Between now and December, Congress will debate legislation related to President Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda. Proposals under consideration include initial down payments toward a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, hiring 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents, and expanding the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation force with 10,000 new hires. These costly, counterproductive, and inhumane measures would create a climate of fear, threaten civil liberties in the United States, and put the lives of thousands at risk.
Undocumented migration across the U.S.-Mexico border is at a 40-year low. Even though migration has consistently dropped, Border Patrol has massively expanded in the last decade. Ratcheting up the number of Border Patrol is not only wasteful: if done without the proper recruitment, training and accountability measures, it risks making the agency more susceptible to abuse and corruption.
The arguments to increase Border Patrol are primarily based on four misconceptions.