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Obama’s Border Crisis

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For POLITICO Magazine, Rich Lowry writes: It’s hard to imagine a more apt summation of the lunatic state of the nation’s immigration debate than this week’s split screen.

In Washington, most respectable opinion lined up, yet again, to condemn Republicans for not passing an amnesty under the guise of defunct-for-now “comprehensive immigration reform.”

 “If you are a run-of-the-mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero.”

— John Sandweg, former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Meanwhile, the crisis on the Southern border continued. A massive influx of people — largely driven by Central Americans, many of them children — drawn here in the expectation of lax immigration enforcement is overwhelming border officials and facilities.

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A Wall Street Journal story about the White House reaction to the crisis was headlined, “Obama Plans Executive Action to Bolster Border Security,” which has a man-bites-dog feel to it after all of the administration’s executive actions to undermine immigration enforcement.

A leaked memo from a high-ranking Border Patrol official said that only 3 percent of non-Mexicans apprehended at the border are being returned to their native countries.

The border crisis is of a piece with a broad unraveling of the president’s policy over the past year. His erstwhile spiritual mentor might have put it under the category of “chickens coming home to roost.”

He adopted the policy of maximum risk in Iraq by pulling out all our combat troops, and Sunni jihadis are marching on Baghdad. He championed a vast new health law reliant on the smooth operation of perhaps the most complex federal website ever, and it’s still not functioning properly. He has systematically ignored the nation’s immigration laws, and tens of thousands of new illegal immigrants are showing up at our doorstep.

House Speaker John Boehner appropriately attacked the president over the crisis the other day, but spoke imprecisely when he excoriated him for “giving false hope to children and their families that if they enter the country illegally they will be allowed to stay.” Actually, the hope is quite real.

As the pro-enforcement Center for Immigration Studies notes, apprehensions of non-Mexicans have increased sharply over the past year, but deportations of citizens of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have dropped in the same period.

A leaked memo from a high-ranking Border Patrol official said that only 3 percent of non-Mexicans apprehended at the border are being returned to their native countries.

“It will not be open arms,” Joe Biden thundered in Guatemala City the other day, in an attempt to dissuade would-be migrants. “We’re going to hold hearings with our judges, consistent with international law and American law, and we’re going to send the vast majority of you back.”

The only part he had right is that we will hold hearings with our judges….(read more)

POLITICO Magazine

Rich Lowry is editor of National Review.

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