If you’re anything like me, you may have avoided most hard news over the holiday weekend. So you may have missed this:
President Obama and his aides have repeatedly sought to dispel the rumors driving thousands of children and teens from Central America to cross the U.S. border each month with the expectation they will be given a permiso and allowed to stay.
But under the Obama administration, those reports have proved increasingly true.
The number of immigrants under 18 who were deported or turned away at ports of entry fell from 8,143 in 2008, the last year of the George W. Bush administration, to 1,669 last year, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement data released under a Freedom of Information Act request.
Similarly, about 600 minors were ordered deported each year from nonborder states a decade ago. Ninety-five were deported last year, records show, even as a flood of unaccompanied minors from Central America — five times more than two years earlier — began pouring across the Southwest border.
The LA Times accompanies the story with a chart showing that deportations of under-18 illegal aliens peaked in 2008 and has gone down rapidly every year since, to less than a quarter of deportations in 2013 versus 2008. Deportations down, then, while the numbers of illegal border crossings is way up.
The LAT then moves over into a discussion of a 2008 law that some are not blaming for the influx of underage illegal aliens — the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. That passed by bipartisan voice vote in 2008 and President George W. Bush signed it into law. While very well-intentioned, that law has evidently created a hole for the cartels and human smugglers to exploit. They are selling pathways into the US, telling their customers that all kids need to do is claim that they’re under threat of violence or trafficking back home and they will get to stay in the US. In some cases, parents are reportedly selling everything they own to pay the smugglers to get their kids to the US, on the hope that their kids will get to stay, and then through chain migration, the parents can follow in a year or a few years.
The factual problem with blaming the Wilberforce law is that the flood of illegal aliens didn’t really begin at the US-Mexico border until 2013, after President Obama announced two major changes to US immigration law that favored minors brought illegally to the US by their parents.
Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) is introducing a fix to the Wilberforce law as Congress gets back from the holiday this week. It would allow Border Patrol to send kids from countries other than Mexico and Canada quickly back to their countries of origin. Prediction: It will pass the House, and get no vote at all in the Senate. After that, immigration activists will denounce it as “racist.” That’s how these things usually go. Scratch that, it’s how they always go. Any attempt to bring some security to the border, or resist the Obama administration’s machinations, is denounced by some on the left as “racist” when race has very very little if anything to do with what’s happening. The fact is, it’s just not fair to demand American taxpayers and communities pick up the bill for these kids. Cities on the border are having holes blown in their budgets, and even cities far from the border are starting to recognize that if the government sets up a holding camp in their vicinity, they will end up paying — these kids will have to attend schools, and will end up utilizing other social services, before long.
Some pressure is mounting on the Obama administration from within the Democratic Party, but not much, and so far it’s not effective. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) is voicing dissatisfaction with how Obama is handling the border. But he is in the House, he’s from Texas, and he’s not Harry Reid.
Obama is visiting Texas this week, but the border isn’t on his itinerary. He will not even visit it or any of the sites around the state where the children are being housed and cared for.