This is the most predictable news in recent history. Anyone who doesn’t understand what’s happening at the border, as the number of juvenile illegal aliens surges by a thousand percent since 2011, is an absolute fool. Unfortunately, blinkered fools are at the helm during our immigration debate, so this article from Reuters hems and haws through half a dozen tortured explanations for the astonishing surge of young illegals before arriving at the obvious primary reason: they’re coming because they know the open borders crowd is dying to give them amnesty. Free citizenship is dangled before people from hellish Central American countries, and they quite logically and understandably come to collect it.
Tens of thousands of children unaccompanied by parents or relatives are flooding across the southern U.S. border illegally, forcing the Obama administration and Congress to grapple with both a humanitarian crisis and a budget dilemma.
An estimated 60,000 such children will pour into the United States this year, according to the administration, up from about 6,000 in 2011. Now, Washington is trying to figure out how to pay for their food, housing and transportation once they are taken into custody.
The flow is expected to grow. The number of unaccompanied, undocumented immigrants who are under 18 will likely double in 2015 to nearly 130,000 and cost U.S. taxpayers $2 billion, up from $868 million this year, according to administration estimates.
The shortage of housing for these children, some as young as 3, has already become so acute that an emergency shelter at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, has been opened and can accommodate 1,000 of them, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in an interview with Reuters.
The issue is an added source of tension between Democrats and Republicans, who disagree on how to rewrite immigration laws. With comprehensive legislation stalled, President Barack Obama is looking at small, administrative steps he could take, which might be announced this summer. No details have been outlined but immigration groups are pressing him to take steps to keep families with children together.
The minors flooding over the border are often teenagers leaving behind poverty or violence in Mexico and other parts of Central America such as Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. They are sometimes seeking to reunite with a parent who is already in the United States, also without documentation.
Has there ever been a more obvious case of cause and effect? The American ruling class fawns over young illegals as “Dreamers,” holding them up as better than native-born and legal citizens in many ways, promising them a full menu of benefits. The only real debate concerns how sweeping their amnesty will be, how long it will take before they have full access to the panoply of American social programs, and whether it will all arrive via Obama’s executive orders or action by the open-borders crowd in Congress.
We’re going to spend a few billion dollars coping with “unintended consequences” that arrive before the laws are even passed. Usually you have to pass an ill-considered law before the “unintended consequences” come knocking, but in this case the consequences are already parked in emergency shelters in Texas, costing the American taxpayer $252 apiece per day.
Who can blame them? The American Ruling Class is handing them a gold-trimmed invitation to illegally cross the border. The other factors cited by Reuters – horrible economic conditions, political violence and drug wars – are certainly incentives to make the journey, but the sure and certain promise of fabulous rewards for any young person who gets a foot across the border is a magnet that outweighs other factors. Under Barack Obama, it’s become almost impossible to get deported, even for adult illegals who commit serious additional crimes, contrary to the weird efforts to mythologize Obama as some kind of deportation hardliner. “Dreamers” have every reason to think crossing the border means they win the immigration game.
It’s sadly amusing to see references to the supposedly improving American economy as factor in increased illegal immigration, seeing as how the first quarter of 2014 was just officially revised downward from near-zero economic growth into an outright contraction. But even in the grip of endless Obama malaise, the U.S. economy offers a far better future than what the young illegals are fleeing, and one suspects the news about the U.S. economy most of them are getting is closer to White House spin than the unlovely truth.
Of course, anyone who makes the obvious connection between immigration policy and the surge in border crossings is accused of playing politics, not to mention xenophobia:
The budget and border-security implications of the problem could spill into campaigns for the November congressional elections, especially in Senate races in states with significant immigrant populations, such as North Carolina and Colorado.
Republican Representative John Carter of Texas blamed Obama for what he called a “nightmare at the border” with “tens of thousands of children” being smuggled into the United States.
In an opinion piece in The Hill newspaper last month, Carter said Obama’s policies had created an “invitational posture for illegal immigrants.” He said the administration helped to fuel the crossings with a 2012 decision to give temporary relief from deportation to certain children brought to the United States illegally by their parents.
Immigration advocacy groups point out that the unaccompanied youths coming to the United States since 2011 would not qualify under that program.
[Bush Administration immigration official Mark] Lagon criticized the “political canard from my fellow Republicans” who suggest the tide of unaccompanied minors is the result of Obama policies, especially given Obama???s aggressive deportation policy since he became president in 2009.
Repeat after me: there is no aggressive Obama deportation policy. It’s pure myth, achieved by cooking the books to include people intercepted at the border as “deportations.” Out here in the real world, the Obama Administration put 68,000 illegal aliens guilty of additional offenses, including some violent ones, back on the streets last year instead of deporting them. And as the rest of the Reuters article makes clear, these young “Dreamers” are not being turned back at the border – they’re turning into refugee-camp humanitarian crisis.
The precise effects of massive national policies can be difficult to predict – which is one of the arguments for having as few massive national policies as possible – but the link between increased illegal immigration and promises of amnesty is as solid and obvious as a suspension bridge hanging across the border. People respond to incentives; a crime with little risk of detection or punishment will be committed more frequently; and when the political class declares it isn’t really a “crime” at all, but instead an act of noble virtue, what rational person is surprised to see a dramatic increase in undesirable behavior?
We do still think crossing the border in defiance of our immigration laws is “undesirable,” even if it’s not really illegal in any meaningful sense… don’t we? Do the legal citizens of the United States have anything to say about the mounting humanitarian crisis at the border, or are we just supposed to shut up and pay for it? Do we still have anything to say about the number of new citizens accepted into the country, or the manner in which citizenship is conferred?
If the answer to all of those questions is “no” – as nearly the entire Democrat Party and a sizable portion of the Republican Party would insist – then let’s stop putting young lives at risk and start providing escort services for the inbound “Dreamers.” Use military ground and air transportation to pick them up at designated “Dream Stations” and bring them safely into the United States, sparing them a long, arduous, and extremely dangerous journey from their awful countries of origin. How can we live with ourselves for forcing them to go through such tribulations, unaccompanied by an adult in many of these recent cases? Are we saying that the only meaningful barrier to immigration and free citizenship for “Dreamers” is the chance that they might die on the way to collect the invitation we have extended to them?
What’s the point of spending tons of money on a border security system that cannot and will not stop a large percentage of the people who violate the border? That’s one of the reasons it’s a mistake to focus entirely on physical border security in the “comprehensive immigration reform” debate – the incentives our social policies provide to defeat that security are important too. It can’t be a game that ends in decisive victory when the feet of an intruder touch U.S. soil. The highest border fences in the world don’t matter if social policies give people strong enough incentives to climb it… or dump their young children in front of it.
What we’re doing right now is madness, inflicted by the reluctance of the Ruling Class to be completely honest with the American people about what it wants, and what the inevitable consequences of its agenda will be.