- - Friday, July 18, 2014

Most of those invading America’s southern border are not what we normally call “children.” They evidently are 16 years old and older — working age. They are labeled children to promote political agendas, even though most are teens and adults, according to those willing to break down a White House-imposed wall of secrecy.

If we had such a formidable wall at the border, we wouldn’t have this mess.

These are not toddlers or grade-schoolers who miraculously traveled more than 1,600 miles. These are persons of working age who are ready to displace Americans who want jobs. Being in their late teens and early 20s, they’re a direct challenge to Americans of those ages, a group whose unemployment rates are two to three times higher than the official national average.

But the Obama administration won’t reveal the truth about the ages of the illegal immigrants.

That information is instantly available from the extensive computer system used to enter copious data about every person picked up at the border. There are NO privacy laws that prevent the release of the total numbers, statistics or overviews about them, nor about where they are being held, transferred or being released. Privacy laws protect details about individuals but don’t apply to the big picture that the public wants to know, deserves to know and needs to know.

Yet White House press secretary Josh Earnest gives only lip service to disclosure before instantly yanking it away: “The public does have a right to know what’s happening … [but] at the same time, there are privacy rights that are included in the law that this administration is committed to enforcing and following.”

He distorts privacy laws totally out of recognition. Conveniently, he recited no specific law and was not immediately asked for one by the press. There isn’t one that applies.

If they were willing, federal officials could issue a daily update of persons arrested crossing our border illegally; instead we have been stuck for weeks using an obviously outdated figure of “57,000 juveniles since October.”

This secrecy is a repeat of last fall’s playing-dumb about the Obamacare rollout. On opening day, President Barack Obama told us that “more than 1 million people visited healthcare.gov” that morning. It took the country forever to learn that only six people were able to enroll in Obamacare on that first day.

It’s an insult to label someone a child when they’re 16 or older. Every parent has learned this lesson, as have relatives, teachers, friends and neighbors. They’re being labeled children for a political purpose, namely to drum up sympathy. Yet we should find it suspicious that news reports that describe “unaccompanied children” also talk about buses filled with “mothers with children.” That’s in addition to avoiding the word “illegal” and substituting terms like “migrant” and “refugee.”

How do we know about the ages, since the White House has silenced the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, banned photo-taking and question-asking by media and congressional tours of facilities? It’s been leaking out through Congress — and citizen-journalists who have smuggled out photos remark that most of the “children” appear to be “working-age men.”

Rep. Mike McCaul, Texas Republican and chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, told Fox News: “About 80 percent of these so-called children are about 16 to 17 years old, mostly male. That, from a security standpoint, greatly concerns me. What are they going to be doing in the United States of America with no education — can’t speak English? That’s the threat that I think a lot of people are concerned about.”

On my Ernest Istook radio show, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican and  chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, told me “the sizable majority of the unaccompanied minors are teenage boys.” Rep. Steve Stockman, Texas Republican and freshly returned from a trip to the border, agreed it is “absolutely true” that most are teenagers. He said officials even call them “adult children” who are as old as 27.

Rep. Jim Bridenstine, Oklahoma Repblican, toured the facility at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and said the ages were officially recorded as 12 to 17. But “It struck me how many folks were there that looked like they were in their upper teens if not early 20s,” he said.

Following orders, border officials let detainees self-report their age, despite federal statutes that require medical tests also to be used. Being well-informed about Obama administration policies, individuals know not to admit being over 17. Many claim to be a few weeks away from turning 18, so that after admission into the U.S., their federal guardianship will end quickly, yet they can remain in the country pending years-away deportation hearings.

A determined media would pound away daily at the wall of secrecy and concealment erected by the Obama White House about immigration, forcing that wall to topple. The only thing transparent about this presidency is that its deceit is so obvious that you can see right through it. If you simply open your eyes.

Ernest Istook is a former Republican congressman from Oklahoma.

Listen online to his daily talk radio show at KZLSam.com, noon to 3 p.m. ET. Get his free email newsletter by signing up at eepurl.com/JPojD.

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