As I sit here today, I am thinking about what is happening on our southern border. I have seen a lot of things happen in America in my 52 years on Earth. I have lived through Vietnam protests, race riots in American cities in the 60’s, the Constitutional crisis surrounding Watergate, recessions, outrage over abortion, the L.A. riots after the Rodney King verdict, Hurricane Katrina and others. But, I have never seen anything like what is happening in Texas and Arizona today as a result of the wave of unaccompanied illegal immigrant minors. This thing is big. And I think it will have profound effects on this country for some time to come.
We as Americans, as a whole, are a pretty tolerant bunch. Sometimes we are too tolerant, but it takes quite a bit to get the entire populace pissed off about one particular issue. But, I think we have reached that point with the immigration problem and the current administration’s response, or lack thereof, to the current crisis. In the past few days, I have come to the conclusion that this whole mess may actually be (1) finally the undoing of President Obama, and possibly the Democratic party with him; or (2) a true turning point in the history of our republic, on par with the Tea Act of 1773. Maybe it is going to be both. Illegal immigration has been a problem in this country for years.
Governors, law enforcement officials and citizens in border states have been pleading for help for years. During the Bush administration, Congress authorized a border fence to try to staunch illegals coming across the border. But there seem to be a couple of problems with that. First, I am not a genius or anything, but a fence, by definition encloses something. A piece of fencing that does not do that is just a barrier. Let’s say I am concerned about my neighbor’s dogs coming into my yard and digging up my flower beds. So I decide to put up a fence. Does it do me any good to just fence part of the boundary between my house and his? Of course not. Even a dog is smart enough to walk around to the part of my land that is not fenced. It only does me any good if I put up a fence that is secure and completely protects my yard. But, we have put up a partial fence on the border, had the federal government decree that the border is secure and everything is honky dory. No, it isn’t, at least for people interested in real solutions and not political nonsense. Another thing I find odd is how we deploy the Border Patrol. We pay for the Border Patrol to, well, patrol the border. But it appears that that is not how DHS thinks is the best way to secure the border. It seems that most Border Patrol Agents are staged somewhere around 70-80 miles inside the border, most of them at immigrant checkpoints. Really? How weird it that? That would be like the State of Louisiana creating a special police force to combat violent crime in the City of New Orleans. Not a bad idea I think. But then, they decide to ‘stage’ those officers in Baton Rouge. Now that would make about as much sense as a screen door on a submarine, but that is how we are trying to secure the border.
Now we have discovered that there is a human wave of unaccompanied children entering the country illegally. Estimates are that since January, 52,000 unaccompanied illegals have arrived in Texas and Arizona. The White House denies responsibility and says it is just an anomaly, caused, incidentally they say, by Republicans blocking immigration reform. It has nothing to do with the President going around Congress and setting up key provisions of the Dream Act, which Congress voted against, by executive order. They also deny that they had any warning that it was coming. They found out on the news, just like the rest of us, right? Pay no attention to the fact that DHS was advertising for contractors to provide escort and other services for unaccompanied minors back in January. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. Nothing to see here people, just move along.
Now I was born at night, but it wasn’t last night. As someone once said, if something happens once, it is a random occurrence. If it happens twice, it is a trend. If it happens 52,000 times, it is a pattern. When my boys were growing up, our house was famous for great XBox LAN parties. So, when I came home and one or two friends were in my house, I figured they just popped in by chance. But when I came home and my house was overrun with 40 to 50 teenagers, I knew someone had sent out an invitation. Not exactly rocket science is it?
So now, we have been literally overrun by unaccompanied minor illegals. And I’m sorry, but you have to call a spade a spade. It is illegal for any non-citizen to enter the U.S. without proper permission and documentation. We are housing and feeding them in secret camps, where children are sleeping on the floor with Red Cross blankets, sending them all over the country, without notice to the communities where they are headed and without thought to some credible and serious public health issues. This situation has stirred up the American population like no other issue I can remember. Two things that I think are interesting about how loud and vociferous that reaction has been.
First, there has been a simmering undercurrent in this country about illegal immigration for years. But, for most Americans not living on the border, our response has been lukewarm at best. It reminds me of the story about the scientist and the frog. Supposedly, if you put a frog in a dish full of hot water, it will jump out. But, if you put the frog in cool water and slowly heat it, the frog will just sit there until it boils to death, not noticing the gradual change. We in America are much like that. But in the last month, it seems that not only has the temperature been slowing rising, but all of a sudden, the Administration poured a bucket of boiling oil over the Petri dish. Not only have people jumped, they have jumped high, long and loud.
The second is that the opposition to the current mayhem on the border is so widespread. The alarm about illegal immigration has traditionally been sounded by conservatives, Republicans and those living in border states. But, in the last month, opposition to what is going on in this crisis has spread through all political, geographic and socioeconomic groups. Certainly border towns in the southwest are opposed to having to provide services for these children. Not on moral grounds, but on common sense grounds. There budgets are stretched thin as it is. If the federal government forces a few thousand unaccompanied children on them, they will not be able to provide necessary services to their own citizens. But, it is not just the mean people on the border who have figured this out. In the past week, we have seen protest in Murrieta, California, Waco Texas, League City, Texas, Oracle, Arizona, Vassar, Michigan, Lawrenceville, Virginia and Dupont, Washington.
In addition, the Democratic governors of Washington and Maryland and the Republican governors of Nebraska and Iowa have stated that their states are not willing to accept illegal immigrant minors. The City of Lynn, Massachusetts, north of Boston, has refused to accept several hundred unannounced immigrant children who DHS proposed to register in their local school system. And, both Democrat and Republican members of Congress, who finally seem to be getting the message that they were elected to represent the people of their states and not the special interest lobby, are loudly condemning the border crisis and demanding immediate action. This thing is moving so fast that today, in the span of a few hours, I saw a news story were DHS had granted a potential $50 million contract to a non-profit group to buy a luxury hotel in Texas to house up to 600 teenaged detainees. Within hours of the story being broadcast, the outcry was so great that the proposed contractor pulled out of the deal.
Another little fact has come to light and has apparently convinced Americans that DHS is just giving us all the proverbial finger. As an citizen born in this country and who holds a valid U.S. passport, I cannot board a plane without an acceptable form of photo ID. “Acceptable” to TSA being the operative word. If your government issued ID is expired or not otherwise acceptable for some reason, you don’t fly. I have even had TSA try to tell me that my ID was expired because that little sticker you get to put on the back of your license when you renew by mail was “illegal”. My response was “Well then you need to call Kathleen Blanco” “Who?” “Kathleen Blanco, she is the Governor of Louisiana. She is the one that gave me that.” Now it has come to light that these illegal detainees are being allowed to fly on commercial flights with nothing more than a piece of paper issued to them by ICE saying they have ‘registered’. A paper they got, by the way, without providing any form of identification or verification that any of the information they gave the Border Patrol is even correct.
Members of Congress and the media are in a lather over the inane DHS rules that allow them to visit the detention centers, but prohibit them from bringing a cell phone, taking pictures or talking to any of the detainees or the staff. That really got things stirred up. Congressmen and news reports have one thing in common. They can be like spoiled children. They surest way to get them upset about something it to tell them they can’t do it. And they both have legitimate complaints about such rules. For members of Congress, they are elected representatives visiting a federally run facility. They represent one of the three co-equal branches of government in this country. If you believe that we have such a thing as separation of powers under our Constitution, you understand that the Executive Branch cannot prohibit a member of Congress from doing anything. As for journalist, taking photos and video and talking to people is how they do their job. The free, uncensored flow of information, especially political information, is the lifeblood of a republic. Whether you like them or not, journalist are essential to our form of government. That’s why we have this pesky thing in America called the First Amendment. DHS says these rules because they are legally obligated to protect the privacy of the children being detained. There is one word I think of when I hear that, and it is not one that I can use here, since this is a family column.
First, privacy only comes into play if you show or disseminate personally identifiable data about a particular detainee. So how is talking to them and asking where they come from, how and why they came to America and where they plan to go a violation of privacy. How is privacy violated if you ask the staff things like how many detainees are being held here, what are their ages or what communicable diseases have you observed? And as far as showing identifiable images of individual detainees, give me a break. TV reporters are professionals. They air footage everyday with faces blurred or identities protected, all in the name of privacy. If the folks at DHS don’t know this, they obviously have never watched COPS or Girls Gone Wild. And, it this was happening in Rwanda or Gaza, the U.S. government would be raising holy hell if those in charge were imposing those same restrictions on U.S. journalists. So, in light of all that, it makes you wonder what the real reason they don’t want people taking pictures or talking to the staff.
It seems the situation has gotten so bad that only people who don’t think this is a major problem are the President and those loyal minions who seem to be willing to go down with the ship. And, as usual these days, they respond by telling outrageous falsehoods and hoping if they get repeated often enough, people will be dumb enough to believe it. But I don’t think it is going to work this time. Obama says there is no crisis and the border is secure. So, when he goes to Texas last week for Democratic fundraisers, he doesn’t even bother to go to the border and see what’s going on. Instead, he decides to drink beer and play pool.
Maybe he found out they were out of beer at the border? Or could it be that the Secret Service told him they couldn’t guarantee his safety if he went?
Now Harry Reid and a few more delusional members of Congress are telling us that the border is secure. How do they know that? Because the illegals are turning themselves in to the Border Patrol! Praise Jesus, we are saved! See for yourself:
Now Obama is asking Congress for $3.7 billion for emergency funds to deal with this crisis, which is not really a crisis. Most Congressmen have quickly said now way. But not to worry. Harry Reid. Harry Reid says the President really doesn’t need Congress’ permission to spend that money, but it would be nice to have it. Oh, and Eric Holder said this week that if you disagree with the President, your probably a racist. Which reminds me of this:
Wow, and for a sidebar this just in; apparently even Joe Biden is trying to distance himself from Obama.
But, I digress. So what do I think we should do about all this mess. Just my opinion, but here goes.
1. Secure the border. Really secure the border. Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution imposes certain obligations on the Federal government in favor of the States, including one that says “and shall protect each of them against Invasion;..” So, the President has not only the power, but the Constitutional duty, to protect Texas, Arizona and New Mexico from the current invasion. If you think this is not the kind of ‘invasion’ the Founders had in mind, you need to do some reading about the Mexican Punitive Expedition in 1916. Because a handful of Mexican bandits under Pancho Villa raided the small border town of Columbus, New Mexico, President Wilson sent the U.S. Army not only to secure the border but to spend the next year or so in Mexico chasing bandits. Maybe we should ask Mr. Wilson what ‘invasion’ means. It would not take much for President Obama to order the military to the border to stem the flow. And, before you throw up the Posse Comitatus act, it expressly does not apply to “cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution..”
2. If the President declines to secure the border, the Governors of those states should invoke their powers under the 10th Amendment and call out the National Guard to do what the President won’t.
3. Spend part of the President’s $3.7 billion to finish the border fence.
4. Enact emergency legislation that authorizes and directs ICE to hold a preliminary hearing for any alleged illegal alien who is an unaccompanied minor within 10 days of detention and requires deportation to their country of origin withing 72 hours after the ruling on the hearing. This satisfies due process concerns and also sends a message to families in Central America. You can spend your life savings on getting your children to the United States, but when we catch them, they are coming back quickly, with no refund.
5. In November, remember who caused this mess in the first place and how they treated all of us when they did it.
Thanks for reading today. I am Robbie Harrison, American Citizen!