Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump launched himself into the political sphere on the back of his immigration policy proposals, primarily building a wall that Mexico will pay for that is so big and beautiful it will make your head spin.
It would seem that those across our southern border have been paying attention to Trump’s rise and rhetoric as well, and acting accordingly. Reuters reports that there has been a massive “spike in the numbers of migrants trying to enter the country, including children traveling without guardians.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data shows 150,304 migrants were detained trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border between October and February, up 24 percent from the same period last year.
Similar data for “unaccompanied” child migrants – those traveling without a guardian – is not yet available, but between October and January, 20,455 kids were apprehended on the southwest border, up over 100 percent from a year ago.
Migrants and “people smugglers” have pointed to Trump’s immigration rhetoric for the recent surge. Those interviewed have said that if Mr. Trump eventually posts up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, southern migrants will be “screwed.”
“If Trump wins, we’re all screwed and all Latinos are screwed. You watch the news … There’s a lot of fear among Latinos.” said Isaias Franco, a once-deported illegal from El Salvador.
Blanca Rivers manages the Ciudad Juarez migrant shelter and says that she has noticed the recent uptick in migrants; she blamed Trump’s “inflammatory rhetoric” for such a spike. “They think they need to take advantage while they can,” said Rivers.
A spokeswoman for Trump, Hope Hicks, claimed the surge of migrants trying to enter the United States via our southern border as a victory: “It seems they agree Mr. Trump will be tough, build the wall and stop illegal immigration,” she stated.
A couple of worst-case type scenarios: Trump, who has reportedly “caused” this surge of immigrants, doesn’t win the presidency and we’re left with Hillary Clinton and porous borders, or The Donald does win the White House but does not follow-through on his tough immigration talk, as the unreleased New York Times’ off-the record interview with the real estate mogul supposedly suggests.
There’s normally a surge in illegal immigrants when the weather begins to warm up, but for an increase in traffic to occur between October and January tells us that Trump’s message has been heard by our southern neighbors, and he is clearly to blame for this increase.
Even if Trump gets the job, and even if he does tackle immigration, it will be at least January before he can start and by then hundreds of thousands more immigrants will have come here.
The question is will he actually fulfill the campaign promise that’s getting him so many votes. Let’s take a look at a snippet of the NYT’s piece, written by Margaret Sullivan, which casts some doubt on his sincerity.
A reader, Ken Fitzpatrick, read about what has been called a secret recording of Donald Trump’s meeting in January with the Times editorial board. On that recording, an article by Buzzfeed’s editor in chief Ben Smith suggests, Mr. Trump says that his extreme position on deporting immigrants is not anything he would necessarily carry out in real, postelection life, but rather might be a starting point for negotiation.
Mr. Fitzpatrick writes:
Can you please elucidate why the NYT is conducting any part of an interview with a Presidential candidate off the record?
Obviously if you have informed someone that part of the interview is off the record, going back on that would be unethical. But why, oh why, would you ever agree to that in the first place? You’re not interviewing someone whose cat was rescued from a tree. These are candidates for PRESIDENT. You’ve created a situation where a candidate may have told NYT editors something that is illuminating and worth reporting on, but they are restrained from doing so.
I asked the editorial page editor, Andrew Rosenthal, to address the question. He told me that the editorial board’s meetings with presidential candidates are often done on an off-the-record basis, at the candidates’ request. These meetings with candidates are not for the purpose of writing news articles, he emphasized, but are intended as informational sessions for the board so that board members can make observations, challenge the candidate on his or her positions, and eventually consider an endorsement.
This suggests that Trump is already hedging his bets before he’s even secured the nomination. One has to wonder what else he’s promised that will only be a starting point. The Trumpbots are eating this up like he was the second coming of Christ and already he’s back-peddling.