Obama talks tough about sending illegal kids home
President Obama sounded serious when he warned Central American authorities and parents to keep their kids at home and don't send them to the US because they'll only be deported.
In an interview with ABC News, the president reminded parents of the severe danger in sending their kids north. What he didn't say is that they won't be returning any time soon.
“Our message absolutely is don't send your children unaccompanied, on trains or through a bunch of smugglers,” Obama said in an interview with ABC News. “We don't even know how many of these kids don't make it, and may have been waylaid into sex trafficking or killed because they fell off a train.
“Do not send your children to the borders,” the president continued. “If they do make it, they'll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it.”
Tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors, primarily from high-violence Central American countries, have flooded across the border this year. Under existing federal law, any children coming from Mexico are immediately returned, while others are sent to government detention facilities before being released to relatives or foster parents within the U.S. ahead of deportation proceedings.
“If they come from a non-contiguous country, then there's a lengthy process,” Obama said.
Republican critics have charged that the president’s immigration policies are responsible for the surge of unaccompanied minors. In 2012, the president unilaterally established a program allowing certain minors who entered the U.S. illegally to remain with legal status.
Those crossing the border now aren’t eligible for that program. And Obama denied his policies had exacerbated that problem, saying the influx reflects “the desperation and the violence that exists in some of these Central American countries.”
But officials have conceded that criminal organizations in Central America have wrongfully advertised that children would be allowed to remain in the U.S.
During a trip through South and Central America last week, Vice President Joe Biden asked leaders there to “inform constituents of the dangers of putting children in the hands of criminal smugglers, to combat misinformation spread by criminal networks attempting to smuggle minors, and to address underlying causes of migration including insecurity and lack of economic opportunity,” according to the White House.
How will immigration reform get the drug cartels to stop telling Central American kids and parents not to come to the US?
And when the president says it's "a lengthy process" to deport the aliens, he is being disingenuous. The process takes years:
"It's not a challenge to arrest people who come as children or families with children," Vitiello said. Many illegal border-crossers don't try to elude border agents and quickly surrender once they encounter agents.
The challenge, he and Johnson explained, is processing the immigrants and finding places to house them.
The surge of children has prompted the Homeland Security Department to start flying some of the immigrants to Arizona for processing. Military bases in Texas, California and Oklahoma are also being used or readied to house children until they can be placed with relatives or sponsors. All the child immigrants face deportation, but with a backlog of more than 360,000 pending cases in federal immigration courts it will likely take years before a judge will order many of the children out.
Parents caught crossing the border illegally with their children also pose a challenge because of a lack of detention space. ICE, the Homeland Security agency responsible for jailing immigrants facing deportation, has space for fewer than 100 people in its single family detention center in Berks County, Pennsylvania.
Last week the Obama administration announced plans to open additional detention centers for families. The first will be at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia, New Mexico, home of the Border Patrol's training academy.
Meanwhile, the government tries to work through the backlog of 360,000 cases, issuing a citation to the illegals before releasing them ordering them to appear at an ICE hearing in 14 days. Statistics show that 90% of illegals never show up.
President Obama knows this which makes his speech irrelevant. And what about next year when 120,000 kids are supposed to fall into our lap? Are we going to get another speech from Obama about how tough he is on the kids?
A "Children's Crusade," indeed.