Yesterday, Cameron wrote about Bush’s trip to Yuma, Arizona to gain support for his immigration bill. Bush heralded tighter border security put forth last year and how it has lead to decreased apprehensions. Border Patrol reports the apprehensions in the Yuma Sector have fallen by 68 percent. “It’s amazing progress that’s been made,” Bush said. As Cameron noted, this is fairly amusing, since last year, Bush was touting more apprehensions as a sign of success. But, more importantly, it is also sort of bogus reasoning. Yes, it appears that increased surveillance and more boots on the ground has lead to a decrease in crossers in this specific area of Arizona and California, but as history has shown us, this is simply how it works. You tighten restrictions in one area, apprehensions are sure to go down. Immigrants will just cross elsewhere. As I reported in September of last year, immigrant experts call this the “balloon effect,” meaning if you build a wall or increase manpower in one section, border crossers will just move down the line. It is not an absolute sign of success, by any means. And, aside from fencing off the entire border and manning every inch of it, this ebb and flow will always occur. As for the lull in increases elsewhere (apprehensions along the entire Mexico border are down 30 percent)? Experts say “immigrant smugglers [are seeking] out new crossing routes.”
To give Bush a little credit, he does need to work hard to gain the acceptance of hard line and skeptical GOPers (although it does seem like he has done enough catering to them) if he has any hope of passing comprehensive reform. Nancy Pelosi has said she will not even consider voting on a bill unless the president has 70 Republican votes. But, nonetheless, a few words of advice to Bush: a.) be consistent and b.) get your facts straight.