According to President Ronald Reagan, once a nation loses control of its borders, it is no longer really a nation any more. This situation is happening right now to the United States. And its own government is abetting it, to its own demise. United States President Barack Obama made an executive decree to grant amnesty for 4.7 million illegal immigrants. In doing so, he broke the trust of immigrants trying to enter America legally, and effectively encouraged more illegal immigration. He also broke the law. This executive action became the latest and one of the most significant in a series of actions the president has taken that break the Constitution’s restraints on his presidential powers. And in this case, it also blatantly contravened his own repeatedly stated admission that such a move would be unlawful.
A year ago, for example, during a speech about immigration, he told a crowd, If,in fact, I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so. But we’re also a nation of laws.” To those who pressed him to take unilateral action on immigration, the president said, “That’s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.”
America has a problem at its southern border. Year after year, thousands of immigrants have crossed it illegally to seek economic opportunity, a better life, customers for drugs and/or victims for crime and terror. But something has changed; something is much different—and far worse. Last year, the number of children who crossed the border illegally and unaccompanied suddenly quintupled. That new total will likely double again by the end of this year. And by the end of 2015, it may balloon by more than 50 percent yet again.
Right now, tens of thousands of these children are flooding over the border. They are occupying and overwhelming border law enforcement, cramming temporary shelters, overflowing the legal system and pouring into permanent residency in the United States.With so many children in danger—exposed to the elements, to health risks, to common criminals, to kidnappers, to enslavers, to sex abusers, to drug smugglers and to human traffickers—this crisis demands a response. With thin border security dissipating further—allowing immigrants, criminals and even terrorists openings into the homeland—this crisis demands a response. And with the long-term risks of a demographic dominated by illegal immigration—this crisis demands a response.
The burning question is: What will that government response be, and what does this mean for America’s immediate future? Before 2013, the number of unaccompanied minors illegally entering the United States each year averaged fewer than 8,000. Last year, that number leaped to 40,000. This year, it will likely reach 90,000. Next year, it is projected to rise as high as 142,000.
Historically, the vast majority of America’s illegal immigrants have come from Mexico. Apprehended Mexicans can more or less be transported back home expeditiously. Children from other countries cannot. And for the first time, the majority of the children slipping across the border are coming from Central America—specifically, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Shelters for these children are overwhelmed, and the government has opened several military bases to accommodate the overflow. Overcrowded detention centers have also suffered the spread of infectious diseases including chicken pox, staph infections, scabies, and even rabies and swine flu.
Meanwhile, Border Patrol officers who intercept these illegals (many of whom just turn themselves in) must then process them, meaning that they do less patrolling and more babysitting. Some report that as many as 7 in 10 officers are no longer actually patrolling the border. This leaves an already out-of-control area wide open to cartels and other criminals to traffic more illegal immigrants; more slaves; more weapons; and more marijuana, cocaine, meth, heroin, LSD, and ecstasy, allowing them to spread their tentacles throughout the country. And, as the wry joke goes, the best way for terrorists to smuggle a nuclear weapon into the United States is to hide it in a bale of marijuana.
This escalating issue caused the White House to admit that the “influx of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) across the southwest border of the United States has resulted in an urgent humanitarian situation requiring a unified and coordinated federal response” (June 2). That sounds good. But why has the situation been allowed to deteriorate to this point? Something still isn’t right here. That something is the federal response.
One factor contributing to this immigration emergency dates back to a law enacted during the Bush administration in 2008. This law mandates that illegal minors from countries other than Mexico or Canada must appear before a judge rather than being immediately deported. The law was designed to protect children from being sent back to nations plagued with violence. However, the real-world result is a huge backlog of cases that can take years to process. And now record numbers of non-Mexican immigrant children are streaming across the border. That means record numbers of children must stay and be processed. These children don’t even need to dodge American authorities when they enter the country. When caught, they are often sent to live with relatives who already reside in America, and stay for years waiting for the courts, which are slow and reluctant to deport.
The percentage of illegal immigrants sent back to their home countries did drop after this law was enacted. However, it isn’t the whole story. A law enacted six years ago does not explain what has driven Central American and Mexican children to begin streaming across the southern border in unprecedented numbers over the past two years.
Why the surge in illegal immigration among children? Why has the influx suddenly spiked under the Obama administration? Why hasn’t the president reduced the flow of illegal immigrants? The startling possibility is that he’s not even trying.
On June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama had announced a new initiative. Not to secure the border; not to crack down on cartels; not to modify any abused laws; not to improve enforcement of laws; not to benefit legal immigrants, but to “lift the shadow of deportation” from eligible illegal immigrants. His initiative was to give illegal immigrants the opportunity to live and work in America without fear of being deported. The directive made certain immigrants eligible for work permits, Social Security cards, driver’s licenses and similar benefits offered to citizens and legal immigrants. More than 500,000 immigrants benefitted from this executive action, known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
This past June, the administration laid out guidelines for these immigrants to defer deportation for yet another two years. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced, “Despite the acrimony and partisanship that now exists in Washington, almost all of us agree that a child who crossed our border illegally with a parent, or in search of a parent or a better life, was not making an adult choice to break our laws, and should be treated differently than adult law-breakers” (June 5).
Yet now the administration has discovered new legal justification for such action. (It says the Department of Homeland Security only has resources to deport 400,000 illegal immigrants a year; thus, Obama has “prosecutorial discretion” to decide who among America’s 11 million illegals they will be.) Not only does the administration now deny that its amnesty action is unlawful, but it also now ridicules those who disagree; those who say, “That’s not how our Constitution is written.”
The Washington Post (hardly a conservative paper) published an editorial saying that the president is “tearing up the Constitution.” White House adviser Jennifer Palmieri derisively dismissed that statement. Palmieri said, “After two years, there’s just no credible reason to continue to ask these people to wait.” There is “no credible reason,” that is, not to take immediate, unilateral executive action to resolve the status of these people who entered the U.S. illegally. To this administration, not even waiting for Congress to pass a law (which is “how our system works” and “how our democracy functions,” in the president’s words) making such action legal would constitute a “credible reason.” So who determines what is “credible”? Not the Constitution—the president.
Immigration is a serious and complicated issue. There are persuasive arguments for the order the president made, and many people expressed joy and gratitude at seeing it enacted. The point is, American government is founded on the rule of law and a constitutional process by which such debate gets aired en route to the formation of public policy. In this case, it is through Congress, America’s lawmaking body.
But the president is reversing his prior position because, he says, he considers this an emergency. In his Thursday night address he argued that because the nation’s immigration system is “broken,” and because Congress hasn’t passed a law yet, he must act alone. In other words, America’s democratic system is not working, and thus, nondemocratic intervention must be taken.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, called the immigration surge “an administration-made disaster.” “Word has gotten out around the world about President Obama’s lax immigration enforcement policies and it has encouraged more individuals to come to the United States illegally,” he said.
The Obama administration has deflected accusations that its lenient immigration policies have caused this recent surge. The president blames the 2008 law and poor conditions in Central America. But Border Patrol agents who actually question hundreds of immigrants in person get a different answer.
Border agents in the Rio Grande valley of Texas, which currently receives the most illegal immigration traffic, wrote a report revealing that an incredible 95 percent of those interviewed said they came because they knew they would be allowed to stay. “The main reason the subjects chose this particular time to migrate to the United States was to take advantage of the ‘new’ U.S. ‘law’ that grants a ‘free pass’ … to female adult OTMs [non-Mexican immigrants] traveling with minors and UACs,” the report states. “The information is apparently common knowledge in Central America and is spread by word of mouth, and international and local media.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics back this up. For most of the last decade, the yearly number of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras who were apprehended while crossing into the United States was fewer than 4,000. But in fiscal year 2012, that number suddenly more than doubled to 10,146. Last fiscal year, it doubled to 20,805. By June of this year, it has nearly doubled again, to 39,133. Unaccompanied minors from Mexico rose from 13,974 in 2012 to 17,240 last year.
“Why do they come?” Charles Krauthammer asked. “The administration pretends it’s because of violence and poverty. Nonsense. When has there not been violence and poverty in Central America? … The new variable is Obama’s unilateral (and lawless) June 2012 order essentially legalizing hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who came here as children. Message received in Central America. True, this executive order doesn’t apply to those who came after June 15, 2007. But the fact remains that children coming across now are overwhelmingly likely to stay” (July 10).
President Obama has made many statements about what he admits is now a “humanitarian crisis.” But he denies that his policies have caused it. He has called for a “unified and coordinated federal response,” but that response has not been and is not likely to be what millions of American citizens are hoping for.
“The journey is unbelievably dangerous for these kids,” Obama told a press conference on June 30. “The children who are fortunate enough to survive it will be taken care of while they go through the legal process, but in most cases that process will lead to them being sent back home.”
Not true. In “most cases” the children are not deported. For example, based on statistics, here is what will actually happen to the 41,000 children who were not sent right back across the border over the past nine months: They will be processed and issued a “Notice to Appear” court order that gives a date to appear before an immigration judge. Then almost all of them will be released to live with relatives in the U.S. in the meantime. When their court date finally comes, nearly half of them won’t even show up. And even among those who do, the majority will be granted amnesty and allowed to stay. “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data show 46 percent of minors who initially ask for asylum are approved by a case officer,” Fox News reported on June 27. “Among those who are referred [to] an immigration judge, 74 percent of asylum claims are approved. That data, presented in House hearings … seems to undermine the president’s claim.”
In Spanish, the government-issued “Notice to Appear” court orders are called permisos—meaning permission or permit. That alone suggests what seems to be a universally accepted truth: An immigrant who is issued permisos will ultimately be allowed to stay.
Congressman Pat Meehan, a Pennsylvania Republican, said it bluntly at a June 24 congressional meeting: “We’re dealing with children, and we get it. But we ought to not be leaving the American people with the false impression that somehow the system is going to work and actually lead to removals. Once those children are here, they’re staying here.” Texas Gov. Rick Perry went a step further, suggesting President Obama has an ulterior motive for letting the current immigration crisis unfold. “I have to believe that when you don’t respond in any way that you are either inept or you have some ulterior motive of which you are functioning from,” he told ABC on July 6.
The president has not discouraged young illegal immigrants; instead, he has made it clear that young illegal immigrants will be treated differently in America—and they know it. Coming to America now means the possibility of free citizenship, free health care and welfare benefits. And so they come. By the tens of thousands.
One Border Patrol union representative in California told ABC 10 News that massive amounts of manpower are needed to process and secure these illegal immigrants, which means fewer officers are actually in the field patrolling the border. This man apparently had to defy a gag order in order to reveal what is really happening.
A June 9 Washington Times editorial identified the bigger picture of what this ongoing, solvable-yet-escalating immigration crisis means for the nation as a whole: “The children’s surge is another consequence of the president making good on his vow to ‘fundamentally transform’ America.” “It is a direct consequence of the president’s illegal actions,” Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, told Breitbart. “The parents think, If I send my child [to the U.S.], my child will have amnesty” (June 6).
President Obama has requested $3.7 billion to deal with this crisis. His administration says most of the money will go to the “care, feeding, and transportation costs of unaccompanied children and family groups,” according to a July 10 statement to Congress by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. This money will manage the ongoing crisis—and do nothing to solve the problem. “Meanwhile, the one thing Obama could do—push hard to change the law forbidding the quick return of young immigrants from noncontiguous countries—is not on the table,” Byron York wrote for the Washington Examiner on July 15.
It’s not on the table because his administration is not interested in fixing the problem. It blames Republicans for the crisis, even as it refuses to enforce existing laws on illegal immigration. The Obama administration doesn’t want a secure border. Liberal “progressives” envision a world without borders. They want open borders. They don’t want to send anyone home—certainly not children. They want amnesty for all illegal aliens. They want the federal government to handle the situation indeed, not by locking the door, but by taking it off its hinges! This is what they have vowed to do from the very beginning—to fundamentally TRANSFORM the United States of America. And so, the all-out assault on America’s southern border will continue. And it will contribute to not only the transformation of the nation and the erasing of its border security, but to its actual destruction!
America is the house that is both falling apart and under new stress. “Those living within it, those most upset by what they’re seeing, know America has big problems—unemployment, low workforce participation, a rickety physical infrastructure, an unsound culture, poor public education. And of course discord of all sorts—a lot of mad squirrels running around the attic. They know America can’t pay its bills. They fear we’re living on the fumes of greatness. They want us to be strong again. Watching our border collapse doesn’t look like a harbinger of progress.”
Some analysts recognize the dangerous situation playing out not only in the crisis at hand but also in the government’s treacherous response to it. But there is a much deeper analysis that reveals a lot more about America’s illegal immigration crisis.
America has reached a tipping point. It is no longer one nation, made up of one melted-together people. As Pat Buchanan wrote on July 14, “We no longer speak the same language, worship the same God, honor the same heroes or share the same holidays. … Our politics have become poisonous. Our political parties are at each other’s throats. Christianity is in decline. Traditional churches are sundering over moral issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. Islam is surging. Our society seems to be disintegrating.”The flood of illegal immigrants highlights a fundamental disregard for law. It exposes and exacerbates the loss of a common culture. America’s inability to protect its borders shows that the very things that define the United States as a nation are being chipped away
It is true that America is a nation of immigrants. So was Israel anciently, to whom God gave the law that President Obama cited.
God permitted foreigners to immigrate to Israel, and even commanded that His people treat them well, as the president noted. However, the same God who passed that law said that those who immigrated were expected to follow the laws of Israel. If the president wants to use the Bible in order to establish immigration policy, he would do well to refer to Leviticus 24:22, which states, “You shall have the same law for the stranger and for one from your own country; for I am the Lord your God” (New King James Version). And Numbers 15:16: “One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you.” This law prohibits giving special treatment to foreigners. Only those who abide by the law of the land—not who disobey it by their very presence—should be permitted to stay.
Notice another law regarding immigration in Israel, just a few verses down from the one the president quoted. After telling His people not to make covenants with people from surrounding nations, God said, “They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee” (Exodus 23:33). In other words, God forbade immigration of anyone who wouldn’t accept the religion of the Israelites.
It is disingenuous to cite only the provision commanding kindness to immigrants without acknowledging the fact that, by law, these immigrants would have to integrate themselves culturally and even religiously.
President Obama apparently recognizes the wisdom in one of the provisions with that ancient law. But whether or not people realize it, America is suffering a number of problems and curses because it has ignored the other provisions on the subject. Our nation’s dangerous and deepening racial and cultural divisions are proof. And how can Obama forget Old Testament law contains a prophecy of what would happen when we disobeyed it. Deuteronomy 28:43-44 reads, “The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail.” As the president invites illegal immigrants to remain in the United States—and at the same time encourages still more illegals to join them—we can see this prophecy being fulfilled.
This executive action only applies to immigrants who have been in America for longer than five years, but its timing closely correlates to the recent flood of child immigrants. Some children even now go to border agents and beg to be arrested. Their reasoning is that if President Obama won’t deport the thousands of immigrant children already here, he surely won’t deport them either. And that reasoning is pretty sound.
But this is hardly the only such “emergency” the president has encountered that necessitates unilateral executive action. When Congress did not pass cap-and-trade, the president instead gave the power to enforce this unpassed law to the Environmental Protection Agency, which is under his executive control. When Congress did not pass gun control, the president signed 23 executive orders. He took similar steps in order to pass health-care reform, one of the most sweeping laws in American history. He abandoned the Defense of Marriage Act by simply ordering the executive branch to stop enforcing it. In order to sidestep needing congressional approval for a controversial executive appointment, he declared that Congress was in recess. He bypassed the legislature in order to join the NATO mission in Libya. He applied a decade-old war power to justify military action in Syria without legislative approval.
He always finds justification to do what he wants. Thursday night, President Obama invoked the authority of a higher law than that of the Constitution. He quoted the law of Moses—which says, “Thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 23:9). But just as he is doing with the Constitution, the president is applying this law in a highly selective way—not to govern or even to inform his decision, but merely to rationalize it once he has made it.
Buchanan asks, “If a country is a land of defined and defended borders, within which resides a people of a common ancestry, history, language, faith, culture and traditions, in what sense are we Americans one nation and one people today?” Obama is ensuring America does not remain one nation and one people.