Tag Archives: Central America

Lt. Gov. Patrick: Keep troops on the border

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wants to keep state National Guard troops on the state’s southern border.

Here’s the question: Is the state’s No. 2 elected official getting ahead of its No. 1 official, the governor, who’s actually in command of the Texas National Guard?

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/headlines/20150210-lt.-gov.-dan-patrick-wants-to-keep-national-guard-on-texas-border.ece

Former Gov. Rick Perry dispatched the National Guard to the border a year ago in a move seen by many as little more than a grandstanding act designed to make himself look tough in the face of that mass migration of children into Texas, who were fleeing political and economic repression in Central America.

You’ll recall, perhaps, that Gov. Perry sent the troops there with no clear mission — or even any authority — to make arrests.

http://highplainsblogger.com/2014/07/23/troops-to-the-border/

There’s a new regime at the top in Austin, with Perry now out office and Abbott occupying the governor’s seat, and with Patrick having defeated Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the GOP primary this past spring.

It’s interesting to me that, according to the Dallas Morning News, House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, has taken a cautious approach to Patrick’s call for keeping the troops on patrol along the border. “I appreciate Gov. Patrick’s remarks,” Straus said. “But Gov. Abbott is the commander in chief and he will decide whether to extend the National Guard’s deployment.” The Morning News reports that Abbott had no comment on Patrick’s statements.

All of this has me curious as well. Is the lieutenant governor’s stay-tough approach to border enforcement a symbolic shot across Abbott’s bow to ensure that the Big Man — Abbott — is equally stern in his approach to border enforcement?

Some folks seem to believe Patrick has his eyes set on another political prize in 2018, the one currently possessed by Greg Abbott.

I’m just wondering.

 

Mexico is responsible, too

I’m trying to imagine this conversation occurring at the White House, or perhaps at Los Pinos, Mexico’s official presidential residence.

It would involve U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Pena.

Obama: I’m glad we’re meeting today. Let’s talk about that refugee crisis on our common border, shall we?

Pena: Certainly, Mr. President.

Obama: OK, then. What are you going to do to stop the flow of young people from your southern border, all the way through your country and into my country?

Pena: Well, we’re doing our best. But we have about 1,500 miles of territory from our southern frontier to our border with the U.S. Do you want us to stop these children en route?

Obama: Yes, I do. Look, Mr. President, I’m getting pounded by critics at home because — they contend — we’re not doing enough to protect our borders. But the way I see it, protection also must depend on our neighbors doing the best they can to protect their own territory against trespassers. Oh, and by the way, we are rounding up these children and young adults by the thousands, holding them in detention, and trying to figure out what to do with them. You said it yourself: Those refugees are traveling several hundred miles through your country to get to ours.

Pena: Well, you know what? You make a good point. From this moment forward, I’m going to mobilize our military, notify our local police authorities to ensure that they search out, locate and intercept busloads crammed with young people heading north. I would suppose they’d be easy to detect.

Obama: Good to know, Mr. President. That’s what hemispheric neighborliness is all about.

***

Has this conversation occurred? I don’t know. Should it? Absolutely.

Dysfunction reigns in U.S. House

How much more chaotic can it get in the People’s House?

Probably a lot more than what we’re witnessing, but we we’re getting now is a sideshow worthy of a circus barker.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/31/politics/congress-immigration/index.html

The House of Representatives canceled a planned vote on a border security/immigration bill after leaders failed to get enough support among rank-and-file members to support it. It would cost about $659 million, far less than the $3.7 billion President Obama requested when the child refugee crisis erupted on the nation’s southern border.

Meanwhile, the Senate is wondering what to do with a larger bill.

What happens now? Well, Congress is about to take a five-week summer recess, which means that, all of a sudden, the border crisis isn’t quite as “urgent” as House leadership proclaimed it to be.

As I recall, they were yammering at the White House to do something about it. The president responded with his emergency spending request, but the persistent critics said, “Not so fast, Mr. President. We aren’t going to write a blank check here.”

Now the House has come apart at the seams yet again over a possible solution proposed by that guy who lives down the street in the White House.

This is effective governance? I think not.

Will shatters the Fox mold

http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/07/27/foxs-george-will-we-should-tell-child-immigrant/200215

George Will might find himself out of a job if the Fox New Channel brass takes serious exception to what the commentator said this morning on Fox News Sunday.

He said, and you should watch the clip attached here, that the United States of America ought to welcome the “criminals with teddy bears” into our culture, not send them back to their Central America homeland where they face possible, if not probable, harm.

I’ll just dispute one point in Will’s comment here. He mentions the nation has 3,141 counties. Divide the number of counties into the 57,000 or so child refugees who’ve come here and you have a mere handful of children moving into each county. That logic presumes we can distribute the children evenly among all American counties.

Whatever.

I found the exchange between Will and Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace stunning.

Will is right to note that we’ve handled far more immigrants than what’s happening right now at the border. The “wretched refuse” ought to be welcome, he said.

Wow! I think I’ll try to catch my breath now.

Troops to the border

The more I think about Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to mobilize approximately 1,000 National Guard troops to patrol the Texas-Mexico border, the more ridiculous it sounds.

Texas Monthly’s Paul Burka had a brief post on it Monday. Here is most of what he posted: “What is the purpose of sending the Guard to the border? The National Guard is a military force. Is its mission military or humanitarian? Who is the giving the orders? What are the rules of engagement? Who is the enemy? Are the troops going to cross the border and invade a foreign country, as Pancho Villa did in Columbus, New Mexico, during the Mexican Revolution? Meanwhile, what happens to the refugees? And, by the way, what is this going to cost? These are good questions in search of answers.”

If there ever was a political stunt meant to appeal to an audience outside of Texas, the governor has just performed it — clumsily, I should add.

Perry’s decision is pure showboating.

As for the cost, it became known earlier today. The troops will cost the Texas treasury an estimated $12 million per month.

To do what? The National Guard has no jurisdiction in the effort to stem the tide of children fleeing their Central American nations. Fox News’s Brit Hume asked Perry about that very thing. The governor’s response? He said the troops were there for show. He knows they cannot arrest anyone, or that their “adversaries” are unarmed children who are surrendering in droves quite willingly to local police and federal Border Patrol agents.

The governor wants to run for president in 2016. This National Guard stunt is aimed at the Republican Party primary base in places like Iowa and New Hampshire that is going to eat this stuff up.

It’s another embarrassing display of grandstanding.

Who said anything about 'blank check'?

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner says Congress won’t give President Obama a “blank check” to spend as he sees fit on trying to solve the border crisis.

Interesting, yes?

Who on God’s Green Earth said anything about writing a blank check?

“I’ll tell you this, we’re not giving the president a blank check,” Boehner said of Obama’s request for a $3.7 billion emergency fund for the humanitarian crisis. “Beyond that, we will await further discussions with our members before we make any final decisions.”

OK, Mr. Speaker. Set the ground rules for how the money should be spent if you wish.

If I heard the president correctly, all he’s asking is for you and your congressional colleagues to approve the spending request so he can deploy the resources he needs to help solve the problem of all those kids coming here from Central America.

The speaker and others in Congress — mainly Republicans — are critical of Obama for failing to act. Well, he cannot act on his own — right, Mr. Speaker? So he’s asking for money that only Congress can appropriate.

Meantime, let’s stop the sniping and get down to doing the people’s work.

What about the children?

There’s plenty to upset many Americans about the crisis that has erupted on our southern border with Mexico.

The most troubling to me is how some Americans are reacting to the children who are streaming across our border.

I don’t want our government to be responsible for these children until they reach adulthood. They need to be sent back as soon as it is possible to do so while ensuring their safety once they return.

Therein lies the rub with this mess.

The children who are coming to Texas and other border states are refugees fleeing lives of misery in places like Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. They aren’t drug smugglers or killers sneaking into the Land of Opportunity to do evil things to people. They’re frightened because their parents, for crying out loud, have sent them here unaccompanied. Some of the kids have been smuggled here by “coyotes,” thugs who deal in human trafficking.

Yet we’ve seen the protests along the California-Mexico border. Americans are carrying signs and shouting epithets at these children.

I’m not for an instant advocating an open-door policy that allows anyone free entry into the United States. We do have a crisis on our hands and the most helpless victims in this crisis are the children who have been detained, held in custody by various state and federal authorities.

Too many of us are condemning these kids.

If we are to direct our anger and frustration it ought to be to the authorities who run our federal and state governments for failing to protect our borders adequately. It happens to be a shared responsibility and a shared failure.

The children? They’re the pawns who deserve our care, not our scorn.

Border crisis expands

Linda Chavez asks in a New York Post column why the Obama administration doesn’t “do more” to stem the flow of children from Central America into southern border states such as Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

http://nypost.com/2014/06/20/behind-the-horrible-border-crisis/

I kind of expect that from Chavez, a noted conservative thinker and pundit.

I’ve been wracking my brain the past few days with this question: Why doesn’t Mexico do more to stop the flow of these unaccompanied children all the way through that country and into the United States of America?

Chavez and others have noted that the kids have to travel about 1,300 miles through Mexico to reach the southern border of the United States. How is it that those children are given free passage through a fairly large country to end up in the Land of Opportunity?

If President Obama has a bone to pick, it ought to be with the Mexican government.

Chavez lays out a grim scenario: “According to recent reports, these kids walk right up to border agents as soon as they see them and turn themselves in. They’ve been instructed to do so, sometimes by the criminal ‘coyotes’ who extort hundreds, even thousands, of dollars from the kids’ parents to get them across the border.

“These human traffickers are telling parents their children will be granted a legal right to stay in the U.S. once on our soil. This is absolutely false — but that word is slow in getting to gullible would-be border crossers.”

She wants the U.S. government to blanket Guatemala and Honduras TV airwaves to public service announcements urging parents to stop selling their children to traffickers. That’s fine.

However, geopolitical neighborliness compels one country to do all it can do to protect its orders with another nation.

Critics keep harping on the openness of the U.S. side of our border with Mexico. They forget — or ignore — the fact that we’ve deported record numbers of illegal immigrants in recent years. The problem just has been compounded many times by the flood of these children from beyond Mexico’s southern border.

Whose fault is that? Ours? I don’t think so.

Mexico becomes migrant thoroughfare

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn is making a valid point about the latest immigration crisis to hit Texas and other border states.

All those undocumented immigrants who are flooding into Texas — more than 40,000 at last count — are coming not from Mexico, but from beyond Mexico. They’re fleeing to the United States from Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and points south of Mexico’s border with Central America.

Thus, it is in U.S. interests to help Mexico seal its borders with Central America.

http://www.panhandlepbs.org/news/texas-tribune/cornyn-us-should-help-mexico-seal-its-southern-border/

Cornyn, R-Texas, said during a conference call with reporters, “That 500-mile border between Guatemala and Mexico is a sieve. Once these unaccompanied minors or other adults get in to the hands of the gangs that smuggle them through areas controlled by the Zetas or other cartels, this is not a benign situation. This is a dangerous and deadly … journey.”

They’ve been pouring into Texas, Arizona and New Mexico — but mostly into Texas. Border Patrol agents and local police are arresting them by the thousands.

Naturally, critics of the Obama administration are finding a way to blame them for the trouble. It’s been brewing for years. Cornyn himself has blamed current immigration policy as enticing this flood of illegal immigrants. The view in Central America, Cornyn said, is that “the administration simply will not enforce current immigration laws.”

I would suggest the arrests of the immigrants implies that the U.S. government does enforce those laws.

Helping our neighbor secure its southern border, though, is in our national interest.

It also might be time to remind Mexico of its own responsibility to stop these illegal immigrants from passing through its territory en route to the United States. Perhaps a little geopolitical neighborliness would be in order.