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Activist: Despite recent problems, immigration policies on US-Mexican border largely a success


Despite the very real problems with children from Central America streaming across the border and clogging the nation’s immigration system, the nation’s border policies have largely been successful in recent years, according to an advocacy group.

“Despite extraordinary operational challenges and difficult politics, the Obama administration has done a very good job in managing the border,” said Simon Rosenberg, president and founder of NDN, a liberal-leaning think tank. “Tremendous progress has been made… We’re basically just getting better at managing this thing called the U.S.-Mexico border.”

In a Tuesday press briefing in Washington, echoing previous work on the topic, Rosenberg ticked off several measures that he said showed immigration enforcement has been successful under the Obama administration. Among other things:

--Crime on the U.S. side of the border is way down, although it remains a serious problem on the Mexican side. El Paso, Texas, and San Diego are two of the safest large cities in the nation.

--The flow of unauthorized immigrants has dropped substantially, in part due to decreases in people trying to cross and to more aggressive removals of those who do. Under the Obama administration, there has been no overall increase in the size of the undocumented population, he said.

--A growing share of those deported had criminal records: 59 percent in 2013, up from 36 percent a few years before.

Rosenberg said the briefing was designed in part to correct incorrect assumptions and misleading statistics being thrown around in the ongoing debate over overhauling the nation’s immigration system and dealing with the growing number of Central American children crossing the border.