When you ask an anti-immigration advocate these days why the issue has suddenly demanded such draconian measures as Arizona's controversial SB 1070, the response is invariably that the problem has become so acute that we simply must do something. This is how John McCain explained his flip-flop from sponsor of a comprehensive reform bill to a "complete the danged fence" tough talker. They'll also say that Barack Obama has been ignoring the problem, perhaps because doing so fits in with his larger project of destroying America.
But the truth is just the opposite. As I've pointed out before, the federal budget for customs and enforcement has doubled since 2004, and we now have nearly twice as many Border Patrol agents as we did five years ago. That all started during the Bush administration, but it has continued under Obama. Not only that, Obama has dramatically increased the number of deportations and audits of companies to make sure they aren't employing undocumented workers.
And now, we get this report from the Pew Hispanic Center, showing that the number of undocumented immigrants in the country has decreased dramatically:
Not that we should let facts get in the way or anything.
-- Paul Waldman