Mex­i­can-Amer­i­can border re­mains por­ous

Record num­ber of cross­ings goes against Obama se­cu­rity nar­ra­tive

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY STEPHEN DI­NAN

The South­west border has bro­ken open in re­cent weeks, with non-Mex­i­cans — and il­le­gal im­mi­grant chil­dren in par­tic­u­lar — cross­ing at a record rate in Oc­to­ber, ac­cord­ing to Border Pa­trol sta­tis­tics that sug­gest the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s vic­tory lap ear­lier this year was pre­ma­ture.

Nearly 5,000 un­ac­com­pa­nied chil­dren were caught in Oc­to­ber, and nearly 3,000 more had been caught in the first half of Novem­ber — a record pace for those months — and it sig­nals just how closely smug­gling car­tels and would-be il­le­gal im­mi­grants them­selves are pay­ing at­ten­tion to lax en­force­ment in the U.S.

Worse yet, the in­creases are bor­der­wide, with ev­ery one of the nine South­west border sec­tors show­ing spikes in what the Border Pa­trol dubs OTMs, or “other than Mex­i­cans.”

Those who track the is­sue said the surges show a break­down in en­force­ment, and called it wor­ry­ing at a time of height­ened in­ter­na­tional dan­ger.

“The great­est ex­is­ten­tial threat to this na­tion right now is this ad­min­is­tra­tion’s open-border pol­icy. This is no longer about im­mi­gra­tion, it’s about the pres­i­dent and DHS keep­ing open the cor­ri­dors on the southern border that are ac­ces­si­ble to any­one in the world,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can who has raised con­cerns over na­tional se­cu­rity risks at the border.

“We can de­fend our coun­try against an­other coun­try’s navy, a mis­sile threat and even re­pel a con­ven­tional mil­i­tary in­va­sion. But the pres­i­dent’s pol­icy of al­low­ing any­one into the na­tion as stu­dents or refugees presents a se­ri­ous threat,” he said.

Some 25,000 il­le­gal im­mi­grants from El Salvador, Hon­duras and Gu­atemala have been caught in the first seven weeks of the fis­cal year, which be­gan Oct. 1 — an in­crease of 58 per­cent. The num­ber of Chi­nese, Brazil­ians, In­di­ans and, strik­ingly, Cubans, has each surged by more than 100 per­cent, and the num­ber from Pak­istan, while small over­all, has spiked from 6 at this point last year to 31 now — an in­crease of more than 400 per­cent.

Syria, strik­ingly, is not on the list — de­spite re­cent re­ports that Syr­i­ans have been ap­pre­hended on the border in the mid­dle of the re­cent refugee de­bate.

Border Pa­trol of­fi­cials in Wash­ing­ton didn’t of­fer an ex­pla­na­tion for the surge, which con­tra­dicts the sunny out­look of­fi­cials have pub­licly por­trayed. In­deed, the last fis­cal year saw il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion over­all, as mea­sured by num­ber of ap­pre­hen­sions, drop to its low­est rate since the 1970s.

That was chiefly pow­ered by a fall in Mex­i­can mi­gra­tion, which has dropped off dra­mat­i­cally in the last five years. But it’s be­ing re­placed by a big­ger flow from Cen­tral Amer­ica, par­tic­u­larly of women and chil­dren who are flee­ing grim con­di­tions back home and tak­ing ad­van­tage of lax poli­cies here in the U.S. that grant them ac­cess to the na­tion’s in­te­rior and leave lit­tle dan­ger of them be­ing de­ported any­time soon.

In­deed, in court doc­u­ments the ad­min­is­tra­tion has ad­mit­ted both the smug­gling car­tels and would-be crossers pay close at­ten­tion to U.S. poli­cies, and any per­ceived re­lax­ation of en­force­ment en­tices more of them to un­der­take the per­ilous jour­ney.

That’s ex­actly what il­le­gal im­mi­grants them­selves are telling Border Pa­trol agents when they’re caught, ac­cord­ing to an As­so­ci­ated Press re­port last month. The mi­grants say they be­lieve that un­der Mr. Obama’s poli­cies, they will earn a “per­miso,” or free pass, if they can reach the U.S. border.

“It’s the same story as last year,” said Shawn Mo­ran, spokesman for the Na­tional Border Pa­trol Coun­cil, the la­bor union that rep­re­sents line agents. “Our agents are still get­ting ham­mered.”

Stephen Miller, spokesman for Sen. Jeff Ses­sions and the im­mi­gra­tion sub­com­mit­tee of the Se­nate Com­mit­tee on the Ju­di­ciary, said il­le­gal im­mi­grants are re­spond­ing to the push for le­niency in the U.S., in­clud­ing the 2013 Se­nate bill that would have le­gal­ized most il­le­gal im­mi­grants, Mr. Obama’s ex­ec­u­tive ac­tions halt­ing most de­por­ta­tions and the in­creas­ing use of “catch-and-release” poli­cies for il­le­gal im­mi­grant women and chil­dren.

“Th­ese are im­mense pull fac­tors,” Mr. Miller said. “This surge oc­curs at a time when the fed­eral gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS PHO­TO­GRAPHS

Nearly 5,000 un­ac­com­pa­nied chil­dren were nabbed try­ing to cross the southern U.S. border in Oc­to­ber and 3,000 more in Novem­ber, giv­ing hu­man smug­glers a win over au­thor­i­ties.

U.S. au­thor­i­ties are pre­dict­ing that nearly 5,000 chil­dren will be in cus­tody in to­tal by the end of Novem­ber. When the chil­dren are placed with U.S. fam­i­lies, they tend to skip de­por­ta­tion hear­ings and dis­ap­pear into the shad­ows with 11 mil­lion other il­le­gals.

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