NPR reviews some of the history of American immigration law, and reaches some admirably honest conclusions:

illegal immigration history, NPRThe Simpson-Mazzoli Act was introduced as a way to end illegal border crossings once and for all. It had three parts: Give amnesty to those who had been in the country for at least five years, crack down on employers who hire people who can’t legally work here, and pump up border security to prevent future illegal crossings.

President Reagan supported the bill and signed it into law in 1986. Three million people were granted amnesty under the Simpson-Mazzoli Act, but by 1990 the number of unauthorized immigrants was back up to 3.5 million.

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Donald Trump has repeatedly suggested that the media and the other candidates wouldn’t even be talking about illegal immigration if it weren’t for him, and his supporters certainly seem to think Trump’s “strong” positions on illegal immigration are a core reason to vote for him.  But do the facts match this narrative?

1 — In fact, Ted Cruz has been consistently in favor of building a wall, double-layered fence, or other serious barrier along the southern border for years.  As Patterico points out, this was Cruz’s position when he was running for Senate in 2012:

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Last Friday, President Obama decreed that what Congress has thus far declined to do, he will do by himself—in effect, amnesty for (by his administration’s own conservative estimate) 800,000 illegal immigrants (CNN, Fox)—even though President Obama himself is on record, as recently as 2011, at least twice (March, September), admitting that that would be unconstitutional:

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“So, Is Mexican Immigration Over?”, Mark Krikorian, National Review Online:

A new report finds that the number of Mexican immigrants in the United States has declined for the first time since the Great Depression. . . .

That doesn’t mean illegal immigration from Mexico has stopped . . . . But the number of immigrants giving up and going home has indeed increased, and only between 5 and 35 percent of them are estimated to have been deported; the rest left on their own.

In other words, the policy of attrition through enforcement works. This is what Governor Romney meant when he mentioned “self-deportation.”

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