A new headline from the Trump era:
Fewer Immigrants Are Reporting Domestic Abuse. Police Blame Fear of Deportation.
Compare it to this headline from a few months ago:
Arrests along Mexico border drop sharply under Trump, new statistics show
This latter article goes on to comment
The figures show a sharp drop in apprehensions immediately after President Trump’s election win, possibly reflecting the deterrent effect of his rhetoric on would-be border crossers.
It must be noted that these two interpretations of declining enforcement are diametrically opposed: In the first case, declining reports to police are taken as evidence of nothing other than declining reports, whereas the latter analysis eschews such a naive interpretation, suggesting that the decline in apprehensions is actually evidence of a decline in the number of offenses (in this case, illegal border crossings).
I don’t mean to criticise the conventional wisdom, which seems to me eminently sensible. I just think it’s interesting how little the statistical “facts” are able to speak for themselves. The same facts could mean that the election of Trump was associated with a decline in domestic violence in immigrant communities, and also with a reduction in border patrol effectiveness. It’s hard to come up with a causal argument for either of these — Did immigrant men look at Trump with revulsion and decide, abusing women is for the gringos? Did ICE get so caught up with the fun of splitting up families in midwestern towns and harassing Spanish speakers in Montana, that they stopped paying attention to the southern border? — so we default to the opposite conclusion.