Earlier this week, shortly after it was reported that President Barack Obama would request $2 billion to deal with the humanitarian crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border, the president threatened to double down on the policies that caused the crisis in the first place. More specifically, he made clear in a Rose Garden statement that he is considering yet another unilateral suspension of immigration enforcement on his own.
It is exactly this type of administrative action that caused the current crisis and, if he is not careful, could cause another one, costing taxpayers an additional $2 billion or more.
To understand why, just ask the president’s Department of Homeland Security. According to an internal Homeland Security memo analyzing the recent surge of child and female migrants flooding the U.S.-Mexican border, “The main reason the subjects chose this particular time to migrate to the United States was to take advantage of the ‘new’ U.S. ‘law’ that grants a ‘free pass’ or permit.”
Meanwhile, a Homeland Security study concluded that the unaccompanied minors “are aware of the relative lack of consequences they will receive when apprehended at the U.S. border.”
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson implicitly acknowledged that the president’s policies have become a magnet for illegal border crossings. Referring to the deferred-action program that the president announced in June 2012, Johnson felt compelled to inform the world that “The U.S. government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program ... does not apply to a child who crosses the U.S. border illegally today, tomorrow or yesterday.”
It’s become simply undeniable, even to those in his own administration, that the president’s administrative policies — from his deferred-action program to his overall lack of serious immigration enforcement — have played a huge role in encouraging tens of thousands of children to risk their lives by traveling across Mexico.
Drug-and gang-related violence in Central America has been a major problem for many years. But the massive spike in illegal immigration by Central American children didn’t start until 2012 — the same year Obama announced his deferred-action program.
The president insists on blaming Congress, specifically Republicans, for doing nothing. If he wants to know why Congress hasn’t been able to pass immigration reform, all he has to do is look at his own policies, which have created a massive amount of distrust.
It’s now painfully clear that the consequences of the president’s previous executive actions include tens of thousands of children navigating some of the most dangerous migration corridors in the world. As I’ve said many times, there is nothing humane about encouraging mothers, daughters, fathers and sons to put their lives in the hands of criminal smuggling networks controlled by brutal drug cartels.
So I would ask the president: Given all that’s happened, how on earth can you consider another pen and phone policy change that we know will lead to yet another surge of illegal immigration, cost the taxpayers more money and, most alarmingly, put more lives in danger?