Since 2008, Democrats and President Obama have promised supporters immigration reform. Until 2012, that was all that was done. Even with the power of a supermajority at hand and a campaign promise to create immigration reform in the first year of the Obama Presidency. But in 2012 President Obama and Senate Democrats decided the time was ripe (and the pressure of a presidential election was around the corner) to again promise reform. This time, with full awareness that House Republicans were vehemently opposed to a path to citizenship that Dems insisted on, President Obama subverted the power of Executive Orders to circumvent Congress and create new law for a class of people - children of illegal immigrants. The floodgate was opened.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) established that at least tens of thousands, if not more, illegal aliens would not have immigration laws enforced upon them. The primary focus of this "get out of jail" Executive Order masquerading as law are those 18 and under. Politically it was a gambit to force immigration reform discussions, as it seemed to be assumed that no politician would dare risk being seen as targeting helpless children. The gambit succeeded in galvanizing opponents of a path to citizenship, polarizing the issue further, and motivating parents in 3rd world nations.
That last part is hypercritical. All parents love their children, all want their child to have a better life. In forcing new law upon America, President Obama equally made an open invitation to the parents, effectively placing the thought that children will not be deported in the minds of illegal aliens around the globe.
Thus in approximately 9 months some 57,000 (depending on the source you use) unaccompanied children have landed upon US shores. This includes those that are sick, with diseases including swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis - though the magnitude of such infectious disease is unknown. With such huge numbers of minors, young gang members have also infiltrated the rush to enter America illegally - yet only 16 such gang members have been reported to date.
In total, the influx of unaccompanied illegal minors has led to President Obama requesting $3.7 billion in emergency funding to address the situation that has already overtaxed several States ability to address the flood. That works out to a cost of $64,912 per child to date. That's more than the cost of a year of college ($23,066 average 4-year program) or even 4 years at a State college ($57,168 average) [National Center for Education Statistics]
As bad as all this may sound, it gets worse. The White House estimates that an additional 150,000 unaccompanied illegal minors will enter the nation in the next year. If the cost burden were to stay constant, it would require an additional $9.7 billion in that year alone.
As Mexican comedian and legal immigrant Paul Rodriguez stated on CNN
"Let's just say we allow this [57,000] to stay here and grow up in American and go to our schools. What do we say to the 60,000 that are going to follow them. And the 150,000 that will follow. Can we house them all Father [panelist on the program with Rodriguez]? Do we have the whereabouts? We can't even take care of our own kids now." - 1:28 in the video of discussion on CNN
In creating DACA, in attempting to force immigration reform without bi-partisan compromise, in trying to obligate a path to citizenship, President Obama and Democrats have effectively started down a path that turns into a vortex of ever growing numbers of illegal alien children, from every corner of the globe, as parents from Africa to China, to Honduras and beyond opt to risk sending their children to America for a better life - or to skip the line of legal immigration lest their child be denied entry or delayed.
In many ways this is akin to the 1983-85 famine crisis in Ethiopia. While tens of millions of dollars in aide were donated internationally, the inadvertent effect was sustaining a corrupt government, siphoning of funds to para-military groups, and extended suffering for tens of thousands of Ethiopians that the world was trying to help. In America's crisis, the more that is done to enable these children to remain in the nation, the more children that will come.
Politicians rarely understand the consequences of their actions. Most are content with kicking a problem down the road to a time when they will no longer be in office and have to deal with the aftermath of their actions. But children are hardly skipping stones. The damage is equally to America, the parents of these unaccompanied minors, and the children that must endure immense hardships without their loved ones.
There are no winners in this game of political oneupmanship on immigration reform that President Obama has used to skewer the nation upon. The only lasting answer, that prevents the unintended tragedy as well as the long-term damage to our economics and law, is to act with compassion and swiftness in returning these children to the nations they originated from while destroying the law-breaking invitation that is DACA.
Perhaps then bipartisan action can resume on a solution to immigration reform that neither Party will love, but will benefit America the most.