POLIZETTE — In defending his failed, unilateral attempt to grant de facto amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, struck down Thursday by the Supreme Court, President Obama bragged that he has largely sealed America’s leaky border with Mexico — even as immigration experts are sounding warning cries about a fresh wave of crossings.
Speaking after the Supreme Court decision upholding the block on his executive amnesty — at least for the time being — Obama lamented that Congress has never passed a law providing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and he claimed that more border patrol agents and better technology has stemmed the flow of illegal immigrants from Mexico.
“That has helped cut illegal border crossings to their lowest levels since the 1970s,” he said. “It should have paved the way for comprehensive immigration reform.”
Critics of the president’s immigration polices say the claim is both dubious and irrelevant. How can Obama know how many people come to the country illegally?
“We don’t really know, because all we know is how many get caught,” said Jessica Vaughan, a former foreign service officer who now serves as director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies. “We don’t even know if apprehensions are a reliable measure of how many try to come.”
It is that metric — border apprehensions — on which Obama likely bases his claim. It is true that those have declined sharply during his presidency. According to Customs and Border Protection statistics, agents apprehended 337,117 people in fiscal year 2015, a 39 percent decrease from the 556,041 caught in fiscal year 2009. That continues a trend that predates Obama. In fiscal year 2000, border patrol officers nabbed almost 1.7 million people.