Obama’s Immigration Games Must Be Stopped By The House

Bob Barr

6/25/2014 12:01:00 AM - Bob Barr

One might think the websites of various federal agencies tasked with protecting America’s borders would be information resources about how the Obama Administration is handling the now crisis-level situation at the border. Curiously, however, the “newsroom” sections of websites for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Department of Health and Human Services post no information about the Administration’s current policies or plans for dealing with the “surge” of illegal immigrants flooding across our border with Mexico.

The reason for this deafening silence is clear to anyone following the Administration’s confusing and frequently contradictory response: Neither Obama nor Vice President Biden have a firm grasp on the situation. In a press release issued June 5th (and proudly touted on the DHS homepage), Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson exclaimed after a veiled crack at Republicans, “Almost all of us agree that a child who crossed our border illegally with a parent, or in search of a parent or a better life . . . should be treated differently than adult law-breakers.” Two weeks later after the surge accelerated, making the front page of newspapers across the nation, the Administration announced it would start increasing deportations, going against its previous, pro-amnesty messaging. Even this turn-around was wrapped in confusion, when Biden even more recently implied publicly that at least some of the illegals would not be deported.

This Administration points to scapegoats in every direction at every opportunity. The director of White House Domestic Policy Council went so far as to blame “misinformation that is being deliberately planted by criminal organizations” for creating a false perception about amnesty in the U.S. Contrary to all the Administration’s finger-pointing, much of the blame for the current crisis rests squarely within its own ranks.

Years of loose talk about amnesty has precipitated this latest flood of illegal immigrants cascading across our border, and Obama is leaving U.S. citizens to pick up the tab as he scrambles to clean up his mess.

Obama is burning through millions of taxpayer dollars (the true cost will likely not be known for years) with his spit-and-duct-tape “fixes” to the border crisis. Despite knowing for years about the looming crisis, the Feds had only a single detention facility outfitted for families with children. This utter lack of planning has resulted in Uncle Sam daily flying planeloads of illegals across the country to makeshift detention facilities for “processing” in whatever sites authorities are able to outfit for housing them; such as abandoned nursing homes, colleges and even monasteries. They even attempted to use what they thought to be an abandoned hotel in Grand Island, New York, only to find it renovated as an upscale resort, occupied by its lawful, paying guests.

This is Keystone Kops being played out at a dangerous, national scale.

The situation could be considered comical if not for the extremely serious health, economic and security implications of the border overload. The U.S. Border Patrol already was badly outmatched by the sheer volume of illegal immigrants -- including an unprecedented number of unaccompanied babies, toddlers, children and teenagers -- forcing them to play nanny rather than do their jobs, like actually protecting the border.

“Smugglers wait on the southern banks of the Rio Grande as migrant groups as large as 250 wade across at dusk and turn themselves in to the Border Patrol,” reports The Washington Post, talking to Border Patrol union representative Chris Cabrera. “Then groups of single men proceed to cross under cover of darkness, hoping to slip through” with drugs and other illicit contraband.

It is anybody’s guess as to what else “slips through” while our Border Patrol agents change diapers; but it is safe to say, it is nothing good.

For all the “Amnesty Now” hoopla before the situation at the border hit critical mass, Democrats now are oddly silent. That is, when they are not blaming Republicans for a lack of “comprehensive immigration reform,” as if that would help at this point. However, the acrimonious attacks from Democrats -- in lieu of actually taking action to help protect our borders -- is more than simply another attempt to shift blame onto Republicans. Democrats are intentionally trying to create gridlock in Congress.

Contrary to their inflammatory interviews with HuffPo, Slate and other liberal outlets, Democrats love gridlock. Not only do they try to exploit the crisis for political gain in elections and fundraising letters, but gridlock creates a “leadership vacuum” in which Obama then can justify acting on his own without Congress. Based on past lethargy by the Congress, Democrats know that Obama has no hesitancy to defy constitutional boundaries. So long as Democrats can keep Republicans on the ropes in the press and on the floor of Congress, it opens wide a window for Obama to enact his liberal, pro-amnesty agenda without the political liability of having their names recorded in the Congressional Record as supporters of these disastrous policies.

If Republicans truly want to stop Obama, they must refuse to keep playing the Democrats’ game. For example, rather than battling in the press regarding hypotheticals about a comprehensive immigration package, the Republican-controlled House should pass simple, basic measures such as beefing-up border security. The GOP also should immediately employ its one, true “Big Stick” – the power to deny funding for the Administration’s immigration game-playing.

Engaging in such hard-nosed, but necessary actions would throw the ball directly into Senate Majority Leader Reid’s lap, and stop Obama’s “one man immigration show” dead in its tracks. This also would afford the GOP time to develop a longer-term legislative package on the heels of those smaller, but crucial, measures to secure the border.