Michael Barone
The flood of underage -- and non-underage -- illegal immigrants from Central America coming across the border in Texas is, to paraphrase a former Obama administration official, a "man-caused disaster." The man who caused it, more than anyone else, is Barack Obama.

Speaking at political fundraisers in Dallas and Austin last week -- he refused to do a "photo-op" on the border, first things first -- Obama placed the blame on House Republicans for not having passed a comprehensive immigration bill as the Democratic-majority Senate did in June 2013.

But it wasn't only Republicans who failed to pass such a bill. House Democrats didn't pass one either in 2009 or 2010, when they had a bigger majority than Republicans have had in 80 years.

House Democrats' priorities were the stimulus package, Obamacare and cap-and-trade legislation to address supposed global warming. They passed all three despite negative polling -- and even though cap-and-trade had no chance in the Senate.

In the short run Barack Obama paid no political price for the Democrats' decision to sidestep immigration. The only time he got pressed on the issue was a grilling by Univision's Jorge Ramos in September 2012. Obama carried 71 percent of Hispanic votes in November.

But he missed the chance to pass comprehensive immigration reform -- on which, unlike the stimulus, Obamacare and cap-and-trade, he might have had significant Republican support -- by his own choice.

The second thing that led to the flood of underage illegals was Obama's declaration in June 2012, five months before the election, that he would not enforce immigration laws against so-called "dreamers," young adults brought over the border illegally as children who also met certain conditions.

This was a popular move not only among Hispanics but among voters generally. The idea of deporting people who have graduated from high school, are going to college or working or serving in the military is unappealing to almost everyone.

Obama complained then that the Republican House failed to pass a dream act. But his announcement that he would not faithfully execute the law, in a systematic way involving thousands of people, has had reverberations leading to the current crisis.

One is that House Republicans are unwilling to pass any immigration legislation that gives him discretion on how to enforce the law. They seem to be bridling at passing the $3.7 billion package he's seeking to address the problem for which he's largely responsible -- the underage illegal flood.


Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM