- - Thursday, December 1, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Barack Obama’s legacy, intended or not, is the hell on the border that he invited and nurtures. The crisis is darker than ever, and the Obama administration seems only to know how to make it worse.

The number of illegal aliens surging across the Rio Grande is growing by every day and night, and the Border Patrol is reduced in some places to minding day-care centers. The United States is showing kindness and compassion, which is all to the good, to those who never felt it or saw it in their home countries. It’s taking a toll on American interests.

Mark Morgan, the chief of the Border Patrol, told Congress of his agents’ frustrations on Wednesday in testimony to the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

“Agents, one of their jobs during the day, is to make sure the burritos that are being provided are being warmed properly,” he told the senators. “It really is child-care stuff that we’re doing, making sure that they’re able to sleep, making sure they get appropriate meals during the day, make sure they have snacks, that meals are warm.”

Chief Morgan’s description of what’s happening was disputed across town by Jeh Johnson, the secretary of Homeland Security, at a forum sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center. He prescribes greater attention to “underlying circumstances” in Central American countries.

“Experience shows that you can build more walls and you can put more border security on the southwest border, but you’ve got to address the underlying circumstances in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador that motivate a 7-year-old child to transit the entire length of Mexico, come to the United States for a better life. Until we start addressing these underlying conditions and until we build out the alternative safe legal paths to come to this country, we’re going to deal with this problem.”

This sounds like a half-baked prescription for a return to a colonialism, to do for these nations what they can’t do for themselves.

The stories brought by these aspiring immigrants are heartbreaking. Sen. Thomas Carper, Delaware Democrat, tells of encountering a Guatemalan boy who fled to Delaware to escape a gang in his home country. He resisted joining a gang until he was told to “join or die.” When told that his initiation was to rape his 13-year-old sister, his parents sent them both to the United States.

“The reason why they have the kind of violence down there is in large part because of us,” the senator says. “It’s because of our addiction to drugs and the flow of drugs through those nations, and to come to our borders, we send them guns and money.”

The senator has a point, but the United States no less than any other nation in the world has a sovereign right to define its borders and say who comes in, and how, and when. This is a fundamental truth often lost in the immigration debate.

The numbers overwhelming the border dipped in 2015, reports our Stephen Dinan, but have surged this year to record numbers of 77,674 aliens in families, and most heartbreaking of all, 59,692 unaccompanied minors, some as young as 7 or 8 years old.

Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, an adviser to the Trump transition team, says transition officials are considering threatening Mexico to secure their southern border with Central America, a choke point of refugees streaming north, or risk renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. But Mexico does not want to do much, preferring to use its border with the United States as a way to discard its tired, its poor and its masses yearning to breathe free — and find something to eat. This is Barack Obama’s inauguration gift to Donald Trump.


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