Unaccompanied Minors on Border: Obama’s Mariel Boatlift

Published on June 16th, 2014

By Joe Guzzardi
June 16, 2014

President Obama deceptively likes to describe the thousands of minors, some with their mothers, flooding over the Southwest border as a “humanitarian crisis.” Obama’s convenient labeling takes the heat off him for his administration’s years of immigration law neglect.

In reality, what’s happening on the border is the predictable outcome of the president’s world-welcoming policies followed by his loud announcement that among those who come, few will be deported. The biggest lure is Obama’s 2012 executive order which deferred deportation action for childhood arrivals, a program that to date has granted amnesty to 800,000 aliens. In an initial effort to appear concerned, Obama ordered Congress to allocate $2.6 billion to feed, shelter and provide medical treatment to the aliens with more billions to come.

Unfortunately, the young Central American aliens’ unchecked entry have frightening similarities to another immigration disaster, the Mariel boatlift.  Back in 1980, with Jimmy Carter’s blessing, Cuban refugees whose total eventually reached 125,000 disembarked in Florida. Among them were hardened criminals and the mentally ill.

At first, the media described the Cubans as escaping from Fidel Castro’s Communist regime. But before long, even the most ardent Carter supporters like the New York Times and the Miami Herald acknowledged the president’s colossal misjudgment. Times Pulitzer Prize winning columnist James Reston correctly charged Castro with “exporting his failures.” The Herald, anticipating the adverse effect thousands of Cubans with dubious backgrounds and few work skills would have on the local Miami economy, questioned the wisdom of uncontrolled Cuban immigration. 

Like Carter with Mariel, the Obama White House knows little about the Central Americans’ backgrounds other than, similar to the Cubans, they’re poor, needy and thus, unlikely long-term contributors to the American society. Beyond that, Homeland Security has no idea who they are.

As the facts leak out, the border story becomes uglier. In his Senate Judiciary Committee testimony before DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, Ted Cruz reported that some of the children have been turned over, not to their U.S. relatives as the media has spun it, but into prostitution and sex slavery. Although immigration officials are struggling to take charge of the inundated border, they’re overwhelmed.  

The facts behind the border catastrophe are that the minors aren’t running away from violence or escaping possible gang cruelty. Instead, they’re responding to a well orchestrated campaign in their home countries urging them to migrate to the U.S. where they know the Obama administration will do nothing, and where they will eventually become legal permanent residents. 

Here’s a word for word excerpt published in La Voz, a leading Honduran newspaper: “During their stay [the minors] in addition to accommodations and food, children receive English classes, play sports and participate in targeted programs while immigration authorities contact their families.” More than 13,000 Hondurans have been detained this year, up from 1,000 in 2009.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández pleaded with Congress to increase its financial aid to his country so it could create social programs to assist the nation to develop more self-sufficiency. 

The quick and correct way to end the U.S. occupation is instead of transporting arriving aliens to military bases, drop them off at the Central Americans’ Washington, D.C. embassies with instructions to the consulate that until the children are returned home, aid will be suspended.

Without firm U.S. action, the invasion—a virtual explosion of illegal immigration—will continue. 


Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been nationally syndicated since 1987. Contact him at [email protected]  

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