Yesterday reporters toured a Border Patrol facility where children are being held. The agent giving the tour said things are different now because families & kids "know that we're releasing them."

But that comment was absurd on its face, as the agent surely knew. A 🧵 on why.
In May 2018, when family separation was still going on and the nation's attention turned to the border, the Trump administration was loud and clear about "releases"—they publicly declared multiple times that any family that stepped foot on US soil would be released.
Trump repeated this fact—that most families were being released at the border—throughout 2018. Here's a rally comment from November 2018, where he again told cheering crowds of thousands that any family arriving at the border would be released.
These comments weren't limited to President Trump and his bully pulpit. Senior administration officials like CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said in March 2019 Congressional testimony that "crossing with a child is a near guarantee of a speedy release."
In fact, releases were so common that in September 2019 DHS had to do a huge press push to say that they were finally going to stop releasing most people who crossed the border—after nearly two years of releases.…
To sum up: in 2018 and 2019 the entire US government loudly declared to the world that families coming to the border would be released.

So when the Border Patrol says things are different under Biden because families and children "know we're releasing them"—keep that in mind.

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More from @ReichlinMelnick

1 Apr
This morning @DHSOIG revealed the results of surprise inspections at the ICE detention center in Eloy, AZ. The OIG says that "detainee reports and grievances allege an environment of mistreatment and verbal abuse," and that the jail is likely responsible for a COVID outbreak.
Here's the primary conclusion of @DHSOIG's report on the La Palma Correctional Center in Eloy, AZ, where conditions for those held by ICE have long been reported as terrible.

Alarms have been raised about this detention center for years!… Image
Last year, it was reported that private prison company CoreCivic was forcing asylum seekers held at La Palma to clean the jails, threatening to throw them in solitary confinement if they refused to do things like clean feces from a cell without gloves.…
Read 5 tweets
31 Mar
I still maintain that this estimate is WILDLY wrong, and I will eat my (nonexistent) hat if it's right.

March will likely hit ~145,000 encounters, making ~542,000 for the FY so far.

Getting to 2,000,000 requires an average 243,000 encounters from April-September. That's unreal.
The highest recorded monthly apprehensions in the highest year ever was 220,063 in March 2000. That month, it's likely there were at least ~500,000 crossings (many the same people crossing multiple times).

So 243,000 monthly apprehensions through September is a WILD prediction.
Also I'm pretty sure I remember seeing that CBP estimated over 1,000,000 apprehensions in 2019, which... did not happen.

If anyone can find that prediction, which I think was reported on in late 2018/early 2019, I will owe them my gratitude. I've been trying to dig it up.
Read 9 tweets
30 Mar
These images, which look so much like 2019, are a reminder yet again that CBP has had SEVEN YEARS to get its act together.

Congress keeps pouring billions into more agents, more tech, and more wall. But that won't do anything to stop scenes like this. We need a better system.
These are images of children held in filthy Border Patrol cells in 2014, packed in like sardines. They were leaked to Breitbart by Border Patrol officers to make a splash against the Obama administration.

This is the first time that "hieleras" at the border made national news.
These are images of people packed into Border Patrol cells in 2015, revealed as part of a lawsuit @immcouncil and other organizations brought against the Tucson Sector Border Patrol.

At the time, no one even got mats. They slept on the concrete floor.
Read 6 tweets
29 Mar
This is a nice thought experiment, but I don't buy it. I suspect these former officials don't appreciate the state of the border pre-inauguration—esp. Mexico's rejecting families. From 12/31 to 1/20, 41% (1,293 of 3,143) of families were released. The trend was already there.
Like, this list of things Biden did actually had little/no policy effect on the border.

- Deportation pause didn't apply
- Ending MPP affected <1.2% of encounters
- ACAs suspended since March 2020
- Border wall freeze unrelated
- UCs already not expelled.
Of course, it's all a counterfactual. Is the suggestion seriously that Biden should have gotten on TV on Day One and said "America, I know I made a lot of promises for immigrants. I'm breaking every single one of them."

Obviously that would have been a political disaster too.
Read 9 tweets
26 Mar
This article from is @saletan has a LOT of problems, and I'd strongly recommend he read the @AP memo from yesterday.

One of the biggest issues, aside from the repeated use of dehumanizing "deluge" language.? No mention of asylum—which is legal—at all!…
Sadly, there's not really much daylight between this article and what Stephen Miller and the Trump administration argued on a daily basis. About the only difference is some professed moral qualms about a belief that cruelty is the answer.

We have years of evidence that it isn't. Image
You hear this "well we can't let them all in" argument all the time, and it's so frustrating, because

1) Asylum IS legal immigration
2) Obviously not everyone is going to migrate
3) We've tried cruelty, and it does. not. work. long. term.
4) Actually we'll be totally fine.
Read 4 tweets
25 Mar
I want to make it crystal clear that I've been acknowledging the unprecedented levels of unaccompanied kids, and arguing that the real challenge is how we handle those numbers safely and humanely.

The problem is conflating 12,000 unaccompanied kids with 100,000 encounters.
"Chart-makers" like myself also want people to acknowledge the facts about what's happening, and to ensure that lazy reporting doesn't throw blame around and incorrectly put the burden for the increase on specific things, or falsely conflate perception with reality.
The biggest critique of the Post article isn't that it got the trends wrong, it's that it ignored when the overall trend began, ignored the complicated policy reality on the ground, and acted as if the perception of Biden doing something was the same thing as him doing it.
Read 6 tweets

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