better secure the southern border in the meantime.