Michael Barone

They want a provision adding Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador as countries to which underage illegals can promptly be deported. Currently the William Wilberforce Anti-Trafficking Act of 2008 provides exceptions only for Canada and Mexico.

That made sense in legislation designed to protect relatively small numbers of minors brought into the country by sex traffickers. It doesn't make sense when very large numbers of underage migrants come in with the apparent intention of remaining here permanently.

Liberals want to treat the underage illegals as something like political refugees, fleeing from countries with horrifying high crime rates. That means letting them stay here indefinitely.

That seems to be what is happening. The young people are being shipped to relatives and friends and told to come to immigration hearings when they can be held. Few probably ever will.

There seems little doubt that this is understood in Central America. There wouldn't be such a large surge of people crossing the border illegally if people had not gotten they idea that they had permisos to do so.

The flood at the border has seriously undermined the argument that legalization will not trigger another rush of illegal immigration, as the 1986 legislation did. And it has undermined as well those in both parties who argue that this administration can be trusted to secure the border.

So the debate about immigration inevitably moves away from legalization and toward deportation and enforcement.

All this moves the focus even further away from the immigration reform that the country really needs and that the 2013 Senate bill does only a little to address: the need for more high-skill immigrants.

Canada and Australia have immigration laws that reserve most places for those with high skills. We have been reserving more places for reunification of extended families.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry warned Obama two years ago that the current flood would occur. Obama paid no heed.

As an old saying of mine goes, nothing is free in politics, but there is some question when you pay the price. Obama is paying now.

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