- - Tuesday, June 24, 2014

President Obama’s dirty laundry is on display on the border for all to see. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is seeking 42,000 pairs of actual underwear on the border. It’s a bizarre consequence of the administration’s ill-conceived, badly executed immigration policies.

This was presumably a routine purchase order, but there’s nothing routine about what’s happening as children pour over the border seeking U.S. citizenship. The amnesty talk on Capitol Hill has spread through Central America, giving impoverished (and irresponsible) families the hope of a shortcut to the American Dream.

Rather than wait their turn, these desperate but irresponsible parents in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are sending their children north in the belief that if they make the treacherous journey across the border onto U.S. soil, they’ll be allowed to stay and become “anchor babies,” enabling parents, siblings and others to follow.

The administration fully expected the wave of young illegals, but the president’s men didn’t work it out with the Central American nations to regulate the exodus. The White House merely rolled out the welcome wagon.

In a posting on the Federal Business Opportunities website on Jan. 29, Immigration and Customs Enforcement solicited applicants to provide “escort services for unaccompanied alien children.” The contractors were sought to provide around-the-clock “on-demand escort services” for illegals up to age 17.

The one place they won’t be escorted is back to their homes. That would send an unambiguous message to other parents contemplating sending their minor children to Los Estados Unidos, entrusting young lives to “coyotes,” the mercenaries paid to smuggle the human masses across the border.

Vice President Joe Biden belatedly warned in Guatemala City on Friday that the young arrivals, most of them poor and uneducated, would not be greeted with “open arms,” but rather that “we’re going to send the vast majority of [them] back.” So far those are empty words. Nor did Mr. Biden clarify what he meant by “vast majority.” This sounded to many parents like a loophole for their children to wriggle through. This sounds like damage control here in the wake of the newspaper and television pictures of overflowing shelters on the border.

Border Patrol agents are predictably furious. The National Border Patrol Council, a union of 16,500 agents, sent this Twitter: “New annual job-rating areas: Babysitting. Diaper Changing. Burrito Wrapping. Cleaning cells. (Law enforcement? What’s that?)”

If there’s a bright spot in this humanitarian disaster, it’s the warning of the amnesty trap. Mr. Obama’s open-border schemes sends the message that anyone who arrives illegally will eventually get a voting card, and in the meantime enjoy generous public benefits. These benefits have been increased regularly since Mr. Obama took office in 2009.

The children, some as young as 2, arriving in the arms of an older brother or sister, aren’t to blame for this mess. But unthinking compassion, holding out the hope of keeping families intact or allowing children to stay in defiance of the law, will only increase the suffering and danger for the next wave of children. This tsunami of “the huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,” likely dooms amnesty in this session of Congress. This is Mr. Obama’s tsunami. He invited it, and he owns it.