ICE Deporting Illegal Migrants to Home Countries — from Guatemala, Before Arriving at U.S. Border

President Donald Trump’s border agencies are building multiple border barriers to deter
Jerry Glaser/U.S. Customs and Border Protection

President Donald Trump’s border agencies are building de facto barriers for illegal immigration, even within nations such as Guatemala, to deter foreign migrants from paying smugglers and cartels to get them to the U.S. border.

For example, U.S. officials have been deployed to Guatemala to block migrants from Honduras, according to a January 16 report from the Associated Press:

Guatemalan police accompanied by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents swept up the majority of a group of some 300 migrants Thursday, loaded them on buses and took them back to the Honduran border, effectively dashing their plans to travel together in a “caravan” with hopes of reaching the United States.

Praying and singing songs, the group of 300 migrants —adults, teens and young children— had set out from a shelter in Entre Ríos under rainy skies before dawn and walked about six hours before stopping in the town of Morales to eat and rest. There they were challenged by police who asked for their entry documents, and nearly all had crossed into Guatemala irregularly and didn’t have such documentation.

The migrants were put on three gray buses and told they had to go back to register properly at a border station under rules governing freedom of travel in the Central American border agreement between Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

These and many other legal policies are creating a deep, multilayered, virtual “border wall” of legal barriers against those seeking to break into the U.S. job market. That legal wall is adding many legal barriers to the physical barrier created by Trump’s new border wall.

For example, border officials are using new diplomatic deals with Central American countries to quickly fly migrants back to Central America so they can seek asylum in the countries which they crossed on their journey to Texas and California. By January 16, “157 Hondurans and Salvadorans have been sent to Guatemala as part of [a] Asylum Cooperation Agreement,” according to Jeff Abbott, a U.S. journalist working in Guatemala.

A January 16 press statement said deported Mexicans are being flown back to towns in Central Mexico, far from the U.S. border:

Thursday’s flight carried 124 Mexican nationals to Guadalajara from Tucson. The government of Mexico will provide additional transportation to the cities of origin.

ICE will continue operating these flights as needed. Several more are scheduled in January and February. This framework will reduce recidivism and border violence by returning Mexican nationals to their cities of origin, where there is a higher likelihood that they will reintegrate back into their communities, rather than fall victim to human smuggling schemes.

U.S. officials are also flying Central American migrants all the way back to their home countries once they lose their asylum claims under new fast-track legal procedures. This tactic makes it difficult for migrants to sneak back across the border.

On January 16, for example, “the United State[s] deported 270 Guatemalans on three ICE air flights from Brownsville, Texas, Mesa, Arizona, and Alexandria, Louisiana,” said a tweet from Abbott.

Border agents are also reducing the percentage of migrants who are allowed to ask for asylum after declaring a “credible fear ” of being sent home, according to the Washington Times:

The Department of Homeland Security fielded a record number of “credible fear” claims from asylum seekers at the border last fiscal year, fueling the migrant surge, but figured out ways to push back and tripled the denial rate by the end of the year.

Approvals are still high, with more than 65% of people who claim a fear of persecution in their home countries getting an initial OK in September, according to statistics seen by The Washington Times. But that’s much less than a year earlier, when more than 90% of claims cleared the credible fear bar.

The multi-layered defenses are helping to persuade migrants that the dollars-and-cents cost of migrating to the border is far greater than the likely payoff from possible jobs in the United States.

U.S. officials also hope to apply the same economic tactic to the growing number of “extra-continentals” from outside the Americas, such as Indians and Africans. They are trying to persuade the Mexican government to accept deported extra-continental migrants into Mexico until their asylum hearings in the United States.

This request would build on the “Migrant Protection Protocols” deal that has allowed the U.S. to send more than 55,000 Central American migrants back to Mexico until their court dates.

Brazilians from South America may be sent to Mexico via the MPP program, Reuters reported January 16:

The deliberations came in response to an increase in Brazilians arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border seeking asylum in the United States, the officials said. The administration of President Donald Trump has also explored the possibility of sending Brazilian asylum seekers to other nations, according to the U.S. official.

Border Patrol caught roughly 17,900 Brazilians at the southwest border in the last fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, 2018. The figure was a sharp increase from 1,500 arrests a year earlier.

But the Brazilians may be sent to Honduras instead because of a recent U.S, deal with Honduras, the Reuters report said

A Honduran diplomat told Reuters earlier in January that Honduras has agreed to receive Brazilians, Guatemalans, Mexicans, Nicaraguans, and Salvadorans beginning in late January or early February.

Agency officials are also taking new steps to deny work permits to migrants who get into the United States, and who must wait months or years for their asylum hearing.  The reform is prompting protests from Democrat state officials who say the denial of work permits to migrants will force American companies to hire Americans:

The multilayer defenses promise to shut off most international migration to the United States by persuading migrants’ families that they will never recover the huge economic investment in sending their young men to the United States.

Migrants’ families are usually not poor, and they usually have enough assets to borrow funds for a young man to try to get a lucrative legal foothold in the United States. The international journey can take $20,000 or $40,000. But families will not pay the smuggling fees if the young men are returned home before they can earn dollars at U.S. jobs.

In Central America, many poor peasants mortgage their small farms and land to pay for the journey. They expect to repay those debts by working long hours in tough jobs, such as fruit picking, dairy, roofing, construction, or slaughterhouses. But their eagerness to work those tough jobs at low pay now allows employers to reduce the wages paid to Americans. In the 1970s, for example, the wages for those jobs were high enough to fund a middle-class life for Americans.

The multi-layered wall strategy seems to be working.

Only one-in-20 migrants are being released into the United States after being caught at the border, the acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, told Breitbart News. “We have all but ended catch and release,” Morgan said. “It is a game-changer.” That is a huge shift from mid-2019, he said. “We were actually releasing half [of the arriving migrants] into the interior of the U.S., most never to be heard of again.”

In December, 40,000 migrants were detained at the border, down from 144,000 in May 2019.

This new defense-in-depth was created by President Donald Trump and his aides, even as they also pushed to build the border wall. “The success that I’ve just outlined is absolutely a direct result of this President’s strategy … and the accompanying policy initiatives developed by this administration,” Morgan said.

The new strategy comes after more than 20 years of passive defense policies from Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

Trump implemented his policies — amid furious objects by establishment groups — because of pressure from the voters who elected him to the White House.

The resulting reduction of illegal migrant labor will likely increase pressure on employers to hire sidelined blue-collar Americans and may further raise wages for blue-collar Americans during 2020.

But numerous university-trained progressives and pro-migration lawyers are filing lawsuits to stop this favorable trend for blue-collar Americans.

However, while Trump has done much to block blue-collar migration, he has done little to shut down the legal inflow of foreign workers into white-collar jobs needed by U.S. college graduates.

The extra supply of labor is preventing a tight labor market for college graduates and so allows employers to suppress salaries for Americans graduates, including much-needed software experts, engineers, and scientists.


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