- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Corpus Christi Caller-Times. July 15, 2014.

High hopes for a Texan-proposed border initiative

Gov. Rick Perry visited the border last week and President Obama, who visited Texas, didn’t. Perry came away with two memorable photo ops - shaking hands Wednesday with Obama in North Texas and riding the Rio Grande Thursday in an armed patrol boat with politically compatible talk show host Sean Hannity.

The first image suggests that Perry and Obama will work together to solve this border crisis of unaccompanied children streaming here by the thousands from Central America. It’s unlikely, but it would help.

The second image suggests that Texas is the unfriendliest republic on Earth. What happened to “Open for business”?

Nevertheless, refugee children continue to arrive, fleeing conditions at home that make Perry in a gunboat look like Perry on a pink parade float.

A 2008 law with the noble intention of protecting victims of sex trafficking triggered the onslaught. The law guarantees an immigration hearing to children from countries other than Canada and Mexico, allowing them to stay in the meantime. Pointing out that President George W. Bush signed it into law is becoming tedious for its implications that he, not Obama, is to blame for the current crisis. Bush should be considered blameless in the current crisis and the law should be considered an act of humanity.

Nor did Obama cause the crisis through his policy of backing off deportation of young adults brought to the U.S. as small children. They are an apple-orange comparison.

The new arrivals, many of whom surrender to the first official they can find so the hearing process can be started, have backlogged the immigration courts predictably. U.S. resources for taking care of the children are strained accordingly.

Obama critics continue to insist that the border be secured before meaningful reform of our immigration laws can be considered. Their insistence overlooks two realities:

1. Deputizing or conscripting every able-bodied U.S. citizen is no guarantee of filling every hole in the southern border (and what about the northern one?).

2. Immigration reform is the horse that needs to be before the cart. Reform will lead to border security. Putting it off endangers border security.

Obama’s proposed $3.7 billion stopgap to remedy the immediate crisis would provide much of what his critics say is lacking. It includes funding for security, emergency hires of immigration judges, and adequate accommodations for the children in the meantime. But Obama’s critics balk at the cost. Apparently the irony that the things he didn’t do are too expensive is lost on them.

The 2008 law is, like we said, a noble idea. But it needs revision - bipartisan revision. Normally, we’d say that pretty much dooms it.

But on Monday, two Texans, Republican Sen. John Cornyn and Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Laredo, surprised us with the hope that such a thing could be achieved. They announced their intent to introduce the Helping Unaccompanied Minors and Alleviating National Emergency (HUMANE) Act.

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