Hell on the bor­der

A surge of mis­er­ables grows as Obama’s days of mis­man­age­ment wane

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL -

Barack Obama’s legacy, in­tended or not, is the hell on the bor­der that he in­vited and nur­tures. The cri­sis is darker than ever, and the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion seems only to know how to make it worse.

The num­ber of il­le­gal aliens surg­ing across the Rio Grande is grow­ing by ev­ery day and night, and the Bor­der Pa­trol is re­duced in some places to mind­ing day­care cen­ters. The United States is show­ing kind­ness and com­pas­sion, which is all to the good, to those who never felt it or saw it in their home coun­tries. It’s tak­ing a toll on Amer­i­can in­ter­ests.

Mark Mor­gan, the chief of the Bor­der Pa­trol, told Congress of his agents’ frus­tra­tions on Wed­nes­day in tes­ti­mony to the Se­nate Home­land Se­cu­rity Com­mit­tee.

“Agents, one of their jobs dur­ing the day, is to make sure the bur­ri­tos that are be­ing pro­vided are be­ing warmed prop­erly,” he told the se­na­tors. “It re­ally is child-care stuff that we’re do­ing, mak­ing sure that they’re able to sleep, mak­ing sure they get ap­pro­pri­ate meals dur­ing the day, make sure they have snacks, that meals are warm.”

Chief Mor­gan’s de­scrip­tion of what’s hap­pen­ing was dis­puted across town by Jeh John­son, the sec­re­tary of Home­land Se­cu­rity, at a fo­rum spon­sored by the Bi­par­ti­san Pol­icy Center. He pre­scribes greater at­ten­tion to “un­der­ly­ing cir­cum­stances” in Cen­tral Amer­i­can coun­tries.

“Ex­pe­ri­ence shows that you can build more walls and you can put more bor­der se­cu­rity on the south­west bor­der, but you’ve got to ad­dress the un­der­ly­ing cir­cum­stances in Gu­atemala, Hon­duras and El Sal­vador that mo­ti­vate a 7-yearold child to tran­sit the en­tire length of Mex­ico, come to the United States for a bet­ter life. Un­til we start ad­dress­ing these un­der­ly­ing con­di­tions and un­til we build out the al­ter­na­tive safe le­gal paths to come to this coun­try, we’re go­ing to deal with this prob­lem.”

This sounds like a half-baked pre­scrip­tion for a re­turn to a colo­nial­ism, to do for these na­tions what they can’t do for them­selves.

The sto­ries brought by these as­pir­ing im­mi­grants are heart­break­ing. Sen. Thomas Carper, Delaware Demo­crat, tells of en­coun­ter­ing a Gu­atemalan boy who fled to Delaware to es­cape a gang in his home coun­try. He re­sisted join­ing a gang un­til he was told to “join or die.” When told that his ini­ti­a­tion was to rape his 13-year-old sis­ter, his par­ents sent them both to the United States.

“The rea­son why they have the kind of vi­o­lence down there is in large part be­cause of us,” the sen­a­tor says. “It’s be­cause of our ad­dic­tion to drugs and the flow of drugs through those na­tions, and to come to our bor­ders, we send them guns and money.”

The sen­a­tor has a point, but the United States no less than any other na­tion in the world has a sov­er­eign right to de­fine its bor­ders and say who comes in, and how, and when. This is a fun­da­men­tal truth of­ten lost in the im­mi­gra­tion de­bate.

The numbers over­whelm­ing the bor­der dipped in 2015, re­ports our Stephen Dinan, but have surged this year to record numbers of 77,674 aliens in fam­i­lies, and most heart­break­ing of all, 59,692 un­ac­com­pa­nied mi­nors, some as young as 7 or 8 years old.

Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, an ad­viser to the Trump tran­si­tion team, says tran­si­tion of­fi­cials are con­sid­er­ing threat­en­ing Mex­ico to se­cure their south­ern bor­der with Cen­tral Amer­ica, a choke point of refugees stream­ing north, or risk rene­go­ti­a­tion of the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment. But Mex­ico does not want to do much, pre­fer­ring to use its bor­der with the United States as a way to dis­card its tired, its poor and its masses yearn­ing to breathe free and find some­thing to eat. This is Barack Obama’s inau­gu­ra­tion gift to Don­ald Trump.

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