By Joe Guzzardi
August 6, 2014
This week the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will close three temporary shelters which have housed nearly 8,000 Central American youths. By summer’s end, two military bases in California and Texas will shut. The third, in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma is scheduled to release aliens within a few days.
Consistent with the White House’s secrecy surrounding the Central American border influx since day one, where the children will be relocated is unclear. Numerous states have had children dropped off without prior notice, sparking outrage among the governors.
HHS claims that the illegal immigrants will be placed in what the agency referred to as smaller, standard, “more pleasant” shelters as opposed to larger institutional housing. Others, including Oklahoma U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, suspect that the aliens will be turned over to illegal immigrant families, thus compounding the unlawful entry problem and making the deportation of an alien family unit more difficult.
Family units, defined as a parent traveling with a child, are driving the border invasion. Department of Homeland Security published statistics show that family unit apprehensions have increased 494 percent in 2013-2014 from 9,350 in 2013 to 55,420 in 2014.
By insisting that the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act protects the aliens, President Obama has deferred responsibility to the HHS and DHS. The White House has purposely ignored hard facts about the act that they could use to expeditiously deport most Central Americans.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement interviews with the unlawful border crossers found little evidence to suggest that they are trafficking victims. Rather, the families are voluntary participants in well- organized human smuggling operations that bring them to the U.S. The children come at their parents’ expense and with their consent. As one ICE official noted, “Human trafficking and human smuggling are distinct criminal activities and the terms are not interchangeable.”
Moreover, pursuant to the Homeland Security Act of 2002, an unaccompanied alien child is defined as under 18, and without a U.S. parent or legal guardian to provide care and take physical custody.
The 2012 executive order which Obama issued that granted deferred action to childhood arrivals precipitated the border crisis. Central American minors entering since 2012 have increased while the numbers removed during the same period has declined. Nearly 90 percent of individuals ordered to appear in immigration court don’t show up, which explains in part why, of 12,670 Guatemalans who entered since 2009, only about 110 have been deported.
Obama has shown zero interest in deporting the minors. In fact, his key immigration aide and former National Council of La Raza chief lobbyist Cecelia Munoz is working intensively with other activists to define ways that millions of illegal immigrants could qualify for deferred action similar to that granted in 2012. Some Capitol Hill insiders expect Obama to act soon on extended DACA.
Other powerful organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Chamber of Commerce will put their full weight behind the Obama/Munoz proposals. The Chamber told the Associated Press that it will actively cooperate with the White House to issue work permits to aliens, something the business community has long promoted.
President Obama could move swiftly to deport most of the aliens. Instead, he appears determined to legalize five million or more illegal immigrants, an action that would be unprecedented not only in the U.S. but worldwide.
No sovereign nation allows tens of thousands of aliens to blatantly enter, and then turns around to reward them with legal standing and work authorization. But this is a new America where what little standing citizens have is undermined as a matter of course.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been nationally syndicated since 1987. Contact him at [email protected]