Rice University Study: Trump Policies Cut Illegal Immigration, Biden Policies Encourage Inflow

Anna Moneymaker/Josue Decavele/Getty Images
Anna Moneymaker/Josue Decavele/Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump’s policies at the United States-Mexico border helped deter illegal immigration, while President Joe Biden’s policies are encouraging record-setting inflows, a new study suggests.

The study, conducted by Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, compares the size and scale of migrant caravans under Trump versus those that have arrived under the Biden administration.

Trump’s policies, which included the Remain in Mexico program, eliminating the Catch and Release process, and imposing the Title 42 public health authority, served as a deterrent for border crossers and illegal aliens, the study found.

In one particular example, Trump pressured the Mexican government to slow the flow of illegal immigration via Twitter, which ultimately had a deterrent effect:

Trump was also known for the unconventional practice of making policy pronouncements on Twitter, and once tweeted that if Mexico did not stop the caravan movement, 5% or higher tariffs would be imposed on all goods imported from Mexico. In an apparent response to this political pressure, the Mexican government sent military troops and National Guard paramilitary officers to the Guatemalan border to block migrants from entering Mexico. [Emphasis added]

In this way, an unofficial U.S. policy, delivered by “tweet,” resulted in a responsive Mexican immigration enforcement policy. The combination of these two policies stopped or slowed down the migrants and the caravans from that point on. In addition, the Mexican and Guatemalan governments turned the caravans around just as international travel ground to [a] halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Migrant caravans starting after 2020 rarely made it to the U.S. border. Instead, they usually went through only one country (typically from Honduras to Guatemala) or were blocked in Mexico. The combination of immigration policies and COVID-19 travel restrictions negatively impacted the migrants, and to some extent, explained the sharp decrease in migrant movement numbers in 2020. [Emphasis added]

Meanwhile, the study found, Biden’s policies of creating an expansive Catch and Release network that has released almost two million border crossers and illegal aliens into the United States interior since early 2021 has increased illegal immigration.

The study noted:

On the basis of this information, we reached the conclusion that immigration policies that are perceived to be punitive in nature — including the MPP (“Remain-in-Mexico”), ending “Catch and Release,” and other Trump-era policies — affected migrant caravans negatively, or deterred their formation and movement, while perceived permissive immigration policies — including DAPA, DACA, and ending Title 42 — likely affected migrant caravans positively, or spurred their formation and movement. [Emphasis added]

Permissive immigration policies in the U.S. tend to convert migrant perceptions into “pull” factors because of the perception that a particular administration may not be “hard” on immigration, causing more migrants to cross the border illegally and stay in the U.S. [Emphasis added]

The costs of illegal immigration fall overwhelmingly on American taxpayers. In New York City, taxpayers are footing a daily $5 million bill to house, clothe, and feed newly arrived migrants.

Likewise, the latest analysis shows that American taxpayers pay more than $150 billion annually for 15.5 million illegal aliens to reside in the United States. Put another way, illegal aliens and their U.S.-born children are costing each taxpayer nearly $1,200 every year.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at jbinder@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter here


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