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Record Illegal Immigration Proves America’s Persistent Greatness

U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports 2,475,669 “encounters” at the U.S.–Mexico border from October 2022 through September 2023 (federal Fiscal Year 2023). The Border Patrol may have “encountered” some people multiple times in repeated attempts to enter the country, but some people likely crossed the border illegally and unencountered. So let’s say 2.5 million people tried to enter our country illegally in one year.

The number of people coming to America illegally via Mexico and processed by the Border Patrol so far this December is over 225,000, a one-month record.

Some people seem to think the huge number of foreigners wanting to come to America is a problem (but not a big enough problem to shut down rail crossings, says Congressman Dusty Johnson—business über alles!… but let’s not complicate this essay). I prefer to think of it not only as an obvious answer to our chronic shortage of workers (every Border Patrol encounter should conclude with handing out a work visa) but also as an endorsement of the persistent greatness of the United States of America.

Consider: Governor Kristi Noem claims she has gotten thousands of people to apply to move to South Dakota (apply for what, a work visa?) with her bad-plumber ads. Governor Noem’s claims of the success of her ad campaign are unverifiable and in some cases demonstrably false. The claims come from a politician bucking for a bigger job who thus has every reason to inflate her figures (botox for statistics?). Whatever the actual number of people who have come to South Dakota, drawing those thousands or hundreds or dozens has required a comely Governor to dress up in lots of cute costumes and spend millions of dollars on TV ads targeting people mostly like her with false promises of freedom, economic opportunity, and less dependence on government.

Meanwhile, the same number of people who’ve clicked Noem’s website this year to say, yeah, maybe we’ll move to South Dakota is jumping the border from Mexico to the United States every day. President Joe Biden isn’t beaming ads into Mexico showing him adorably made up, butchering hogs at Smithfield, and saying, “Join me for Freedom™ on the kill floor!” None of our major media are making the case that the United States is a great place for immigrants; the conservative media happily amplify open hostility to newcomers, especially the brown ones, while the “liberal” media (i.e., the regular journalists whom the conservative media characterize as “liberal” to delegitimize real reporting and  deter their conservative followers from listening to facts that challenge their conservative fantasies, but there I go again complicating the essay) report all the racism and bigotry and violence and other failures of the United States of America to live up to its principles.

And yet they come. 2.5 million people come. 2.5 million people look at the America they see on their TVs and Twitters and stories from Tio Mario who’s sending back good money from some factory dairy in South Dakota and want what they see in America so badly that they break the law to get here. They cross deserts and mountains and rivers. They scale walls and razor wire. They gamble their lives and freedom with dangerous smugglers and unsympathetic American border guards and cops to come live and work like dogs in a country where they don’t speak the language, where they will be exploited by lawbreaking employers, where they will live as invisibles in constant fear of deportation and separation from the loved ones who accompany them on this frightful journey.

South Dakota spends millions to advertise a comfy Whitopia, and a few fellow Americans take the bait. The United States of America in many ways does the opposite of inviting immigrants to come here; for the most part we just sit here being America, letting our example speak for itself, and 2.5 million people  from Mexico and other father-flung parts of the globe vote with their feet, taking a profoundly perilous journey to seek a better life in America.

That record illegal immigration says pretty clearly that the United States of America must be one heck of great country. You’d think we Americans would be more grateful and welcome all these newcoming believers in the American dream.


  1. Donald Pay 2023-12-28 21:27

    The thing I don’t understand is why we call it “illegal” immigration. Humans are a migratory species. It’s just the natural movement of people seeking a better life, something that humans have done as we evolved. Humans move from one environment to another to improve chances for survival and for the benefit of our families. I understand that sometimes in history that has resulted in bad results for some people who were killed or displaced. It certainly happened with European immigration to America. When my German grandparents’ families came to the US, they didn’t move here for our “freedom” as much as to escape the lack of freedom and lack of prospects for farmers in Germany at the time. Politically and religiously, they were pacifists and didn’t approve of the militarization that Germany was undergoing. They took a chance that life would be better here. And it was. They moved to northwest Iowa, farmed and survived.

    In my own life, I’ve moved from city to city, state to state. We don’t call that immigration, but it’s the same thing. Borders don’t mean much to humans, whether they are city limits, state boundaries or nation borders. At best you see a sign, but, as Woody Guthrie sang, “from the other side it said nothing, This land is made for you and me.”

  2. Arlo Blundt 2023-12-28 23:45

    Donald…you are very right. People will not stay in one place to suffer, starve, and be persecuted. Life is short, so, move on to the next opportunity.

  3. Adam 2023-12-28 23:51

    No one, absolutely no one, wants to live in South Dakota. Enjoy this one big fact of the matter.

  4. Adam 2023-12-29 00:04

    The sales pitch for living in South Dakota is incoherent word salad, and that’s why SD cannot build a population of 1 million people – even in the year of 2023.

    SD is just bunch of pathetic retards from an absolute middle of nowhere place in North America.

    It’s not just nowhere, it’s “the middle of nowhere”. Nothing important ever even happened in South Dakota, ever!

  5. Adam 2023-12-29 00:09

    I go outside to pee, just so I can make sure that I’m peeing on South Dakota

  6. sx123 2023-12-29 01:55

    Adam, in South Dakota we have awsome internet in the middle of nowhere.

  7. sx123 2023-12-29 03:22

    Is it ok to pitch tents and live within the borders of peoples’ backyards without their permission?

    I personally think Canada, the US, Mexico, central America, and maybe down to the tip of South America should be one big country, but borders are used to enforce land ownership (and plant/animal disease prevention) in modern society. and that enforcement starts with a country’s borders.

    As for disease prevention, I couldn’t freely drive across the border into California from Oregon without getting inspected for fruit by California’s Border Protection Stations (BPS). Likewise, ivestock get inspected at a lot of (all?) state borders. Borders have legit purposes.

  8. LCJ 2023-12-29 06:28

    Sorry, this just shows why Biden should be impeached for ignoring the constitution.
    He is 100% guilty of running this country into the ground and it will be a great day for America when he and his crooked policies are gone.

  9. John 2023-12-29 06:37

    If mere money is fungible, then so too ought human capital be fungible. Borders have a minor point in humanity. Borders are too often artificially created in smoke-filled rooms thousands of miles and cultures away from the actual ground and its occupants.

    Immigrating is an act of pursuing a better future. Which is why net Mexican immigration to the US is negative for the past 12 years. The new immigrants to the US are coming from Central America and other places with less cultural and economic freedom.

  10. V 2023-12-29 06:53

    Anyone against immigration out to move back to where they came from. Why do you belong here but “they” don’t? Why are you white boys so special?

  11. sx123 2023-12-29 07:12

    When Noem has to deploy the SD National Guard to _South Dakota’s_ borders, you’ll know her plumber ads worked :)

  12. Dicta 2023-12-29 08:30

    Did LCJ just argue Biden should be impeached because of immigration? I thought it was Hunter Biden? Or, and here’s where we both know you sit: you have nothing to impeach Biden on but are so butthurt over Trump’s impeachment that you want revenge. Just say it. We can all see.

  13. LCJ 2023-12-29 09:24

    Legal immigration that vets out the undesired criminals, spies and other pro lib/communist is good.
    Millions of unchecked illegal aliens taking advantage of US tax payers is absolutely insane and criminal.

  14. larry kurtz 2023-12-29 09:28

    In July, 2021 tens of thousands of long-suffering Haitians made the nightmare journey through Central America only to end up in facilities like the one owned by Tennessee-based CoreCivic in Torrance County, New Mexico. After being brutalized by riders on horseback in Texas some fifty Haitian and Brazilian asylum seekers were subjected to dire circumstances and denied access to legal counsel while detained at a private prison complex contracted in Estancia, New Mexico by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the US Marshals Service.

    Due in large part to immigration New Mexico is third in racial equality, second in worker equity, fourth in language diversity and is the sixth most diverse state overall according to WalletHub.

    Rich people can save themselves: they merely flee south and complain that immigrants are taking over the workforce; but, poverty chains those who live in despair year ’round. Migration must be celebrated, not outlawed. I-25 is thick with white people headed into Mexico for the winter, ffs.

    Statehood for Mexico would mean more people could save themselves from brutal winters in the North and provide safer homes for migrants.

  15. Donald Pay 2023-12-29 09:35

    On the “greatness” issue I have mixed feelings. Places where you live all have positives and negatives. People who move are seeking something better, that’s for sure. You don’t move from paradise to go to hell. You try to figure out where it might be better, and you move there. But what’s better to one person may be worse for someone else, and better can change to worse over time. I was told my grandmother moved back to Germany after immigrating, and then re-immigrated to the US. It happens a lot. I have to say, even in my own life I moved to Wisconsin from South Dakota, went back to South Dakota, then moved back to Wisconsin. There was a short stop in North Dakota in there, too. School, jobs and family were the reasons for my immigration from state to state. It’s no different, I’m sure, for people moving across the southern border. Longer distances and more dangerous journeys probably mean people are in desperate situations where they are living. I have so much empathy for them, and if they want to live and work here, i say let them all in.

  16. Mike Zitterich 2023-12-29 09:36

    The mass immigration due to Biden’s ignorance at the border, allowing all of these wackos from foreign countries to come in unchecked,carrying weapons with them, overloading the states with unprotected defense, is leading to states like Minnesota, Arizona, California, New Jersey to hand out driver licenses which allows them to send out mail ballots to non-domicile persons, creates voter fraud. That fact alone means BIDEN is the real Insurrectionist, and for that, he is committing treason agasint the States. That is an Impeachable Offense right there. BIDEN is a war criminal.

  17. Dicta 2023-12-29 09:47

    Already established wacko decries incoming wackos. More at 11.

  18. larry kurtz 2023-12-29 09:55

    It’s not always easy to find similarities with New Mexico and my home state of South Dakota but one correlation stands out: the growth in the Latino population is surging.

    In the Midwest the Latino community has grown 28 percent in the last decade and in the Southwest it’s grown nearly 20 percent. Venezuelans make up the largest inbound demographic.

    As young people and Democrats flee South Dakota more brown people are doing the work in the red moocher state. Meat processors and industrial agriculture employ the greatest numbers of Hispanics in South Dakota. Spanish speakers prop up the federally subsidized dairy industry East River but in Huron Karen refugees slaughter and process turkeys. So now that brown workers can take the driver’s license exam in Spanish white people can spend more time snorting and shooting meth.

    My sister is a former Elkton-Lake Benton High School Spanish teacher who has been tutoring students in math with English as a second language.

    Brookings County is home to a French-owned salted fat factory that relies on subsidized dairies threatening the Big Sioux River and its tributaries.

  19. All Mammal 2023-12-29 10:19

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Putin has a campaign in Central and South America that is compelling people to migrate north. He knows how divisive the border is and loves misinformation and propaganda. Heck, the republicans are probably in on it too.

    I’ll be sure to keep my eyes peeled for proof and keep everyone abreast of any breakthroughs.

  20. Richard Schriever 2023-12-29 10:52

    I’m gonna address all the “Biden Border” haters here at once. You know who you are. The Biden administration introduced legislation to address the border and immigration at the beginning of the current congressional term. Congress has FAILED TO ACT, while they have taken more votes to elect a “leader”/speaker than the grand total of bills they have even considered. It is the Republican congressional border that you al are actually witnessing. Oh, and BTW, the Biden admin. has, in the meanwhile, left in place many of the features of the TRUMP admins’ immigration and border policies. But of course, no one in the “conservative” media has told you any of this – so how would you know??

  21. jerry 2023-12-29 10:54

    What Mr. Schriever said.

  22. Richard Schriever 2023-12-29 10:59

    All Mammal – China exes4ets much more influence in Latin Am to Russia. Russia, contrary to its robust and aggressive militarism in areas CLOSE to its borders, does not have the economic clout needed to do much influencing in Latin Am, or in Africa (where they USED TO have some sway). Putin is frittering away Russia’s economy in pursuit of “the glory of the past” (MRGA??.)

  23. cibvet 2023-12-29 12:47

    All Mammal is correct with her statement. No doubt the repub party and putin collectively using social media to encourage
    the migrants of other countries to clog the southern border. The migrants believe what they read just as trumpists continue to be
    conned by the orange fat man. You can educate ignorance, but you can’t fix stupid.

  24. Arlo Blundt 2023-12-29 12:53

    We’re advertising that we have 400,000 job openings in our trades in the US. The hundreds of thousands of Venezuealens crossing the border are a huge advantage to our economy as they are educated, have marketable skills, and are highly motivated. We shouldn’t be looking a gift horse in the mouth. We could do a lot worse than filling our gaping holes in the job market with willing workers from Venezuela.

  25. O 2023-12-29 13:46

    LCJ: “Biden should be impeached for ignoring the constitution.”

    What specific part of the Constitution is President Biden ignoring? I didn’t get your reference here.

  26. grudznick 2023-12-30 08:33

    Tighten up your bloggings, Mr. Zitterich.

  27. e platypus onion 2023-12-30 08:42

    Zitikrite has sovereignty on the brin the way “Rabbit Hole Refugee” John Dale has 5G on the brain. it is eating his last few brain cells alive.

  28. larry kurtz 2023-12-30 08:44

    So-called sovereign citizens are overwhelmingly white christians using a maladapted interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment to rationalize their commitment to a pending race war using links to the federal storming of Ruby Ridge, Idaho and the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas then culminating in the Oklahoma City bombing. Many are either convicted felons no longer able to vote or have been recruited by those who believe that the democratic process is ineffective and cities especially in blue states will collapse.

    Montana is bracing for civil unrest, christian/anarchist militias armed for the End Days are rattling online newspaper fora and blogs with vitriol for people of color. But, how these bozos expect to take on ATF, FBI, and Homeland Security is the height of ignorance. Think Katrina: if civil order is temporarily suspended these idiots will kill only those innocents by whom they feel threatened. Unarmed people would be preyed upon by these monsters unrelentingly.

  29. larry kurtz 2023-12-30 08:45

    Wendel Hiland was a Newell-area handyman and self-styled ‘sovereign citizen’ who faced 300 years in prison after he was arrested and charged in 2013 with 30 counts of abuse of a minor over the age of seven. He raped a minor, forced her into child marriage and has called Attorney General Marty Jackley “as crooked as they come.” Hiland now lives in Moyie Springs, Idaho in the bowels of the American Redoubt.

  30. grudznick 2023-12-30 08:47

    Mr. Klaudt, hisownself, is a member of Mr. Zitterich’s sovereign club.
    Both are deep on the spectrum.

  31. grudznick 2023-12-30 09:53

    That’s why some build compounds and horde guns, Lar. Others outfit bunkers down in the County of Fall River, where gun packing is mandatory.

  32. chris 2023-12-30 11:23

    Hey Mike Z.,
    Propertarianism aside for a moment… what are your thoughts on leaded gasoline?

  33. bearcreekbat 2023-12-30 12:23

    Spoiler alert – snark ahead based on the stupid anti-immigrant arguments, attitudes and name-calling I continually see expressed by people too blind to see their own logs.

    Perhaps we have too many “illegal Christians”, you know those Christians that may have violated some law or some administrative rule at some time in their lives. And who cares what their motives were, or whether they have become law abiding. They are “illegals” and should be expelled from this country. We need walls to keep out all the “illegal Christians.” And don’t forget the non-Christian “illegal Republicans” that also may have violated some law or some administrative rule at some time in their lives. Expel those suckers from this country so that those without such a “log in their eye” can be at peace once and for all. I suspect that many “illegal Christians” and “Illegal Republicans” are also taking jobs away from the all the good people here that have never violated some law or some administrative rule ever in their lives.

  34. grudznick 2023-12-31 10:07

    This goes to support why we must continue to build the prison in the County of Lincoln. These immigrant fellows aren’t going to be working in Edgemont or Buffalo or Big Stone City, they will be working in Sioux Falls and needing jails

  35. grudznick 2023-12-31 12:02

    Research confirms that larger populations require larger prisons. What we need is fewer people of all sorts. Overcrowding is bad, and that so many people are flocking here is very bad. Understandable, but very bad. Stop advertising.

  36. John 2024-01-05 10:06

    If Noem had a brain she’d ask Abbott to send busloads and plane loads of immigrants to South Dakota.
    Ellis at has an article noting the state’s percentage of immigrants from Latin America is falling.
    The largest immigrant source in South Dakota is from Asia. Immigrant numbers from Africa are rising.

    SD’s foreign born population is significantly lower than that found in the nation. And that is holding back SD’s agricultural economy.
    “We are so sucking air here,” said Doug Sombke, president of the South Dakota Farmers Union. “There is a really big need.”

    Meanwhile, Noem merrily pursues policies that are against SD’s economic interest. She’s clueless. As are her voters.

  37. Donald Pay 2024-01-07 14:12

    As I said in my first post, “Humans are a migratory species. It’s just the natural movement of people seeking a better life, something that humans have done as we evolved. Humans move from one environment to another to improve chances for survival and for the benefit of our families.” You don’t need to advertise for it. You shouldn’t try to stop it. Humans move.

    As long as people come here with no bad intent, let everyone move in or out., as the case may be. That’s what happened over history and prehistory.

    If you want more people in South Dakota, you are going to have to change to be more welcoming. You are going to need to stop driving people out with hate, with low wages, with third-world government.

    Research shows that the prison population is determined by how much or how little opportunity you provide for people to work and advance in society.

  38. grudznick 2024-01-07 16:10

    Mr. Pay, we do not want more people in South Dakota.
    There are too many already.

  39. John 2024-01-08 08:15

    Immigration remains in the news. The US and Mexico renewed talks to improve the situation. Recent reductions showed that Mexicans are capable of enforcing measures that reduce the immigration into the US. The US and Mexico have broad agreement that both need to improve the political and economic situation in Central America.

    Mexico is in the catbird seat. Mexico has several demands of the US. These demands will reduce immigration — all the while blow-up the heads of hard-right republican wing nuts.
    Mexico “called on the U.S. to approve a plan that would deploy $20 billion to Latin American and Caribbean countries, suspend the U.S. blockade of Cuba, remove all sanctions against Venezuela and grant at least 10 million Hispanics living in the U.S. the right to remain and work legally.”
    Together, implementing these measures will make life in Central America more tenable and thus, reduce illegal immigration.

    The US should have implemented the Mexican demands decades ago, without Mexico asking for a quid-pro-quo.

  40. Donald Pay 2024-01-08 09:27

    Grudz, “We” is who? If there are too many people, why don’t you leave? You have every right to move. You don’t have a right to interfere with the movement of others.

  41. Arlo Blundt 2024-01-08 12:12

    Grudznick–too many people in South Dakota?? Have you driven through the James River Valley lately??

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