Now That Mexican Border Is Secure, Will Republicans Stop Blocking Immigration Reform?

For years, the lame Republican excuse for blocking any and all comprehensive immigration reform has been a single, vapid phrase: "Secure the border first." Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) declared a comprehensive immigration bill dead on arrival if

For years, the lame Republican excuse for blocking any and all comprehensive immigration reform has been a single, vapid phrase: "Secure the border first."

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) declared a comprehensive immigration bill dead on arrival if the government does not first do more to secure its borders.

John McCain:

"If we don't secure the borders first, we will find ourselves with another group of people who have come to this country illegally, and then we'll have to do it all over again."

Rick Santorum:

We are going to secure the border first, and that's the most important thing to do, then we'll have the discussion afterwards.

Lamar Smith (R-TX):

It is pointless to talk about any new immigration bills that grant amnesty until we secure the border, since such bills will only encourage more illegal immigration.

Mitt Romney:

We’re going to have to secure our border first."

Well, guess what Willard? We have.

The largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States has come to a standstill. After four decades that brought 12 million current immigrants—more than half of whom came illegally—the net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped—and may have reversed, according to a new analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center of multiple government data sets from both countries.

The standstill appears to be the result of many factors, including the weakened U.S. job and housing construction markets, heightened border enforcement, a rise in deportations, the growing dangers associated with illegal border crossings, the long-term decline in Mexico’s birth rates and changing economic conditions in Mexico.

And look at these numbers:

Apprehensions of Mexicans trying to cross the border illegally have plummeted by more than 70% in recent years, from more than 1 million in 2005 to 286,000 in 2011—a likely indication that fewer unauthorized immigrants are trying to cross. This decline has occurred at a time when funding in the U.S. for border enforcement—including more agents and more fencing—has risen sharply.

As apprehensions at the border have declined, deportations of unauthorized Mexican immigrants—some of them picked up at work or after being arrested for other criminal violations—have risen to record levels. In 2010, nearly 400,000 unauthorized immigrants—73% of them Mexicans—were deported by U.S. authorities.

So, where will the GOP move the goalposts now?

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