Is There Still a Border Refugee Crisis?

I noted earlier today that the president’s decision to delay a major executive action on immigration for a month or two may in part be attributable to the belief that the “crisis” over refugees at the U.S.-Mexico border, which has clearly affected public opinion on immigration, will soon be visibly abating.

Well, as Danny Vinik notes at TNR today, the latest numbers do suggest that’s happening:

The Department of Homeland Security released new figures on the number of apprehensions along the Southwest border Monday and the numbers continue to plummet, for both unaccompanied children and adults with children. “In July the numbers of unaccompanied children were about half of what they were in June,” DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement. “August was even lower—lower than August 2013 and the lowest since February 2013.”

Vinik goes on to point out it’s hard to know why this is happening, just as it’s hard to know why exactly the border crossings surged so rapidly in the first place. But we may soon be back to what passes for normalcy in the facts on the ground, with Republicans in the awkward position of still complaining about “open borders” and demanding mass deportations.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.