It takes audacity for President Obama to schedule a pair of Democratic fundraisers in Texas while he refuses to tour the chaos on the Texas border. Waves of illegal aliens, mostly unaccompanied children, have swarmed over the Rio Grande into South Texas, triggering a humanitarian crisis.
The White House response has been to ask for $3.7 billion to hire bureaucrats to process paperwork when immigration agents on the border cry for help. “The supplemental request that we’re seeking principally focuses on these immigration court resources — judges, lawyers, prosecutors, asylum officials,” the White House spokesman first said.
At the 11th hour, politics and concern for the perceptions of a fundraising trip to Austin and Dallas without even a photo-op to address the border chaos prevailed. The White House offered Gov. Rick Perry a handshake on the airport tarmac in Austin.
This reminded the governor too much of the Atlantic City bear hug Mr. Obama gave New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie after Superstorm Sandy in October 2012, or before that George W. Bush’s brief flight over New Orleans in the first days after Hurricane Katrina. “A quick handshake on the tarmac will not allow for a thoughtful discussion regarding the humanitarian and national security crises enveloping the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas,” Mr. Perry wrote to the president. “I would instead offer to meet with you at any time during your visit to Texas for a substantive meeting to discuss this critical issue.”
Only then did Mr. Obama agree to meet Mr. Perry in Dallas — 550 miles north of the border, where 300,000 illegal aliens have arrived since April. (For a comparison of statistics, that’s nearly twice the number of Allied soldiers who landed at Normandy.)
President Bush was harshly criticized for flying over the humanitarian disaster on the Gulf Coast, but he visited the Gulf states 17 times and first lady Laura Bush made 24 trips, and never to fundraisers in Baton Rouge or Biloxi at the height of crisis.
Mr. Bush suffered for it, his poll numbers falling to a record low when he was portrayed as out-of-touch for the suffering of a natural disaster. The humanitarian crisis at the border is the creation of Mr. Obama and his administration, luring children over the border with the implied promise that they will get amnesty. A new Rasmussen poll finds that 46 percent of likely voters blame the border catastrophe squarely on the president. Only 31 percent disagree.
Instead of hiring an army of paper-pushers, the administration should be renting a squadron of planes or a raft of buses to carefully and gently return these children to their families in Mexico and Central America. Anything less perpetuates the hope of impoverished parents in other countries to cut ahead of the line of legal immigrants, irresponsibly sending their children on the perilous journey north.
Mr. Obama, bold and clever though he may be, can’t get away much longer with flying over his Katrina.