The physical barriers that President Trump is constructing along the U.S.-Mexico border garner most of the news headlines, but the president has also implemented myriad other border security initiatives that are proving just as effective at solving the illegal immigration crisis as the border wall itself.
With little fanfare, the Trump administration has been quietly investing in a different type of border wall over the past three years, appointing dozens of immigration judges who are committed to preserving America’s territorial integrity and upholding the rule of law.
New research shows that this judicial border wall is already paying major dividends — Trump-appointed judges are reversing the lax approach cultivated during the Obama years by rejecting far more dubious asylum petitions than their predecessors.
Four immigration judges in Tennessee, for instance, have denied more than 90 percent of asylum claims from illegal immigrants since being appointed by the president. Pre-Trump judges in the same area stretched long-established criteria for asylum to approve about half of the asylum applications they adjudicated. This same encouraging trend can be seen in other parts of the country, too — even the immigrant-friendly State of New York has seen an uptick in asylum rejections.
According to one forecast, U.S. immigration court judges are projected to order deportations of nearly 300,000 migrants during this fiscal year — about 200,000 more deportations than in fiscal year 2016. Meanwhile, the president is securing a historic number of confirmations in federal district and appellate courts, filling vacancies with judges who will resist partisan efforts to overturn his policies.
While physical border walls are effective for keeping illegal border-crossers and multinational criminal organizations out of our communities, Trump’s judicial border wall is performing an equally valuable service by ensuring that our legal system is not abused by bad actors seeking to exploit loopholes in the law. It also protects the president’s immigration agenda from the litigious assaults of open-border radicals who are intent on undermining immigration enforcement at every turn.
But Trump’s ingeniously comprehensive approach to immigration policy doesn’t stop with judicial appointments. While many Democrats and the media were busy condemning him for constructing new walls along the U.S.-Mexico border, the president was also busy negotiating bilateral immigration agreements with several Latin American countries that are major sources of illegal immigration, including Mexico.
By persuading our Latin American neighbors to implement both humanitarian and law enforcement policies that discourage immigrants from trying to cross the U.S. border illegally, the president has dramatically reduced the flow of illegal migrants — a trend that’s been especially noticeable with the disappearance of the massive migrant “caravans” that tried to overwhelm our border in 2018.
After peaking at just over 144,000 last May, the number of illegal immigrants apprehended at the southern border has steadily declined due to enhanced enforcement actions and deterrence-oriented policy reforms. Even with increased vigilance and better resources, Border Patrol agents made fewer than 43,000 apprehensions in November, a decrease of about 70 percent in only six months, and about one-third lower than the previous November.
When then-candidate Donald Trump said that he would solve the ongoing illegal immigration crisis during the 2016 presidential election campaign, he wasn’t speaking in hyperbole — for the past three years, the president has employed a diverse array of policy tools to fix our broken immigration system, investing in an across-the-board approach to enforcement that is yielding impressive results.
The border wall may occupy the attention of open-borders Democrats and their allies in the media, but anyone who truly cares about border security knows that physical barriers are only part of the story. Trump’s invisible border wall of policy reforms and judicial appointments is just as important to ending the humanitarian and national security crisis on our southern border.
Brandon Judd (@BPUnion) is the president of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC), the exclusive labor representative of approximately 16,000 Border Patrol agents.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.