With tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border illegally this year, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson made it clear during an interview with David Gregory of “Meet the Press” on Sunday that it is his belief, as well as the administration’s, that America’s first obligation is to “do right by the children.”
While insisting that all that cross the border illegally face deportation hearings, Johnson would not answer Gregory’s direct question about if the plan was to deport them or place them with relatives already in the country. To his credit, Gregory asked the question three separate times, but each time Johnson replied by saying that the deportation process will be followed. What Johnson failed to mention is that 90 percent fail to show up for their hearing and ultimately remain in the country.
The crisis on our southern border is quickly moving toward catastrophic levels. There were 25,000 unaccompanied minors that entered the country illegally last year, that number is 50,000 for 2014 and is projected to near the 100,000 mark by the end of the year by the administration’s own estimates. While the political back and forth over the causes driving the surge of those crossing into the country illegally is reaching a fevered pitch, the fiscal reality is that the United States simply cannot afford to absorb numbers at this level into our social safety net.
Pew Research Report on Increase in unaccompanied minors crossing border.
While President Obama and his supporters blame violence and poverty for the dramatic increase, critics of the administration argue that policies supported by the White House over the last two years has led to a belief in Central America that if one can get across the border, they will be allowed to remain. Johnson’s statements on “Meet the Press” only served to reinforce that belief.
The reality is that Central American countries are openly encouraging the mass migration, and say it will continue for months. La Prensa of Honduras states specifically that "The children will be accommodated for between three and four months, while their parents or relatives are located in the United States." It continues: "During their stay, in addition to accommodations and food, children receive English classes, play sports and participate in targeted programs while immigration authorities contact their families"
With our economy growing at less than 2% annually (and shrinking 2.9% first quarter this year), how does anyone believe the nation's taxpayers can afford this? Our nation cannot bear the additional stress on the economy that this is going to cost long term. Not only is our nation fiscally unprepared to manage this situation, the stress to services already overburdened will be pushed to a breaking point.
Our nation currently has more than 400,000 children that are wards of the state, and this is going to create untold thousands more. It is time to secure the border. The National Guard must be utilized, or there will be no end to the wave of minors crossing that we then become responsible for. This is being marketed in Central America by the governments, and it will not come to an end of its own volition.
When asked about what steps were being taken to stop the flood of humanity over the southern border, Johnson offered no details or strategy-simply saying “We will stem the tide.”
The first step toward stemming the tide is securing the border, but little has been done toward that end.