- - Monday, June 9, 2014

There’s a surge on the border. This is a surge far different from George W. Bush’s dispatch of armed might to win the day in Iraq. This is a mass movement of immigrants that threatens to transform the nation.

Children are walking hundreds of miles across a hostile environment with little more than the clothes on their backs, accompanied by neither a parent nor other responsible adult. The numbers of these children making the treacherous journey are much higher than the Obama administration has acknowledged, according to reporting by our Stephen Dinan. The deputy Border Patrol chief, Ronald Vitiello, said in an internal memo on May 30 that border agents caught 40,000 unaccompanied children last year. They expect to apprehend 90,000 children this year, and 142,000 in 2015.

Americans are a kind and generous people, and photographs of a sea of small, frightened and hungry faces in U.S. shelters along the southern border are enough to break a million hearts. President Obama, whatever he intended, is largely responsible. Lured by lax immigration enforcement and the promise of citizenship as “dreamers,” the Obama children’s hour is changing the mission at the border from ensuring security to providing emergency assistance. Last week, the president declared the border an “urgent humanitarian situation.” He assigned the handling of the influx of children to Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which customarily provides relief following natural disasters. This is a disaster, sure enough, but it’s a man-made disaster.


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Untended children leaving their homes in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to head north is anything but natural. On June 2, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte pinned the blame squarely on Mr. Obama’s broken border policies. “Word has gotten out around the world about President Obama’s lax immigration-enforcement policies and it has encouraged more people to come to the United States illegally, many of whom are children from Central America.”

Coming to America now means getting free citizenship, free health care, welfare benefits and even an Obamaphone. Illegal aliens crossing the border into Texas say news reports in their Central American homelands encourage them to risk the journey northward with the promise that if they make it to the U.S. border, they won’t be turned away.

Undeterred by the refusal of Congress to enact the Dream Act, the president substitutes an administrative equivalent in the form of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which enables those who arrive illegally as children and are in school or the military to remain for two years, subject to renewal. Nearly 600,000 children have benefited from the program since 2012. On Friday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. announced the administration would pay for 100 lawyers to help young illegals remain in the United States.


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Generosity doesn’t require that everybody who wants to come to America can come to America. The children’s surge is another consequence of the president making good on his vow to “fundamentally transform” America. He is endangering the lives of thousands of children south of the border.