The flood of illegal immigrants crossing America's southern border has become a crisis. Those arriving are not "undocumented" or "refugees," what is occurring is a blatant disregard for the immigration policies of the United States, however flawed those policies may be. We are not dealing with immigrants "yearning to breathe free," rather this is Mexico and the countries of central America dumping their economically dispossessed, gangs and criminals on our doorstep.
This is a humanitarian crisis, with reports of the bodies of small children washing up on the shores of the Rio Grande. It is a law enforcement crisis as drug cartel "coyotes" transport illegals across the border for money. It is a political crisis as leaders of both parties have been unable to come together to develop a coherent immigration policy. It is a foreign policy crisis as Mexico detains one U.S. Marine who accidentally wandered into their territory while sending tens of thousands across our borders and suffering no ill consequence. It is a constitutional crisis as our president refuses to perform his sworn duties and enforce the immigration laws passed by congress.
The degree of President Obama's arrogance on this matter was on full display last week as he played pool and drank beer during a visit to Texas rather than tour the border and holding facilities. Imagine the uproar if President Bush had gone to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and instead of delivering a substantial address while standing in front of the St. Louis Cathedral he had gone off for some Beignets at Café du Monde?
Media reports would have us believe that those flooding across the U.S. border with Mexico are small children looking for a better life in the United States. They are often referred to as "dreamers," an effort to slap lipstick on the immigration crisis pig. While some are small children, the fact is criminals, drug dealers, and those sick with infectious diseases are also arriving in the current wave. And how does it benefit those who are small children to separate them from parents and send them into camps filled with miscreants and disease?
The preponderance of the blame for this situation lays with the president and his administration whose refusal to establish effective border security and whose political pronouncements telegraphed an open border policy to Mexico and its southern neighbors. Administration spokesmen engage in Orwellian double speak, a frequent dialect in this White House, claiming the borders are more secure than ever. Really? So the most secure border ever has resulted in a wave of illegal immigrants that have so overwhelmed the system more border control agents are attending to basic human needs than providing security?
Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel once said no good crisis should ever go to waste. By that he meant a crisis gives the president the opportunity to take actions he might not otherwise be able to take. That is why the Obama Administration has allowed the current immigration crisis to occur. It was predictable and encouraged and designed to help the president achieve his personal political goal of letting tens of thousands of new immigrants — who will become dependent on the government services his party champions, and ultimately voters for future progressive regimes.
Against the backdrop of this harsh reality Republicans and responsible Democrats in congress must act quickly to change current law allowing those who have crossed the border to be sent back immediately. The current process is unenforceable, unrealistic and partially to blame for triggering the crisis now unfolding. Then, steps must be taken — including the deployment of troops — to seal off the nation's southern border. And finally, congressional leaders must come together to craft a reasonable and enforceable immigration policy going forward.
A nation is not truly a nation if it cannot control its own borders. The time has come for us to regain control of ours.
(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.