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Sun Apr 29, 2012, 12:06 PM

Partisan Spin Denies Obama Credit for Immigration Success

Partisan Spin Denies Obama Credit for Immigration Success
Apr 27, 2012 4:45 AM EDT
John Avlon

Obama has used increased funding and enforcement to slow illegal immigration through our southern border to a trickle, but Mitt Romney and conservatives have responded with silence—or more attacks about a lack of border security.

The headline should be striking: "U.S.A. Stops Illegal Immigration from Mexico" in its tracks.

That’s an underlying insight in a study by the Pew Hispanic Center released days before the Supreme Court heard arguments over the controversial Arizona illegal-immigration law.

It represents a rare success on a contentious culture-war topic, driven in large part by economic trends that have driven down demand for undocumented labor but also by dramatically increased border enforcement under President Obama. The bottom line: a four-decade flood of illegal immigration through our southern border has been slowed to a trickle.

If this happened under a Republican president, conservatives would be celebrating. But because it has happened under Obama, the reaction has been awkward silence—from liberals as well. The facts don’t fit the established narrative.

All of which places this week’s Supreme Court hearing over the controversial (and often mischaracterized) Arizona illegal-immigration bill in an ironic light.

The law has been a lose-lose for the GOP. Its passage has torpedoed Republican approvals ratings with Latino voters—and possibly turning Arizona into a 2012 swing state—while making no impact on the actual problem it sought to address, because it hasn’t been enacted. Simultaneously, the problem is showing signs of being solved—at least for now.

The numbers are staggering:

• 1.5 million deportations in the last four years, a record high.
• A 70 percent increase in the number of convicted criminals deported.
• Arrests at the border up 14 percent in the past two years.
• An 85 percent increase in border agents since 2004.
• 31 percent more drugs and 63 percent more weapons seized at the border.
• 650 miles of border fence now completed.



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