Barone: Political fallout from border crisis growing
Ace political analyst Michael Barone scans the political landscape and thinks that the fallout from the border crisis will be severe and will hit Democrats especially hard.
The picture of thousands of illegal youngsters streaming over the border is disquieting and seems likely to hurt the president's standing with voters--even despite his refusal to submit to a “photo-op” on the border. Democrats are trying to blame the situation on House Republicans' refusal to pass comprehensive immigration legislation. That seems pretty lame: There's nothing in the bill the Senate passed in June 2013 that addressed this particular situation. As this article in the Hill makes plain, perhaps despite the writer's intention, this is a troublesome situation for Democrats whose names are on the ballot this fall.
And the negative fallout is apparently not limited geographically. The national media may get tired of stories about young illegals crossing the border in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. But as these youngsters are sent to places as distant as Chicago and Lynn, Mass., other troublesome stories are likely to emerge, on local newscasts (which are often starved for news) if not on Obama-protective mainstream media.
Nor are Hispanics necessarily sympathetic with the border-crossers. A Washington Post new story quotes Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke as favoring “greater emphasis on the interests of these children who are refugees from extreme violence” instead of “an acceleration of the deportation process at the expense of these children.” But the Post reporters note that “O'Rourke added that he has been surprised by the anger he has heard toward the immigrants of many of his El Paso constituents, who feel like we can't take care of everyone, and these children and their families are gaming the system.' ” O'Rourke's district, which includes most of El Paso County, is 79 percent Hispanic.
Oldtimers may remember that the influx of Mariel refugees from Cuba hurt Jimmy Carter in the 1980 election. Carter failed to carry Florida, where many refugees were housed, and Arkansas, where many were sent to Fort Chaffee. Also defeated that year were some incumbent Democrats who hadn't seemed to be in great trouble: U.S. Sen. Richard Stone of Florida and a young governor of Arkansas named Bill Clinton. Most current voters were not alive in 1980 or have forgotten the political fallouts from the Mariel influx. I'm sure Bill Clinton hasn't. I suspect that, if asked, he might have some advice for Democrats in states to which the underage illegals are being sent.
The issue is fracturing the Democratic coalition, with even blacks now angry with the president over the border crisis.
A group of protesters in Chicago called for action and heavily criticized President Obama for ignoring the high rates of violent crime in the city while spending billions of dollars to deal with an influx of illegal child immigrants into the U.S.
“Do something for our children,” said one of the protesters, in a video posted at the blog Rebel Pundit. “Have the same love for these young young people like you got for the ones across the border, and you want to save them.”
“With the president setting aside all of these funds for immigrants, and forsaking the African American community and African American families, I think that’s a disgrace,” said another man attending the rally, which was held in front of the Chicago police department.
As Rebel Pundit notes, at least 120 people have been shot and another 26 have been killed in Chicago so far in July.
Meanwhile, earlier this week, the White House announced plans to ask Congress for $3.7 billion to help house and process immigration cases for tens of thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America who have recently been apprehended at the southern U.S. border in Texas.
“Mr. President…you’re spending billions of dollars in Texas, but we’ve got a problem here in Chicago,” said one female protester.
The Hispanic Caucus insists that no change in the law that would deport these kids faster should be made. This puts Democrats in a straitjacket given that a majority of their constituents want order brought back to the border while their most passionate supporters think we should spend even more money to make the illegals comfortable and find them a place to stay in America. This has led to many Democratic members of Congress twisting themselves into pretzels trying to please both sides.
That sort of thing usually doesn't end well on election day.
Barone's comparison of the situation today with the Mariel boat lift is apt. Back then, we had pretty much the same situation, except the boat people included many adults. Another difference - Castro took advantage of the situation to empty his jails and brothels, as well as deport other "undesirables" along with those seeking freedom from oppression.
But the political fallout is likely to be the same. This will be especially true if crime spikes and the children become a burden on public schools. People are already angry at the secrecy in the way the government is transporting these illegal aliens and dumping them in their midst without informing them. This sort of heavy handedness feeds into the GOP narrative of Obama's lawlessness and incompetence.
Bottom line: The issue is depressing Democrats and angering everyone else. That's a deadly combination for November.