Obama Aides Knew Crisis Was Building at Border a Year Ago
July 20, 2014 - 7:15 am
The Washington Post is reporting that the Obama administration was fully aware of the spike in illegal alien children crossing the border almost a year ago and failed to do anything to prepare for it.
In fact, despite a report from the Department of Homeland Security that said the crush at the border was going to get much worse, federal officials viewed the crisis as a “local problem” according to WaPo.
Governor Rick Perry sent a letter to the president in 2012, also warning of the brewing crisis. Perry’s letter and the DHS report were ignored until the crisis became unmanageable.
The researchers’ observations were among the warning signs conveyed to the Obama administration over the past two years as a surge of Central American minors has crossed into south Texas illegally. More than 57,000 have entered the United States this year, swamping federal resources and catching the government unprepared.
The administration did too little to heed those warnings, according to interviews with former government officials, outside experts and immigrant advocates, leading to an inadequate response that contributed to this summer’s escalating crisis.
Federal officials viewed the situation as a “local problem,” said Victor Manjarrez Jr., a former Border Patrol station chief who led the UTEP study. The research, conducted last year, was funded by the Department of Homeland Security and published in March. A broader crisis was “not on anyone’s radar,” Manjarrez added, even though “it was pretty clear this number of kids was going to be the new baseline.”
So what was the problem? If you listen closely to what this bureaucrat is saying, since the real-time information didn’t fit in with their graphs and chart projections, they didn’t believe what they were seeing:
“What happened this year was . . . off-the-charts different,” Muñoz said. “It was not the same pattern. We assumed a significant increase, but this was not the same kind of trend line.
“This trend was more like a hockey stick, going up and up and up,” Muñoz added. “Nobody could have predicted the scale of the increase we saw this year. The minute we saw it, we responded in an aggressive way.”
But top officials at the White House and the State Department had been warned repeatedly of the potential for a further explosion in the number of migrant children since the crisis began escalating two years ago, according to former federal officials and others familiar with internal discussions. The White House was directly involved in efforts in early 2012 to care for the children when it helped negotiate a temporary shelter at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.
“There were warning signs, operational folks raising red flags to high levels in terms of this being a potential issue,” said one former senior federal law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly about internal operations.
The former official said the agencies primarily in charge of border security, Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, were “ringing alarm bells” within the administration.
Meanwhile, top officials focused much of their attention on political battles, such as Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign and the push to win congressional support for a broad immigration overhaul, that would have been made more difficult with the addition of a high-profile border crisis.
“I don’t think they ignored this on purpose, but they didn’t know what to do,” said Michelle Brané, director of migrant rights at the Women’s Refugee Commission, which published a 2012 report highlighting the influx of minors. “For whatever reason, there was hesitation to address the root causes. I think the administration was dealing with it at a minimal scale, putting a Band-Aid on something they should have been thinking about holistically.”
In fact, they did their best to hide the surge from Congress and the American people while the president pushed an immigration reform bill that would have done absolutely nothing to stem the flow of illegals crossing the border. There’s a good chance it would have made the situation worse.
Incompetence and a lack of transparency have been the hallmarks of this administration since they took office. It’s no wonder we’ve got an unmanageable crisis when our national leaders prefer to look away and hope for the best rather than deal with the problem.