The Lawton Constitution: Obama's 'Free-pass' Policies Lead to Immigration Crisis

By:  Sen. Jim Inhofe

Click here to read from The Lawton Constitution

There is a crisis at our border and the President is to blame. Last year more than 24,000 unaccompanied alien children (UAC) were found trying to cross our southern border. This year that number is expected to more than double or triple. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) in Texas is so overwhelmed that they are sending these children, aged 12-17, to military installations in Texas, California, and Oklahoma to be temporarily housed.

President Obama has asked agencies across the federal government to divert resources in order to respond to what he calls “an urgent humanitarian situation.” He tells us that these children are fleeing their home countries to escape gangs, violence, and poverty. While these may be factors, he ignores his own policies as the driving force of this unprecedented wave of illegal immigrants arriving at our doorstep.

According to an internal CBP memorandum, 95 percent of 200 non-Mexican immigrants interviewed stated that the reason they came to the United States was because they’d been told that they could get a “permiso,” or a “free pass,” into our country. Other border patrol sources report that the children tell agents that they are here for “amnistía,” or amnesty.

In 2012, under President Obama’s leadership, the Department of Homeland Security announced a program of deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA). DACA allows certain illegal immigrants who came here as children to request deferred prosecutorial action for a period of two years, which can be renewed. This is backdoor amnesty for an estimated 1.76 million illegals. Once again, the President has acted without Congressional approval, using prosecutorial discretion to implement policies he cannot pass through legislation. Even though they are not qualified, these children hear stories filled with half-truths and come looking for their own amnesty.

Furthermore, the “free pass” these immigrants are referring to is based on the fact that those who can be placed with a relative or guardian in the United States are released to their care and told to report to local immigration officials within 15 days. It is rare that they do. Relatives and friends located within the United States are telling those back home that once you are caught you will be held for a couple days, released, and will not be deported.

They are not wrong. The Executive branch has shirked its Constitutional duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Since coming into office, President Obama has relaxed immigration enforcement and spoken at length regarding his desire for amnesty.

The reach of his policies and rhetoric does not stop at our borders. News reports in Central America are filled with stories of the United States providing room, board, English lessons, and legal assistance while illegals wait to be released to relatives or guardians in the United States. As a result, children from these countries are showing up at our border by the hundreds each day, overwhelming our resources.

Due to this influx, our government has to send them away from the border to be housed at military installations, including Ft. Sill in Oklahoma. Ft. Sill will begin housing an initial 600 children as of Friday in barracks that are currently empty and awaiting renovations. We are told that Ft. Sill will be used for this purpose for 120 days and will host a total of 1,200 children. However, we have been given no guarantee what will happen with the children next or that the number won't increase as the arrival of large numbers of unaccompanied alien children expected to continue.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will be caring for them and locate and place them with family members or guardians in the U.S. Children that cannot be placed will be removed to group homes around the country. Meanwhile, the U.S. government will provide them with food, medical services, English lessons, and transportation to other locations within the country. All this will cost taxpayers an estimated $2.3 billion.

This is not just a humanitarian crisis, the President created a national security crisis too. Children are not the only illegal immigrants pouring over our Southern border, adults and families units are arriving as well. In the last 5 months, 100,000 illegal aliens have arrived at our doorstep. Border patrol agents are spread so thin that they are unable to focus on drug cartels, weapons trafficking, and other illegal activities. Furthermore, the influx of illegals is allowing those with diseases, criminal pasts, and gang ties to be released into our communities, putting all Americans at risk.

America is a nation built on the principle of the rule of law, not the rule of man. The President needs to take responsibility for the crisis at our border and send a strong message to the world that our immigration laws will be enforced.