President Obama’s refusal to tour the southern border — despite the ongoing humanitarian and law enforcement crisis there — while engaged in campaign fundraising has been met with criticism even among fellow Democrats.
As tens of thousands of impoverished illegal aliens, including both accompanied and unaccompanied minors, have flooded over the border, the president spent part of his trip drinking beer and shooting pool in Denver prior to his visit to the Lone Star State. Since he did have a brief meeting with Texas Gov. Rick Perry about the crisis, the taxpayer will be picking up some of the travel expenses involved.
A few days ago, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.), who has been all over the cable news channels lately, referred to the situation as bizarre in an MSNBC appearance:
… When I saw, and I hate to use the word bizarre, but under the circumstances, when he is shown playing pool in Colorado, drinking a beer, and he can’t even go 242 miles to the Texas border…?”
On CNN, Cuellar added, “If [Obama] had time, with all due respect, to have a beer and play pool like he did in Colorado last night, then I think after the fundraisers he should make time to go down there.”
Previously, Congressman Cuellar suggested that this could be Obama’s “Katrina” moment, in reference to how George W. Bush’s presidency was severely harmed by the hurricane response or lack thereof.
Imagine just for a second the media outcry if Bush refused to go to the Rio Grande Valley under the same circumstances. According to former NBC reporter Lisa Myers, “Overall, the mainstream media has been less eager to hold this administration accountable than it was to hold the Bush administration accountable.”
Cuellar represents the 28th Congressional district in Texas, which extends from the Rio Grande to the San Antonio area.
It has separately been noted that even if he didn’t tour the borderlands per se, the president could have visited one of the detention centers for a first-hand inspection and to thank the relief workers for their efforts in helping the minors who have overcome many hardships to come to America for a better life.
Prominent Democrat operative Paul Begala also opined that the president was wrong for not going to the border because “you go because, first off, you show that you care. Second, you learn about facts on the ground in a way that bureaucracy often doesn’t tell you when you talk directly to the people who are affected…”
By granting (without Congressional approval) what amounted to a form of amnesty for about 800,000 younger illegal immigrants in 2012, critics have accused the president of contributing to if not creating this border chaos.
It should come as no particular surprise that Obama’s approval rating for immigration policy has taken a huge hit recently.
With the overwhelmed Border Patrol handling daycare duties and processing, sectors of the border are being left unprotected from human traffickers, drug cartels, foreign terrorists, and other wrongdoers. Obama could order the National Guard and other military assets to the borderlands to stabilize the situation, but has not done so as yet.
Obama disingenuously said this past week that he is not about photo ops, but that certainly is far from the case for his presidency or that of any of his predecessors. Photo ops are part of the gig.
Separately, many political pundits have concluded that Obama’s disengagement and aloofness from the border surge issue or the various other domestic and international scandals and crises engulfing his administration suggests that he has “checked out” of the presidency.
According to the Wall Street Journal, moreover, it’s unlikely that many of these illegal alien children from Central America will be deported, despite some vague assurances by Obama administration officials that the migrants will be returned to their home countries. After being released by border agents, many illegal border crossers never show up for their scheduled hearings in immigration court.
As The Inquistir has previously reported, some of the new arrivals being temporarily detained are affiliated with the violent MS-13 gang.
Meeting in Nashville, the nation’s governors are less than pleased with the situation, Politico reports: “The surge of Latin American children trying to cross the U.S. border threatens to strain states’ resources and is testing their already fragile relationship with Washington, governors from both parties warned Friday. As they gathered here for a meeting of the National Governors Association, the state leaders seethed at what they said was a lack of support and information from the federal government.”
Added Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, “The federal government is complicit in a secret operation to transfer illegal individuals to my state and they won’t tell us who they are.”
According to an IBD/TIPP poll, 60 percent of Americans want the unaccompanied minors in this latest influx sent home.
America is a generous and welcoming country. In general, it is likely that there would be more support among voters for a pathway to citizenship of some sort if the U.S., like the U.K., wasn’t seen as a welfare magnet. New statistics from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services apparently indicate a record percentage of Americans are already collecting taxpayer-funded welfare, including a huge increase in children on welfare.
Historian Victor Davis Hanson offered this assessment of Obama’s immigration policy:
“Meanwhile, as Obama has refused to enforce immigration law, the result is chaos. Tens of thousands of children are flooding across our border illegally, on the scent of Obama’s executive-order amnesties. Advocates of open borders, such as progressive grandees Mark Zuckerberg and Nancy Pelosi, assume that these impoverished Third World children will not enroll in the private academies attended by their children or grandchildren, or need housing in one of their vacation estates, or crowd their specialists’ waiting rooms. They do not worry about the effects of illegal immigration on the wages of low-income Americans. Dealing first-hand with the ramifications of open borders is for unenlightened, illiberal little people.”
Added the Boston Herald:
“Democrats — here and elsewhere – have been pushing for years to let people without Social Security numbers have driver’s licenses and welfare benefits. They’ve pushed for in-state university tuition for people who don’t belong here. Obama himself acted to dramatically reduce deportations — specifically of children –and has broadly signaled he wants to legalize the estimated 12 million illegals. Who can blame the hundreds of thousands flooding across our borders for thinking they are welcome? The Democrats told them so. Never mind that 92 million Americans are unemployed or no longer looking for jobs. There are reports of rampant disease, of rape and violence targeting the underage illegals now warehoused along our borders.”
President Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion to deal with the current border emergency, but House Republicans are unwilling so far to give him a blank check without doing their own numbers crunching. The emergency funds “would help pay for temporary detention centers, increased border security and additional immigration court judges to process asylum cases more quickly,” Reuters reports. Republicans agree with the Obama administration on the need to change a 2008 anti-trafficking law to streamline deportation proceedings in these circumstances.
Do you think President Obama will reverse course and visit the southern border soon? Should these children be sent back to their home countries?
[top image via Bing]