A stronger border -- like any obstacle that stands in the way of a flow -- is only part of the solution. Some currents (i.e., perpetual poverty and gang violence) push people out of their country, and others (i.e., free health care and free education) pull people into our country. If the currents that push and pull the people through the sieve are weakened, then the barrier along the border does not need to be as strong.
This is not a simple problem, and it will require multiple complex solutions. For President Obama, his two-day trip to Texas this week focuses on fundraising, and represents a lost opportunity to visit the border and to see firsthand what is happening.
On Fox News, one of Obama's own Democratic congressmen took him to task for not visiting the border. "I'm sure that President Bush thought the same thing, that he could just look at everything from up in the sky, and then he owned it after a long time," said Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), in a reference to Bush's much-criticized flight over the stricken Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. "So I hope this doesn't become the Katrina moment for President Obama, saying that he doesn't need to come to the border. He should come down."
For many of us, the image of President Bush patting FEMA chief Michael Brown on the back while saying, "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job," in 2005, underscored just how out of touch the president was.
Cuellar understands that if you're going to call the flow of children through the border a humanitarian crisis, as the White House did with its request for billions more in aid, then you also have to have a human response. President Obama would serve himself -- and the country -- well by visiting the border, versus simply collecting fundraising checks farther north in the state.