By Tony Perkins
After six years of leaving America’s borders wide open, a flood of migrant children are putting a face on the immigration crisis. Fifty-two thousand faces, to be exact. While kids from Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala stream across the border illegally, the holes aren’t just apparent in our fences, but in the administration’s agenda. For years, the President ignored the warnings of Governors like Rick Perry (R-Texas), who pleaded with the administration to secure the border or face the consequences.
Today, those consequences are painfully clear, as tens of thousands of children sit in southern detention centers, living symbols of the administration’s lax attitude on immigration. Even the President’s own party can’t understand his inaction. “With all due respect to the administration,” said House Democrat Henry Cuellar (Texas), “they were one step behind,” Cuellar told CNN. “They should have seen this coming a long time ago.”
Now that ignoring the problem is no longer an option, the administration is foisting it onto their favorite scapegoats: taxpayers. This week, White House officials confirmed that the President is planning to ask Congress for a $3,700,000,000 immigration bailout to deal with the crisis that, oh-by-the-way, his agenda created! Initially, the White House had surprised critics by announcing that it would try to expedite the kids’ deportation. While the issue is a thorny one for liberals, the President had promised to ask for legislative changes that would send the kids home sooner.
Now, instead of trying to resolve the problem, the President is requesting money to patch the consequences instead. Among other things, the funds (which aren’t authorized under the Budget Control Act) would be rerouted to hire immigration judges, new detention facilities, legal aid, and other relief. Unfortunately, this is the cost of lawlessness: more debt. For all the libertarians out there unconcerned with issues like this one, the reality is that refusing to enforce the law — whether it’s marriage law or immigration law — not only undermines the government, but comes with a big price tag.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), for one, has had enough. Two weeks ago, the GOP leader vowed to sue the President for circumventing Congress on these very issues. The President’s response? “So sue me.” Conservative leaders plan to. “What’s disappointing is the President’s flippant dismissal of the Constitution we are both sworn to defend,” Boehner fired back. “It is utterly beneath the dignity of the office.” As we saw with ObamaCare, the President forces these failed policies on America and then turns to taxpayers to bail him out.
Like most conservatives, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) knows that this immigration catastrophe could have been avoided if the administration had simple upheld the law. When Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was noncommittal on securing the border, Sessions fumed, “This is the top law enforcement officer with regard to immigration in America! And he could not say, ‘Do not come to America unlawfully, it violates our laws, we cannot accept that, if you do so you will be deported, and if you bring children, you both are going to be deported.’ Why couldn’t he say that? He couldn’t say it because they’ve had no serious policy to effectuate that law, which is current law, since he’s been in office and before,” he said.
Rest assured, Sessions said, America will not turn its back on these children: “We can’t leave them in a certain circumstance where they’re not fed or taken care of.” But, he cautioned, he and the rest of the GOP won’t write another blank check to cover up this administration’s shortcomings. If the President wants to spend more than three billion dollars on aid, then Congress ought to force him to take Sen. Richard Shelby’s (R-Ala.) advice and pull the money from ObamaCare.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) was right, Sessions said. “We simply can’t provide money until we have some clarity that we’re going to be taking action in this country that will keep this from happening in the future.”
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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