The Daily Signal

Obama’s Response to Surge of Illegal Immigrants Is Inadequate

Agents also report that they are not authorized to initiate removal proceedings against adult aliens after apprehension at the border, if no detention space is available. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque /Reuters/Newscom)

Record numbers of unaccompanied alien minors and adults traveling with minors are again surging across our southern border, overwhelming federal and state resources, creating a border security nightmare, and ensuring record profits for the criminal organizations that control the drug and human smuggling and trafficking business along the border.

More than 152,000 unaccompanied minors and families are projected to illegally cross our southwest border this year.

More than 152,000 unaccompanied minors and families are projected to illegally cross our southwest border this year. Some estimates project the number to top 177,000—the population of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. This would surpass the previous high mark in 2014 by nearly 30 percent.

These minors, more than two-thirds of whom are between the ages of 15 and 17, travel thousands of miles from Central America, through dangerous desert areas controlled by Mexican drug cartels, and arrive at our southern border with tried and tested instructions from the smugglers leading them—find the first Border Patrol Agent and claim asylum.

This narrative is repeated thousands of times over, and there is little doubt that with every successful entry and reunification, it encourages thousands more to illegally enter and further degrades our border security.

We saw a similar surge of mass illegal immigration by unaccompanied minors and adults from Central America in 2014. Tragically, many were killed, assaulted, kidnapped, and extorted during their journey by the criminal elements that operate with impunity south of our border. This surge will undoubtedly produce similar victims.

Despite these tragic consequences of non-enforcement, there are no lessons learned by this administration.

A leaked Department of Homeland Security intelligence report shows that the Obama administration’s lax immigration policies are fueling this current surge. During July through September 2015, Customs and Border Protection agents interviewed 345 family units apprehended at the border.

Nearly 70 percent said that they heard that if they came to the U.S., they would be released or receive some sort of immigration relief, such as asylum. Additionally, nearly 60 percent said it was the U.S. immigration policies that influenced their decision to come here.

The unresponsiveness by President Obama to this clearly foreseeable crisis is truly shocking. His instructions to federal law enforcement agencies?

Stand down.

In some Border Patrol sectors, agents report that they are not allowed to initiate removal proceedings against criminal aliens who do not have a felony conviction. Aliens convicted of misdemeanors and those who have pending felony charges get a free pass.

Agents also report that they are not authorized to initiate removal proceedings against adult aliens after apprehension at the border if no detention space is available.

Agents also report that they are not authorized to initiate removal proceedings against adult aliens after apprehension at the border if no detention space is available.

This is outrageous—such aliens are supposedly the Obama administration’s number one priority for removal.

And such a policy is a call for foreign nationals to cross our border undetected, including those who would do us harm. There is no doubt that terrorists from ISIS-controlled countries are taking note of the lack of border enforcement. They have publicly announced they will infiltrate this country posing as refugees.

Rather than taking even minimal steps to stem the flood of illegal immigration by simply allowing federal and state law enforcement agencies to do what they do best—enforce the law—the administration sent the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection to the southwest border to survey the calamity.

His response? “We could very well be seeing the new normal.”

Americans do not want our government to throw up its hands and capitulate to the masses of foreign nationals illegally surging across our borders, as though it is inevitable. They want us to address the problem head-on and solve it. It’s not complicated. The president simply must have the will to secure our border.

The grave consequences of the president’s failed immigration policies extend beyond the debacle at the southwest border. They continue into the homeland.

The custody and care of unaccompanied minors is entrusted to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which places minors in the custody of qualified sponsors.

Troubling reports indicate that HHS failed this most basic responsibility to place minors in a safe and secure environment. It did not properly screen prospective sponsors in several cases, resulting in minors being placed in the hands of human traffickers who exploited and threatened the minors and forced them to work.

More concerning is the fact that HHS systematically failed to conduct adequate background checks on all household members. And even if a background check revealed a felony conviction for a sponsor, it would not preclude the placement of the minor. No crime is a per se bar to placement. This is deplorable and unacceptable.

These failures highlight the irony of the administration’s misguided immigration policies—they encourage waves of illegal immigration by Central American minors, who are victimized by criminal organizations along the way, only to arrive in the United States and suffer further harm because of the failure of this administration to ensure their proper care.