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Noah Smith

The Southern Border Crisis Has Fizzled Out

Trump administration policies played a part, but demographics might matter more.  

And then they were gone.

And then they were gone.

Photographer: Spencer Platt/Getty Images South America

The border crisis of 2019 is winding down after a surge in the number of apprehensions at the southern border. In contrast to the early 2000s, when there was a spike in illegal crossings by Mexican laborers looking for work, most of those entering now are families and children seeking asylum from the broken societies of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador:

At the peak of the influx in May, some commentators were suggesting that an appreciable fraction of the entire population of those three Central American countries might end up living in the U.S. But then border apprehensions began to decline as precipitously as they had risen. By September, they were back to the levels of the previous year: