I Understand Why The Right Is Pretending There's A Border Crisis-- But Why The Mainstream Media?

The Washington Post is weird. The Republican Party and right-wing media across the board have mounted a non-stop, hysterical effort to persuade voters that Biden has created a horrible catastrophe at the border. The Post, among others, have bough right into the narrative. But the narrative is false. How do I know it's false? From the Washington Post. I'll get to that in a moment but I want to give you a couple examples of stupidity they shouldn't have published. This one by Sean Sullivan and Seung Min Kim was about THE SURGE, a term the NRCC has been pushing out in their propaganda. "The Biden administration is searching for new ways to stem the surge of migrants at the southern border,"they began, "dispatching officials to Mexico and Guatemala to seek their governments’ help, sending sterner warnings to would-be migrants not to come, and devising alternative pathways to apply for legal entry without showing up in person. The strategies, which administration officials outlined Monday, reflect the growing pressure on President Biden and his advisers to slow the increase in illegal crossings that has accelerated since he took office. Biden is navigating sometimes competing demands: pleas from border lawmakers to more aggressively dissuade would-be migrants, and exhortations from human rights advocates to treat them humanely."

This isn't just being spread by Republicans-- even if they are working on it 24/7. Democraps from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- like Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ). On Monday, the Blue Dog Cuellar "released photographs of a temporary border tent in Donna, Texas, where children were placed in crowded areas divided by clear partitions, some huddled under foil blankets on modest bedding. The photos echoed criticism faced by former president Donald Trump for his handling of children at the border, though administration officials said the current conditions are far more humane. Cuellar acknowledges that the message "'has been changed' "with more emphasis on declaring that the border is not open, [but insists that] 'they’ve got to do more to overcome the messages you hear in Central America' from smugglers emphasizing purportedly lax enforcement. The congressman urged the Biden team to promote images of people being turned away at the border."

The Post quoted Rob Portland (R-OH) claiming that when he went down to the border last week he saw "a situation that was spiraling out of control." The Post's writers added that "the border surge threatens to become an ever-greater logistical and political crisis. Biden’s team has often seemed on the defensive regarding the border, quickly relaxing Trump’s hard-line policies, but struggling to take control of the influx after border arrests and detentions went up to some of the highest levels in a decade at the end of the Trump presidency. Biden is likely to face an array of questions on the border at his first formal news conference on Thursday... Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said he and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) will travel to the border with more than a dozen other GOP senators later this week. Cruz sent Biden a letter Monday criticizing the administration for not allowing reporters to join him during his planned border travels. 'I just think the more people from up here go to the border see things for themselves, the better it is, because I think we’re kind of locked into competing parallel universes when it comes to what’s happening,' Cornyn said. Cornyn teamed up with Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to send their own letter to Biden, urging him to 'use your full authorities to effectively respond to and successfully manage the ongoing crisis.'"

"Ongoing crisis." Sounds dreadful-- and it's meant to, meant to by the GOP, meant to by the Republican wing of the Democratic Party and meant to by the media-- the right-wing media for ideological reasons, the mainstream media for clicks. Yesterday, for example, the Wall Street Journal carried a piece by Siobhan Hughes, GOP Hopefuls Embrace Tough Border Talk. What a surprise! "Republican hopefuls around the country," she reported, "are emphasizing immigration in their initial campaign pitches for 2022 statewide GOP primaries, concluding that voters still loyal to former President Donald Trump's agenda will embrace tough-on-borders candidates. With Trump’s chief immigration adviser, Stephen Miller, on hand, Rep. Mo Brooks on Monday formally announced his bid for Alabama’s open Senate seat in 2022 by pitching himself as the Republican most committed to the former president’s ideals-- including his tough immigration policies. 'I have the number one border-security record in the United States Congress for the last decade,' Brooks said in an interview. 'Democrats are so badly mishandling border security, it just enhances my prospects of prevailing in the election.' Imagine that!

In Ohio, former state treasurer Josh Mandel, who on Twitter has called for completing Mr. Trump’s border wall, has said that he plans to run for the seat being vacated by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). In Arizona, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), who is pushing legislation to allow migrant children to be detained with their parents beyond the 20 days permitted under a longstanding court settlement, said he will decide by the end of the month whether to run for the Senate.
“We go through some periods where we have these surges, but right now is probably the most dramatic that I’ve seen at the border in my lifetime,” Mr. Biggs said in an interview. “This is an issue that is going to be highly influential in the election because we just see what’s going on and people that didn’t necessarily like President Trump, they want something done.”
Democrats-- and some Republicans-- say the GOP risks taking its rhetoric too far and demonizing Hispanics. They remember that in 2018, Republican Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada lost his re-election bid in part after Mr. Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric motivated Democrats to turn out at the polls.
“Anything that appears to demonize all Hispanics is a major problem, especially for a party that is so heavily dependent on white voters,” said Whit Ayers, a GOP pollster.
But some Democrats also are flashing signs that the Republican argument has potency. In a meeting on Monday between Senate Democrats and President Biden, Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) asked the president for a timeline for additional resources, facilities and coronavirus-testing protocols at the border, according to a person familiar with the call.
...The re-emergence of immigration as a political force follows an election year in which other topics took precedence, including the Covid-19 pandemic and race-related issues tied to the death of George Floyd in police custody. This year, the Homeland Security secretary is warning that the U.S. is on pace to see the largest number of migrants crossing its southern border illegally in two decades, while a voting-rights bill that passed the House this month would automatically register to vote people whose names were already in other government databases, such as those maintained by motor-vehicle departments.
“Particularly for conservatives and Republicans, they look at the combination of both, essentially what they see as open-border policies,” said James Carafano, a national-security expert at the Heritage Foundation who worked on Mr. Trump’s transition team after the 2016 election. “They see that as part of a larger effort to kind of take political power from the country on a permanent basis. So I do think that this is likely something that people will be voting on in 2022.”

OK, got it? The Post and the Wall Street Journal were, under the guise of objective journalism, pushing the Republican Party message as news. The Post, at least, should have known better, since in the same issue as Sean Sullivan's and Seung Min Kim's report was this: There’s No Migrant 'Surge' At The U.S. Southern Border. Here’s the data. I guess The Post reporters were too busy churning out Republican Party propaganda to read the data in their own newspaper, data from Tom Wong, Gabriel De Roche and Jesus Rojas Venzor that shows there is not a surge, just the usual seasonal increase. "Evidence," they wrote, "reveals the usual seasonal bump-- plus some of the people who waited during the pandemic" is not what the Republican Party propagandists are putting out, is it?

The CBP reports monthly data on how many migrants its agents apprehend at the southern border, including unaccompanied minors. The figure below shows the most recent data the CBP has made publicly available.
...[T]he CBP has recorded a 28 percent increase in migrants apprehended from January to February 2021, from 78,442 to 100,441. News outlets, pundits and politicians have been calling this a “surge” and a “crisis.”
...[T]he CBP’s numbers reveal that undocumented immigration is seasonal, shifting upward this time of year. During fiscal year 2019, under the Trump administration, total apprehensions increased 31 percent during the same period, a bigger jump than we’re seeing now. We’re comparing fiscal year 2021 to 2019 because the pandemic changed the pattern in 2020. In 2018, the increase is about 25 percent from February to March-- somewhat smaller but still pronounced.
...[M]igrants start coming when winter ends and the weather gets a bit warmer. We see a regular increase not just from January to February, but from February to March, March to April, and April to May-- and then a sharp drop-off, as migrants stop coming in the hotter summer months when the desert is deadly. That means we should expect decreases from May to June and June to July.
What we’re seeing, in other words, isn’t a surge or crisis, but a predictable seasonal shift. When the numbers drop again in June and July, policymakers may be tempted to claim that their deterrence policies succeeded. But that will just be the usual seasonal drop.
So why are we seeing more migrants so far in 2021?
The CBP has indeed reported apprehending more migrants in February 2021 than in the same month in previous years. But that too doesn’t mean it’s a surge or a crisis... [I]n fiscal year 2021, it appears that migrants are continuing to enter the United States in the same numbers as in fiscal year 2019-- plus the pent-up demand from people who would have come in fiscal year 2020, but for the pandemic.
This suggests that {trump'] Title 42 expulsions delayed prospective migrants rather than deterred them-- and they’re arriving now.
That would be consistent with nearly three decades of research in politicalscience. Much of this research has been done since President Bill Clinton’s administration ran Operation Gatekeeper, which tried to keep out migrants by increasing funding and staff for border enforcement. Scholars consistently find that border security policies do not necessarily deter migration; rather, they delay migrants’ decisions to travel, and change the routes they take.
Reassessing our understanding of undocumented immigration
So have Biden administration policies caused a crisis at the southern border? Evidence suggests not. The Trump administration oversaw a record in apprehensions in fiscal year 2019, before the pandemic shut the border. This year looks like the usual seasonal increase plus migrants who would have come last year, but could not.
Focusing on month-to-month differences in apprehensions is misleading; given seasonal patterns, each month should be considered in relation to the same month in previous years. Knowing those patterns, policymakers may be better able to plan, prepare and to manage the border.