As unaccompanied children pour across the southern U.S. border, bringing a melange of needs and potential threats with them, folks once again ask if this could be ”Obama’s Katrina moment.” The phrase conjures George W. Bush’s handling of rescue and relief after the 2005 hurricane that pummeled New Orleans and the Gulf coast.
Regardless of the desire, among some, to shrug a Bush-era slur onto Obama’s shoulders, the current crisis at our border — and Obama’s refusal to visit the border during a fundraising junket in Texas — is actually much worse that “Obama’s Katrina moment,” and here’s why…
#1. Immigration is, constitutionally, a federal responsibility. Disaster relief is not. President Calvin Coolidge actually refused to travel to the disaster region after the Great Flood of 1927 — a move he viewed as political grandstanding, accomplishing nothing. Coolidge resisted efforts to make flood control a federal issue, believing private property owners were responsible. But immigration, unquestionably, belongs in the federal arena.
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution gives the Congress power: “To establish a uniform rule of naturalization…”
Article II, Section 3 says of the president, “he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed…”
As if the constitutional locus of control were not specific enough, the Obama administration and the federal courts have repeatedly slapped the wrists of state and local officials who tried to take the matter into their own hands.