I missed it at the time, but this video of Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Fox News Sunday has been brought to my attention. He makes many of the same points I’ve been making about the border crisis, including the profound lack of “compassion” behind American policies that prompt Central American parents to send their children on a dangerous journey to the U.S. border. It’s a lengthy appearance I thought worthy of its own post, instead of tucking it away at the bottom of another. (Cruz also discusses the destruction of Flight MH17 in Ukraine at the end of the segment.)
I doubt his preferred solution involves opening “refugee” processing stations in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, so the American taxpayer can provide more reliable transportation across our functionally non-existent border. That might be safer for the (ostensibly) two thousand or so children drawn into the program, but it would only exacerbate the crisis at the border, as the other 60,000+ Unaccompanied Alien Minors – plus an even larger contingent of adults – redouble their efforts to get across the border.
Cruz is straightforward about tagging Obama’s amnesty orders as the cause of the current crisis, and he has the numbers to back him up: “The cause of this crisis is the promise of amnesty. If you look at the history of this issue, in 2011, there were roughly 6,000 children apprehended coming in illegally. Then in 2012, President Obama unilaterally granted amnesty to some 800,000 people who were here illegally, who entered as children. The direct foreseeable consequence of that was the number of unaccompanied children skyrocketed so that this year the Obama Administration’s estimating 90,000 kids will come next year; 145,000. That’s up from just 6,000 three years ago.”
Not only is it remarkable that anyone would seriously try to dispute this – the aliens themselves are quite forthcoming about their motivations for making the journey – but it’s exactly what critics of “comprehensive immigration reform” predicted would happen. As with health care, I guess immigration is one of those discussions where we’re supposed to ignore the people who have always been right, and keep listening to the people who have always been wrong.
Cruz believes an important first step in resolving the crisis involves making it crystal clear to everyone, both in the U.S. and abroad, that no further amnesty giveaways will be coming from the White House: “It is the opposite of compassionate to continue this crisis. I don’t want to see tens of thousands of little boys and little girls being physically assaulted, being sexually assaulted by drug dealers. The way to fix it, the bill I’ve introduced is a very simple bill. It is a page and a half. And it simply says the President cannot grant amnesty going forward. It prohibits the President from granting amnesty.”
That’s not a political stunt designed to embarrass the President; any embarrassment he might feel is entirely his fault. (Barack Obama’s capacity for shame is a topic of lively debate, even on the standard grading curve for politicians.) Cruz is dealing with a real threat. Obama has talked about issuing more amnesty orders, and there is great political pressure coming from the Democrat Party for him to do so. It’s a nearly irresistible election-year pander, made only slightly more resistible by the current furor over the border crisis. The opportunity to plant an amnesty flag, and call anyone who refuses to salute a heartless monster who hates children, is too alluring.
Which brings me back around to the Democrat talking point that aliens have been tricked across the border by smugglers, or made a foolish mistake based on misunderstanding Obama’s amnesty orders. On the contrary, they are savvy observers of the American political scene. The more one understands the political forces that deform U.S. immigration policy, the better one calculates the odds of achieving permanent residency by crossing the border. Everything happening in Democrat politics, and the Republican amnesty caucus – including the willful misinterpretation of the William Wilberforce anti-human-trafficking act, which Cruz discusses here – contributes to a calculation that violating the southern border makes sense. Cruz also cited the push for the Gang of Eight “comprehensive immigration reform” bill, with its pretense of border security later in exchange for amnesty today.
Every signal sent by the U.S. political class says “come,” while virtually nothing concrete says “ignoring American immigration law is a terrible mistake.” These signals are so lopsided that it would be darkly comical, if not for the gigantic humanitarian crisis they have produced.
Watch the part of this Fox News Sunday segment that includes comments from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, about six minutes in. If you’re living in Honduras, and you see this old fool babbling about Republicans “holding kids hostage” by slowing down the amnesty machine, while claiming that “the border is secure” (yes, he really says that, with a wave of his hands for emphasis) what conclusions do you draw about the chances of getting your child into American permanently? You’re seeing an American political class bending over backward to accommodate you – an amnesty caucus willing to hurl vile insults at those who even dare to notice the U.S. border is wide open. Given how badly life stinks in Honduras, handing your children off to coyote smugglers makes so much sense that it’s a wonder the border crisis isn’t worse.
Let me cite some criticism of Ted Cruz from a Fox News Latino piece this week, to emphasize the point:
Those who want more lenient treatment of the minors, including a greater focus by the administration on trying to help them stay here, criticized Cruz???s moves.
They say that raging poverty and violence are looming factors in the reasons people flee Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to come to the United States. Taking aim at DACA, they say, which the recent waves of minors from Central American do not qualify for, is misguided.
???To deal with Central American children at the border, he wants to revoke DACA,??? said Frank Sharry, executive director of America???s Voice, which advocates for immigrants, ???which would leave Dreamers vulnerable to deportation two years after President Obama gave these talented and long-established individuals work permits and protection against deportation.???
Sharry told Fox News Latino, ???Cruz will get what he wants, which is lots of media attention and lots of love from the extreme right, but it won???t help his party.??? He added, ???In fact, it will help harden the feeling among Latinos and immigrants that the GOP is an anti-immigrant party, and make it harder for the Republicans to take back the White House in 2016 and beyond.???
That’s not true – Cruz’s bill does not “revoke DACA,” it prevents Obama from issuing more such orders. Prospective illegal immigrants know they have advocates willing to tear everyone serious about protecting the border to shreds, telling whatever lies are necessary, while lionizing alien residents as “dreamers.” Why would anyone currently planning to ship their children north from Central America doubt that his children will quickly be described as “dreamers” and given their own amnesty deal? Why doubt Sharry’s assertion that the pressures of racial politics have better than even odds of squeezing out bipartisan “pathway to citizenship” deals, now and in the future?
“Harry Reid lives in the Ritz-Carlton in D.C.,” Cruz observed, “and I’m sure from his perspective, the border seems secure.” That’s a zinger with a whole world of ugly truth behind it. The people who are not directly, adversely affected by illegal immigration have always indulged their open-borders ideology (and desire to import a more government-friendly electorate) without personal cost. They don’t give a rip about what happens to ranchers, hospital workers, and job-seekers in border states. One of the reasons the current crisis is big news is the comically swift change of attitude experienced by northern Democrats as illegal aliens are resettled into their neighborhoods for the first time. Every state is a border state now.
Inter-state squabbling about where to resettle the new Central American colonists is not going to slow the flood of people streaming across the open border. Neither will rhetorical flourishes meant for domestic political consumption, but meaningless to the very realistic people emerging from Central America. A rational calculation is playing out here. Until now, the American people have been allowed to say nothing about the variables. Either that changes, and fast, or this situation will just keep getting worse.