President Trump has made immigration a cornerstone of his presidency, pushing the limits of both political rhetoric and legality (some would say exceeding each). While the politicization of immigration is nothing new, the extent to which an American president has gone to implement an agenda is new.
Trump has on numerous occasions made inflammatory statements about the "border problem," referencing how immigrants are "flooding" the border (thus the need for an 'impenetrable' border wall). But are immigrants flooding our southern border? If we examine historical data and trends then the answer is a definitive no.
There are two dynamics occurring right now (actually, there are several, but I'm only going to address two in this post).
By Michelle Martin, PhD, MSW
In Trump's June 16, 2015 speech declaring his candidacy for president, Trump used the "consensus effect" (everybody knows this) to defend his assertions about Mexican immigrants an crime:
“I can never apologize for the truth. I don’t mind apologizing for things. But I can’t apologize for the truth. I said tremendous crime is coming across. Everybody knows that’s true. And it’s happening all the time. So, why, when I mention, all of a sudden I’m a racist. I’m not a racist. I don’t have a racist bone in my body.”
And in an interview a few weeks after his candidacy announcement, he blamed the Mexican government for "forcing" their criminals into the United States:
“What can be simpler or more accurately stated? The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc.”
More recently, in a speech on June 19, 2018, Trump stated this about the Central American political-asylum seekers coming through the southern the border:
Dr. Michelle Martin is a social worker, policy specialist and Assistant Professor at California State University, Fullerton in the Department of Social Work, where she teaches social welfare policy, and researches dynamics related to immigrants, political asylum-seekers, refugees and other displaced populations.