President Obama describes the thousands of unaccompanied minors flooding over the Southwest border as a “humanitarian crisis.” Obama’s convenient labeling takes the heat off him for his years of immigration law neglect.
In reality, what’s happening on the border is the logical outcome of the president’s world-welcoming policies followed by his various proclamations that for those who come, few will be deported. The biggest lure is Obama’s 2012 executive order, his deferred action for childhood arrivals program that, to date, has granted legal status and work authorization to more than 500,000 illegal immigrants.
Unfortunately, the young Central American aliens and their mothers’ unchecked entry has frightening similarities to another immigration disaster, the Mariel boat lift. With President Jimmy Carter’s blessing, in 1980 Cuban refugees — whose total eventually reached 125,000 — disembarked in Florida. Among them were hardened criminals and the mentally ill.
At first, the media described the Cubans as escaping Fidel Castro’s Communist regime.
Before long, even the most ardent Carter supporters like the New York Times and the Miami Herald acknowledged the president’s colossal misjudgment. Times Pulitzer Prize winning columnist James Reston correctly charged Castro with “exporting his failures.” The Herald, anticipating the adverse effect thousands of Cubans with dubious backgrounds and few work skills would have on the local Miami economy, questioned the wisdom of uncontrolled Cuban immigration.
Like Carter with Mariel, the Obama White House knows little about the Central Americans’ backgrounds other than, like the Cubans were, they’re poor, unskilled and unlikely long-term contributors to the American economy. Beyond that, Homeland Security has no idea who they are. The Senate has approved $2 billion to feed, shelter and provide medical treatment to the aliens, with more billions to come.
As the facts leak out, the border story becomes more untenable. In his Senate Judiciary Committee testimony before Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Ted Cruz reported that some of the children have been turned over, not to their U.S. relatives as the media has spun it, but into prostitution and sex slavery. Although immigration officials are struggling to take hold of the inundated border, they’re overwhelmed.
The facts behind the catastrophic border situation is that the minors aren’t running away from violence or escaping possible gang cruelty. Instead, they’re responding to a well-orchestrated campaign in their home countries urging them to head for the U.S., where they know Obama will do nothing, and they will eventually become legal permanent residents.
Here’s a word-for-word excerpt published in La Voz, a leading Honduran newspaper: “During their stay in addition to accommodations and food, children receive English classes, play sports and participate in targeted programs while immigration authorities contact their families.”
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández pleaded with Congress to increase its financial aid to his country so it could create social programs to assist the country in developing more self-sufficiency, exactly the wrong solution. More than 13,000 Hondurans have been detained this year, up from 1,000 in 2009.
One quick way to end the ongoing illegal immigrant flow is, instead of transporting them to California and Texas military bases, drop them off at the Central American Washington D.C. embassies with instructions to the consulates that until they’re returned home, financial aid to the sending countries will end.
Without firm U.S. action, more illegal immigration is sure to follow.
Joe Guzzardi, who lived in Lodi for 25 years, frequently writes about social issues. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.