Culture Wars/Current Controversies

If you want Americans to act like liberals, govern like a conservative

By Samuel Goldman The Week

“Remain in Mexico” is back.

Despite efforts by the Biden administration to end the policy, formally known as Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), a federal judge in Texas ruled proper steps have not been taken to shut it down. As of Monday, some migrants who arrive at the southern border will be sent back to Mexico to await processing of their asylum claims, not admitted to the United States with orders to appear in court at a later date.

Pro-immigration and humanitarian activists denounced MPP when it was imposed under former President Donald Trump, and some aid groups have refused to participate in the modified program under President Biden. But if it’s successful in lowering record border crossings and preventing spectacles like the Del Rio encampment, the policy could have counterintuitive effects. In a new paper circulated on Twitter by Slate writer Will Saletan, social scientists Ryan C. Briggs and Omer Solodoch argue that “allocating more government resources to border control increases desired levels of immigration.”

That is: Americans become more open to immigration when border security is already strong, which in turn may mean loosening immigration restrictions becomes politically viable only when it doesn’t feel like a step toward disorder.


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