The recent surge of illegal immigrant children across our southern border is a humanitarian tragedy that is only now being understood. Almost 50,000 children, without adult supervision, have been captured since October, and most project that number will rise to 90,000 by September.
Note that this is not some small variation; that is a 100% increase over the same period last year.
This surge did not occur in a vacuum. President Obama has before and after his re-election promised the loosening of immigration rules on deportation, and has widely announced that he wanted to sign executive orders furthering those ideals. He first signed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals memorandum in June 2012, which directs US Immigration officials to practice ‘prosecutorial discretion when it comes to illegal undocumented youth immigrants.
These moves, unsurprisingly, have not gone unnoticed south of the border. In fact, in many countries in Central and South America, there are editorials and TV broadcasts that have touted this change. This has often been misinterpreted as a true amnesty, and thus many uneducated families have made the decision that if the door has swung wide open for their children, they can’t miss the opportunity to jump through that door.
And that has resulted in a change of behavior across the board. Unaccompanied minors now are surging the border, in hopes to benefit from Obama’s DACA, even if this is an incorrect understanding of the rules the President signed into force. But even more so, those children are purposefully being apprehended by immigration officials. This from USA Today:
One key difference the recent arrivals are displaying from their predecessors: They’re not bothering to sneak deeper into Texas, opting instead to turn themselves in and allow U.S. policy toward immigrant youth decide their fate, said Chris Cabrera, a McAllen-based Border Patrol agent and vice president of the local chapter of the National Border Patrol Council. “We’re seeing record numbers of children coming across,” he said. “We’re dealing with so many of them turning themselves in that it makes it hard for our agents to focus on anything else.”
Legally of course this is not what President Obama intended. But the logical result of his policies is not surprising whatsoever. Uneducated, non-English speaking people across the world heard what they wanted to hear; a President basically removing the major blockade for their children to enter the United States. Did Mr. Obama really expect a different result?
“They should be sent back as soon as it can be determined who responsible adults in their families are, because there are concerns whether all of them should be sent back,” Clinton said. “But I think all of them who can be should be reunited with their families.”
This is a major quandary for the Obama Administration, who has made the ‘virtual’ DREAM act one of their second term priorities. Furthermore, there are practical realities: once we allow the children across the border, our laws give them specific protections. Here from Frank Sharry of America’s Voice, via Greg Sargent:
“It’s easy to say they should all be sent home. But that’s really hard to do. The law requires them to get their day in court, and many will qualify for some form of relief. You have to make sure these kids have an opportunity to present their situation in court, because they are more like refugees than immigrants. Making sure they show up would require holding all these kids in huge detention centers — rather than releasing them to family — and a massive infusion in judges to relieve the backlog of the courts, neither of which is possible under current budgetary and political restraints.”
We all agree with this. There is a balance between the law and being humane. The problem here is…Obama shifted the balanc, and therein lies the basic problem with the entire episode.
Democrats have long believed that loosening immigration rules, followed by enforcement of hiring and border protections, would stem the tide of illegal immigration. However, they get the chronological order completely backwards.
This story shows the fundamental flaw in their logic, and why their plan will never work. Once you loosen the rules on illegal immigrants, foreigners who are desperately poor and have no other choices will make the choice that has now open to them. In this case, President Obama’s order, unintentionally but still forcefully, shifted the dynamic in such a way to make it worthwhile for hundreds of thousands of parents to send their children unaccompanied across the US border, in hopes that Mr. Obama’s administration would largely keep their promise of not deporting the majority of them, and thus, giving them a backdoor legal status into the United States.
Furthermore, because of the laws already existing, we must give those children due process. In other words, because of the already existing backlog of cases, many of these minors could spend months, if not years potentially, in holding camps. Is that humane?
Liberals will argue that was never Obama’s intent. Maybe so, but the results are the same. This goes to the heart of the matter on comprehensive immigration reform. I support immigration reform, and even support the DREAM act in theory, but the entire system will fail until you secure the border. No legalization process or amnesty will long survive the reality that our border is quite open. If you don’t secure the border…the surge of immigrants is the result.
This entire episode in liberal experimentation with social engineering proves that.