By Joe Guzzardi
December 21, 2015
For the second consecutive year, the Department of Homeland Security has ignored Central American invasion into the United States at the shared border with Mexico. Immigration advocates will object to “invasion” as the descriptor, but no other word fully explains the unhindered, illegal entry of thousands of minors that have overwhelmed Border Patrol agents. The total of alien children that have come primarily from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras during the first two months of this fiscal year is twice the number from last year.
Allegedly “unaccompanied,” fleeing Central American violence, and having a “credible fear” for their lives, everything said in defense of the blatant lawbreaking is, at best, a gross distortion, but more likely, a bold lie.
First, U.S. Customs and Border Protection defines unaccompanied alien children as people up to age 17 who travel without a parent or legal guardian. Washington Post reporter Joshua Partlow, who has written about the border surge, admits that describing the children as unaccompanied is “somewhat misleading,” and that children truly “traveling alone seems to be the exception.” They are indeed accompanied, often by smugglers or traffickers.
Second, Central American violence is no greater this year or last year than it has been in decades past. Most of it is intra-gang related, and the vast majority of local citizens routinely go about their daily business.
Third, as for “credible fear” most aliens have been coached that those two magic words, even if they are the only two words that the illegal immigrants can say in English, represent the keys to being allowed to stay in the U.S. Most credible fear applicants easily pass an initial screening interview, and are allowed to live and work in the U.S. until an immigration court resolves their cases, a process that takes years.
The White House’s look-the-other-way policy has devastating short and long-term downsides. Immediately, Health and Human Services is straining to fund the influx. HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell warned the House Appropriations Committee that the agency faces a funding shortfall that could lead to a situation similar to 2014 when illegal immigrant children were left at the border for long periods.
Over the coming years, schools will struggle with higher non-English speaker enrollments that will divert resources from American kids. Hundreds of illegal immigrants from last year’s surge settled in Lynn, Massachusetts. The town’s Mayor, Judith Flanagan Kennedy, said that a new middle school built especially to house the new out-of-country admission is already overcrowded. To fund the school, a community policing program was eliminated.
Last year the U.S. sent more than $250 million to the three Central American countries to expand programs for their at-risk youth population, money that since it apparently accomplished nothing, the White House might as well have put a match to.
As long as the lure exists of being allowed to stay, work, and collect benefits, more will come. DHS recently testified to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that since 2009, it has apprehended about 122,700 unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, but has only repatriated about 7,700, or 6 percent. Alien children are so confident that they’ll be allowed to stay that they’ve bragged to border agents about sending copies of their “permisos” back home to encourage others to follow.
In his final year in office, President Obama is touting his legacy. None but his staunchest supporters, however, question that Obama’s failure to provide even token border enforcement and protect the nation’s sovereignty will permanently stain his presidential record.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]