The Beauty of Thinking Outside of the Box



Various forms of catch and release – a de facto policy that results in illegal aliens being released from custody on little or no bond — have plagued the United States for decades. In recent years, it has led to illegal aliens seeking out Border Patrol agents, so that they could file specious political asylum claims. Regardless of the administration, Republican or Democrat, catch and release was a phenomenon that seemed to stymie everyone.

At the core of the issue is Congress’s ongoing refusal to close loopholes that created the catch and release phenomenon in the first place, leaving administration after administration to engage in a frustrating cat and mouse game with illegal aliens who more often than not are released into the interior of the country, never to be seen again.

This was until the Trump administration came along and demonstrated an ability to think outside of the box. Perhaps because of the president’s business background, or possibly his unconventional approach, Trump turned to our largest trading partner, Mexico, instead of our do-nothing Congress for help.

The administration threatened to slap steep tariffs on Mexican imports unless Mexico – which sells roughly 80 percent of its goods to the U.S. – did something immediately about the anarchy at its southern border. Within days, Mexico dispatched 25,000 federal police to its southern border to stanch the steady stream of illegal alien caravans that were careening their way northward towards Mexico through Central America.

It then implemented the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPPs), which required migrants who wanted to seek asylum in the United States to wait in Mexico pending their immigration court hearing in the U.S. In roughly one year, some 60,000 migrants, mostly from the Northern triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, had been returned to Mexico.

The results were both nearly immediate and staggering. In May of 2019, Customs and Border Protection had apprehended roughly 144,000 illegal aliens.  By September, just four months later, that number had dropped to 52,000, a 72 percent decline. 

The Migration Policy Institute says that this agreement “marked a new chapter” in U.S.– Mexico relations.

The Trump administration was the first to realize that Mexico greatly valued its trade relationship with the U.S., the richest market in the world. And Mexico was willing to step up to the plate to keep that relationship whole.

Mexico, once the largest source of illegal immigration to the U.S., has now decided that it is in their own interest to be our ally in the fight against illegal immigration.

About Author

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Dave rejoined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016 and brings more than thirty years of proactive communications experience working with non-profits, trade associations and the private sector. Dave has written and placed op-eds in more than 100 publications for national and state leaders in fields ranging from immigration to agriculture policy, food and energy. Ray has served as a chief spokesman for several national organizations and has extensive radio and television experience as well.

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