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The Right Way To Reduce Illegal Immigration

May 09, 2023 (1 min read)

Stuart Anderson, Forbes, May 8, 2023

"Whenever migration increases at the Southwest border, many members of Congress follow conventional wisdom and call for new enforcement measures. When those actions fail to reduce illegal migration, elected officials complain the policies weren’t harsh enough. However, it turns out the politicians have been mistaken. While enforcement can play a role, history shows ratcheting up immigration enforcement is an ineffective way to reduce unlawful entry into the United States. The National Foundation for American Policy examined 100 years of Border Patrol apprehensions data for a new report and found periods of reduced illegal entry occurred not because of enforcement but due to economic and demographic changes and the U.S. government opening legal pathways. ... Analysts agree some level of enforcement is needed to deter illegal immigration, but the history of the past 100 years provides two lessons. The first lesson is that increased enforcement is unlikely to be effective in reducing illegal entry, but opening pathways to enter and work legally, along with economic and demographic changes, are likely to succeed. The second lesson is we should anticipate that many members of Congress will ignore the first lesson and continue to see increased enforcement as the way to reduce illegal immigration."