Obama aides knew of crisis on the border a year ago
We knew about the letter that Texas Governor Rick Perry sent to the president in 2012 warning of the coming crisis of illegal alien children flooding the border.What we didn't know was that the Department of Homeland Security had prepared a report earlier this year that graphically warned that the situation was becoming unmanageable.
The Obama administration knew and did virtually nothing to address the crisis until it became too acute to hide from Congress and the public.
But top officials at the White House and the State Department had been warned repeatedly of the potential for a further explosion in the number of migrant children since the crisis began escalating two years ago, according to former federal officials and others familiar with internal discussions. The White House was directly involved in efforts in early 2012 to care for the children when it helped negotiate a temporary shelter at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.
“There were warning signs, operational folks raising red flags to high levels in terms of this being a potential issue,” said one former senior federal law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly about internal operations.
The former official said the agencies primarily in charge of border security, Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, were “ringing alarm bells” within the administration.
Meanwhile, top officials focused much of their attention on political battles, such as Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign and the push to win congressional support for a broad immigration overhaul, that would have been made more difficult with the addition of a high-profile border crisis.
“I don’t think they ignored this on purpose, but they didn’t know what to do,” said Michelle Brané, director of migrant rights at the Women’s Refugee Commission, which published a 2012 report highlighting the influx of minors. “For whatever reason, there was hesitation to address the root causes. I think the administration was dealing with it at a minimal scale, putting a Band-Aid on something they should have been thinking about holistically.”
Until recently, the number of Central American children crossing into the United States illegally was below 5,000 a year and was not considered a major problem among the many issues federal agents were dealing with at the Mexican border.
In 2009-2010, law enforcement agencies cracked down on criminal cartels in the traditional border hot spots near Tucson. By 2012, the Border Patrol and U.S. intelligence agencies began noticing a shift of activity to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, one they had anticipated.
They also found that even as overall illegal immigration to the United States slowed, the number of adults and families entering illegally from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras began to grow rapidly. Many were fleeing increasing violence and impoverished conditions in their home countries, according to U.S. officials and human rights groups.
Instead of an effort to stem the flow of illegals, the president upped the ante by amnestying DREAMers. It hardly matters that the coyotes and drug cartels who were bringing these children into the US lied to them about US policy. The fact is, the president's words made the lie believable. This led directly to the humanitarian crisis we have on the border today.
The combination of incompetence and lack of transparency is what we've gotten from this administration since the beginning. It doesn't help when government officials turn the other way while the crisis was deepening hoping it would all just go away.