If there is one thing that is always true about President Obama, it is that nothing is ever his fault. Hence his workmanlike performance at a press conference in Dallas yesterday, designed to shift the blame for the current border crisis away from himself and on to Republicans in Congress. Obama's border blame game is premised on five big lies all detailed below.
1. The current crisis is being caused by violence in Central America.
"I think that the challenge we have that has really caused a spike is the significant security challenges in these Central American countries themselves," Obama said yesterday. And it is undeniably true that Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala are very violent countries.
But the current wave of violence in all three of these countries peaked in 2009 and has been declining since. Asylum requests from those countries to surrounding countries has risen since 2009, but that doesn't explain why a rising tide of migrants since 2009 suddenly turned into a tsunami just this year.
The reality is that word has gotten back to Central America about the very real facts on the ground here in the United States. The truth, not rumors, of the matter is that migrants from Central America simply are not being sent home.
Yes, a 2008 law signed by President Bush is partly to blame. But so are a series of memos written by Obama's DHS making it a matter of policy not to even apprehend, let alone deport, non-violent illegal immigrants.
It is the combination of the 2008 law requiring Border Patrol agents turn migrants from countries-other-than-Mexico over to Health and Human Services, combined with Obama's refusal to enforce interior immigration laws (this includes but is not limited to DACA), that has created the reality that people from Central America are being released deep into the United States with permisos.
2. Most of the children crossing the border now will be sent home.
"While we intend to do the right thing by these children, their parents need to know that this is an incredibly dangerous situation and it is unlikely that their children will be able to stay," Obama said yesterday, echoing a line his administration has been pushing since the crisis began.
This also is just plain false. Just ask the Center for American Progress' Marshall Fitz who told PBS Monday:
"All of the reporting that has been done so far by international independent agencies, not the Border Patrol, show that somewhere upwards of 58%-60% of the kids are entitled to some form of protection. And we are seeing that. Many of these kids are being granted either asylum or special immigration juvenile protection, or they are getting other visas. So the facts are these kids are eligible for status because they are fleeing traumatic situations in their own countries or they are being trafficked along the way."
One immigration attorney even told Fox News Latino, "The numbers that are eligible are really high... 80 or 90 percent would qualify for some type of relief."
3. The Schumer-Rubio amnesty bill would have prevented the crisis.
Yesterday Obama claimed, "The Senate passed a common-sense, bipartisan bill more than a year ago. It would have strengthened the border, added an additional 20,000 Border Patrol agents. It would have strengthened our backlogged immigration courts. It would have put us in a stronger position to deal with this surge and, in fact, prevent it."
Considering that Obama couldn't build a single website for his signature domestic accomplishment in over three years, it is laughable to claim his administration could have beefed up immigration courts in less than a years time to the level necessary to process the current wave of migrants.
And Obama himself even said earlier in the same press conference, border security is not the problem. The current wave of migrants are not sneaking across the border, they are surrendering to Border Patrol agents.
The only way to prevent the current crisis would have been to repeal the 2008 Trafficking Act. And nothing in the Schumer-Rubio bill did that.
4. Obama's supplemental will solve the current crisis.
"There’s a very simple question here," Obama said yesterday, "and that is Congress just needs to pass the supplemental."
But nothing in the supplemental Obama submitted Tuesday would solve the problem. The current crisis is a policy crisis, not a resource crisis. Giving $1.8 billion to HHS to help migrants in the United States will only encourage more migrants to come.
Until the 2008 Trafficking Act is repealed throwing more money at the border would be like throwing gasoline on a fire.
5. We can solve the current crisis with out repealing the 2008 Trafficking Act
"I indicated to him that part of what we’re looking in the supplemental is some flexibility in terms of being able to preserve the due process rights of individuals who come in, but also to make sure that we’re sending a strong signal that they can’t simply show up at the border and automatically assume that they’re going to be absorbed."
Obama is in a hard place. He knows the 2008 Trafficking Act must be repealed, but he has faced heavy pushback from his base against repealing it. He could, of course, just simply use the same executive enforcement powers he used to create DACA to also simply ignore the 2008 Trafficking Act, but his base would never allow that.
He desperately needs political cover from Republicans to fix the problem. But Senate Democrats are never going to agree to just repeal the 2008 Trafficking Act. They are going to demand a larger amnesty closer to the Schumer-Rubio bill in return.
Republicans can't play this game. They can't let Democrats create a border crisis and then demand Republicans accept policy concessions in return for agreeing to clean their own mess. The House should pass a simple repeal of the 2008 Trafficking Act and say they will consider Obama's supplemental request after he starts enforcing the pre-2008 border procedures.