Rich Lowry: Crisis at southern border Obama’s man-caused disaster

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As a defender of the nation’s borders, President Barack Obama is a hell of a pool player.

The president enjoyed a game at a bar in Denver with Colorado governor John Hickenlooper the other day, without the noir atmosphere of his furtive visits to pool halls with his grandfather as a kid, when he felt “the enticement of darkness and the click of the cue ball, and the jukebox flashing its red and green lights.”

Obama’s game the other day was bright and cheery, as one would expect of a president who didn’t have any depressing visits to frightened ranchers, overwhelmed border agents, or desperate migrants on his future itinerary.

The first rule in a crisis for any executive is put on his windbreaker and boots and get out on the ground. President George W. Bush didn’t do it soon enough after Hurricane Katrina and, politically, could never make up for it, no matter how many times he visited New Orleans subsequently. Obama’s bizarre resistance to visiting the border on his fundraising swing out West fueled talk of the influx as Obama’s “Katrina moment.”

The Katrina analogy is both over the top and too generous. It is over the top because the border influx isn’t a deadly catastrophe swallowing an American city. It is too generous because Bush didn’t do anything to bring on Hurricane Katrina, whereas Obama’s policies are responsible for the influx of immigrants from the border. It is, in the argot of his administration, a “man-caused disaster.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the number of immigrants younger than 18 who were deported or turned away from ports of entry declined from 8,143 in 2008 to 1,669 last year. There were 95 minors deported from the entire interior of the country last year. At the same time, the number of unaccompanied alien children arriving from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras exploded from less than 4,000 several years ago to 40,000 since last October.

The White House brushes off criticism that Obama is avoiding the border as mere “optics,” in contrast to its highly substantive focus. But it is still not taking the crisis seriously.

In a letter to Texas governor Rick Perry, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett downgraded the erstwhile “humanitarian crisis” on the border (the president’s words) to an “urgent humanitarian situation.” When pressed on the shift in verbiage, ever-judicious White House press secretary Josh Earnest explained that it is both a crisis and a situation. Yes, it’s that bad.

The nearly $4 billion the president is requesting for the border is not fundamentally about enforcement that will reverse and end the tide, but about managing the influx.

A devastating critique of the request by the Center for Immigration Studies notes that about half of the money goes to the Department of Health and Human Services “for acquisition, construction, improvement, repair, operation, and maintenance of real property and facilities.” The enforcement portion of the request, according to CIS, “is not truly geared toward removal,” but instead to “recouping costs for temporary detention and subsequent transporting of aliens.”

The administration’s reaction to the crisis is just another in a long series of acts of bad faith on immigration. It is asking Congress for more money for its priorities at the same time the president is promising, in effect, to suspend yet more immigration laws in response to the failure of “comprehensive immigration reform.”

Republicans in Congress should crumple up the president’s border request in a ball and start over, with an emphasis on holding migrants near the border and working through their cases quickly to address the short-term crisis, and provisions for interior enforcement to address illegal immigration more broadly.

Of course, even if such a bill were to pass and to be signed into law, that’d be no guarantee that the president of the United States would enforce it. That speaks to an entirely different man-caused disaster.

Comments

Economic Crisis or Humanitarian Crisis

I think we need to gather at the docks and piers and stop the importation of American-named brand products that are being imported into the USA. They are being marketed as American products which they are not. We have to start converting raw materials into finished products here in America.

Is there a similarity in stopping the children at the border while allowing the flooding of the USA market with foreign made products? It was interesting reading the excerpt from the book "Factory Man" by Beth Macy - "If the price is right, you will do anything. We have never seen people before who are this greedy - or this naive... When we get on top, the man said, don't expect us to be dumb enough to do for you what you have been dumb enough to do for us."

Now ain't that a bit too much?

"The first rule in a crisis for any executive is put on his windbreaker and boots and get out on the ground. President George W. Bush didn’t do it soon enough after Hurricane Katrina and, politically, could never make up for it, no matter how many times he visited New Orleans subsequently. Obama’s bizarre resistance to visiting the border on his fundraising swing out West fueled talk of the influx as Obama’s “Katrina moment.”" By law the president needed the governor of the state to request the National Guard and she and the then mayor could not agree on what to do. As it turned out the mayor was too busy exhorting and stashing OPM ($$$)for himself and was recently sentenced to 20 years for it. Don't even try to lay the Crescent State mess on former president George Bush. Oh, by the way, what was President Bush doing during the time? He was where he should have been in his office in the people's White House. As it turned out the Bush family has shown more honesty and character in one finger than all the Democrat presidents since Harry Truman together.

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