Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Biden, the border, and an Instapundit troll

Instapundit linked to the following article:

More Caught Illegally Crossing Southern Border in 1 Year of Biden Than Entire Trump Presidency

A troll in the comments section (there are always several such trolls) decided to make the case that this means Biden has been four times more efficient than Trump at catching illegals.* It became obvious to me, as I watched this shit-stirrer make the above comment and others as well, that the troll hadn't bothered to read the article in question and was merely drawing his own illogical conclusions. Without addressing the provocateur directly (because it's never a good idea to feed the trolls), I wrote the following comment in as civil a tone as I could:


The assumption that 4X the number of illegals are being caught = 4X the efficiency of the border patrol under Biden is fallacious. For fairness's sake, let's assume that's one possible interpretation of the data. Here are some other possibilities: 1. The border patrol's efficiency hasn't increased. Instead, the number of people surging across the border has increased because people south of the border have heard that Biden is a softie. 2. The efficiency of reporting has increased. The media had no interest in making Trump look good, so the number of illegals caught was underreported. With Biden occupying the Oval Office, the media cynically want to make him look strong on the border, so they now feel free to report the numbers properly, resulting in a seeming 4X increase in stats. Doubtless there are other possibilities, or a combination of the above is entirely possible. Simply to conclude that efficiency-of-catching increased under Biden is to ignore other possible explanations. From the article:
In fiscal year 2017, when Donald Trump was inaugurated as president, the Border Patrol encountered just two individuals on the terrorist watchlist trying to sneak across the southern border between the ports of entry. In fiscal year 2018, it encountered six. In fiscal year 2019, it encountered none; and, in fiscal year 2020, it encountered three. In fiscal year 2021, the year President Joe Biden was inaugurated, there was a substantial shift in the trend. That year, the number of individuals on the terrorist watchlist that the Border Patrol encountered trying to sneak across the southern border increased fivefold to 15. Then, in fiscal year 2022, it climbed to 98. So far in fiscal year 2023, which isn’t even half over yet, the Border Patrol has encountered 69 individuals on the terrorist watchlist trying to sneak across our southern border between the ports of entry.
To me, this indicates that possibility (1) above is the most likely explanation, but I'm open to there being other factors at play. Possibility (1) is reinforced by the fact that the above quote is talking primarily about people on the terrorist watch list, not your typical Latin illegal. In other words, it's more than just Latinos who understand that Biden is a softie, and that the southern border has become a frayed mess on his watch.
On Feb. 7, the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability held a hearing on the border crisis. The witnesses were Gloria Chavez, the Border Patrol’s chief agent in the Rio Grande Valley Sector, and John Modlin, the chief agent in the Tucson Sector. Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., asked them about the massive increase in illegal crossers encountered at the southern border. “The thing I can tell you that goes to the spike that you’re talking about,” Modlin responded, “is that in the Tucson sector, interviewing people post-arrest, what became the most common response was that they believed that when the administration changed that the law changed, and policy changed and that there was an open border.” “Chief, I’m glad you said that,” said Donalds, “because, ladies and gentlemen, the law did not change. Joe Biden decided not to follow the law.”
This is how the article actually concludes.


My comment has received a modest number of upvotes. There's been no reaction from the troll. Maybe he'll take the bait (since I am, after all, kind of trolling him); maybe he won't.

*Note that this guy, in trying to incense Instapundit regulars, has put himself in the position of a rightie who thinks border control is good. If he truly thinks border control is good, then I applaud him! But more likely, he's insincerely adopting this position to make the petty point that Biden's done something better than Trump did. To make this point, though, the guy has to ignore what the article itself says, and the article says nothing anti-Trump. In fact, as you see above, the article concludes that the law did not change under Biden; Biden has simply chosen to ignore it. So there's been no increase in the efficiency of border-jumper-catching. And this is how you know the guy is a troll: because he's arguing in bad faith.

ADDENDUM: 24 hours later and no reaction from the troll.

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