There is no crisis on the border that justifies a wall

Kristin Hook is a scientist working for the government who was furloughed. She decided to use her unwanted ‘free time’ to research into the actual claims that are being made to justify the building of a wall, such as that there is a crisis along the southern border that can only be met with a wall. She says that there are three elements to the argument for the wall.

(A) there has been a dramatic increase in people crossing our border over time,
(B) there is an increase in crime with an increase in immigration, and immigrants commit more crimes than those within our borders, and/or
(C) current strategies for border security are ineffective.

Then in a remarkably clear Twitter thread she analyzes the data for each claim and arrives at the final conclusion:

In sum, there is NO EVIDENCE that there is a border crisis that requires building a wall. The number of immigrants coming into the US are decreasing, and they are not causing any upticks in crime. A wall is an unnecessary feature and would be a total waste of taxpayer money.

What there is by Donald Trump is cherry picking on a massive scale, and with every crime that is committed by an undocumented immigrant heavily publicized by him and his surrogates. When they are confronted by data showing that immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate that those already here, they make the outlandish claim that even a single death is one death too many. This is a standard that is not applied to any other crime. Why is it that one death due to someone who obtained a gun when they should not have been able to not lead to a massive effort to curb easy gun availability?

What is also notable is that Hook gives actual sources for her data. This is routine for a scientist but not for Twitter. Well worth a read.


  1. sonofrojblake says

    Trump is clever in just one way: focus.

    In the UK, the independently wealthy got the plebs to vote against their interests with Brexit. To do so, they focused partly on immigration, blurring the lines between asylum seekers, economic migrants, legit workers from other EU countries and the hordes of Muslims who would flood here when Turkey joined the EU. But they also had a bunch of other lines of attack, such as promising £350m a week for the NHS, money saved by not “sending it to Brussels” -- a promise they were rowing back on before they even finished counting the votes in the referendum.

    Trump, on the other hand, got the plebs to vote for him with a laser-like focus on a simpler, more concrete (you see what I did there?) issue: BUILD THE WALL. (Oh, and “LOCK HER UP” -- remember that?). It’s appealing to the same base instincts of the under-informed, obvs. There is a certain elegance to its simplicity, though.

    When the election campaign was running, I thought that this elegant simplicity came about because Trump was an instinctive genius at marketing himself, and he had an implicit understanding of how to target a message so it had maximum impact on a malleable crowd. I really thought that. Not that he was a great politician, obvs, but that he was running rings round the Republican candidates and later Clinton by being good at what he did, which is shilling for himself.

    I now realise that the situation was more like this: his handlers had to boil down his message to simple, three syllable sound-bites to minimise the chances of him fucking them up. “Riff, Donald, but get to these three words. THESE THREE WORDS, Donald, say them with me…”

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