President Obama’s emergency funding request is fatally flawed because it is not accompanied by critical policy changes that address the core of the immigration crisis our nation is now facing. Without those critical policy changes, the president’s request is merely a temporary Band-Aid to ease the chaos. It is not a serious proposal to end the crisis.
According to Dan Stein, president of FAIR, “The crisis is one of the president’s own making. Under the guise of ‘prosecutorial discretion,’ President Obama has blatantly refused to enforce our immigration laws, ordering immigration agents to essentially ignore all illegal aliens who have not been convicted of violent crimes.”
Removals of illegal alien minors have dropped nearly 80% during his administration. Even President Obama’s former director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unapologetically declared that the chances of the average illegal being deported are “close to zero.”
To make matters worse, President Obama has circumvented Congress and adopted administrative amnesty programs that shield illegal aliens from deportation. The largest of these is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which grants deferred action to essentially any illegal alien who qualifies for the DREAM Act—a bill that Congress has repeatedly rejected.
“These policies have sent a clear message around the world: if you come, you can stay. And not surprisingly, the number of illegal alien minors entering the United States quickly soared. By the time the 2014 fiscal year comes to a close the number of illegal alien minors apprehended at the border is expected to quadruple from 2012,” Stein said.
The problem has been exacerbated by the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, known as the TVPRA. That law — authored in the Senate by now Vice President Joe Biden, and long advocated by Senator Dianne Feinstein — requires the government to place illegal alien minors from Central America in formal removal proceedings instead of quickly returning them to their home, as the law allows with respect to minors from Mexico. The process takes years, and more often results in the illegal alien minors staying in the U.S. rather than being removed to their home countries.
Now, President Obama is asking Congress to pick up the pieces of these disastrous policies. Under the emergency supplemental request of $3.7 billion, about half of the money ($1.8 billion) will actually go to care for the illegal alien minors as they stay in the U.S., rather than expediting the removal of those with no valid claim for admission.
According to the president’s supplemental request, $879 million will go to increase detention space—another policy which the president and amnesty advocates have fought for years; $365 million will go to the Border Patrol to process and care for the illegal alien minors; $45 million is allocated for new immigration judges; and $15 million will go to providing the illegal aliens attorneys. Incredibly, none of the money will go to adding Border Patrol or ICE agents, who are being pulled off the job to process and care for illegal alien minors. And the president is not requesting funding to deploy the National Guard to the border so that Border Patrol and ICE agents can return to their jobs of protecting our country.
While the additional funding – if implemented as promised – might help ease the chaos, it will not solve the crisis. With immigration courts already facing a backlog of over 360,000 cases, speeding up the process will only go so far. What must be addressed are the underlying policies that have created this crisis in the first place. In addition to providing additional funding, Congress must:
- Change the process: Amend TVPRA to allow the government to treat illegal alien minors from Central America the same way it treats minors from Mexico;
- Secure the border: Require and fund the deployment of the National Guard so that Border Patrol and ICE agents can do their jobs and protect our country;
- End administrative amnesties: Significantly restrict the Obama Administration from using policies that shield illegal aliens from removal, such as deferred action, parole-in-place, etc.
“Only if Congress implements all of these measures, will we begin to see a real solution to this border crisis. If it does not, Congress will simply be flushing money down the drain and we can expect the president to submit yet another ‘emergency’ funding request in a matter of months,” Stein concluded.