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By Ted Cruz's logic, Obama fixed the child migrant crisis by promising amnesty

Ted Cruz's hands look empty. Someone should give him a chart!
Ted Cruz's hands look empty. Someone should give him a chart!

When the child-migrant crisis was in the headlines over the summer, Ted Cruz tried to make the case that President Obama was to blame — most specifically, his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Cruz called "executive amnesty."

Now, the number of children entering the US has plummeted — stunningly. The reasons why are complex, and worth looking into.

One thing that's clear, though, is that DACA's still on the books. Cruz' narrative is imperiled.

In fact, if the president's promises of executive action really were the most important factor in the migrant crisis, Cruz might want to use this chart the next time he's on the Senate floor:

UAC apprehensions chart, Ted Cruz edition

After all, it's the perfect companion to the chart Cruz used to blame Obama for the crisis back in July.

Cruz' chart appeared to show a steady rise in child migration from 2012 (when the president rolled out the DACA program) to 2014 — thanks to some creativity with the Y-axis (as annotated by's Matt Yglesias).


And Cruz warned explicitly that promises of "future amnesty" would only make the problem worse. On June 30th, President Obama gave a Rose Garden speech explicitly promising to take further executive actions on immigration. Those promises included, in Cruz' words, "plans to give amnesty to millons more who arrived in our country illegally." Cruz said that because of those plans, Obama was responsible for the border crisis — and predicted that "the surge of unaccompanied children trafficked to the United States by drug cartels and transnational gangs will not ebb until Congress restrains the President from taking any further executive action."

That's not what happened. The surge has ebbed — largely due to law-enforcement efforts by US and Mexican authorities, and Mexican efforts to catch children traveling through Mexico before they arrive in the US.

It is possible that rumors about legal status (whether those were based in misinformation about DACA, accurate information about asylum, or totally unfounded rumors about limited-time offers spread by smugglers) led families and children to come to the US this spring and summer. But even if it were true that DACA, in particular, generated rumors in Central America — and even if it were true that those rumors, rather than smuggling capacity or violence, were the chief cause of the influx into the Rio Grande Valley — then it appears that rumor's been stamped out without the US needing to change the underlying policy.

For more on the causes on the drop in child migrants, see my article on the subject.

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