Tag Archives: immigration crisis

'Kick-ass militiaman' discovers humanity

Charles Gilbert has told a fascinating and gripping story about how he changed his attitude toward those who come to this country illegally.

He joined a Texas “militia” organization and deployed to the state’s southern border. He intended to join others who were angry about the illegal immigrant flow.

Then he discovered something. He says in a lengthy article attached to this blog that he found “humanity.”


Yes, the Texas Observer is a left-leaning publication based in Austin. One isn’t likely to find such a story in, say, the Amarillo Globe-News or other right-leaning publications.

Gilbert’s story is a lengthy one as published in the Observer.

The most interesting thing he said, however, is the one about discovering that the illegal immigrants coming into Texas merely were human beings seeking a better life.

He describes himself as a typical “angry white male.” He was ticked off when he went to the border. Gilbert told the Observer: “‘I decided I wanted to go down to the border and kick some ass,’” Gilbert says. ‘I’m your typical angry white male. I’m conservative. I’m pissed off at the double-standard in the media. I’m that guy.’”

Then he got up close and personal with the folks he sought to stop.

Not only did he discover the humanity in the form of the people who came to Texas from Mexico and beyond, he also found some humanity within himself.

Immigration crisis to re-emerge

Am I the only one who wonders how certain compelling crises get pushed so easily off the front burner when other compelling crises emerge?

The refugee crisis on our southern border is an example. Remember that one?

Thousands of young people were fleeing into the United States to escape human traffickers in their home country. We were rounding them up, putting them in detention camps and wondering out loud what we were going to do with those children.


Then the crisis in Iraq and Syria erupted with a vengeance.

It’s displaced everything else we deemed critical: the kidnapping of those girls in Nigeria, Ukraine, the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

The refugee crisis is still boiling. It’s going to return to the public’s eye soon, says U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo.

It will return in the form of a continuing budget resolution, Cuellar said, according to the Texas Tribune: “Cuellar said Friday during a border legislative conference that the issue would not be part of the debate on a continuing resolution to keep the federal government funded. That resolution is expected to be passed this month.” Instead, he said, it’ll come up later. “When the omnibus bill comes up in December, hopefully we can sit down and work something out on that particular aspect,” Cuellar said.

OK, but isn’t the refugee matter still a critical concern? Of course it is.

Let’s intermingle the Islamic State crisis with it as well, given that critics of President Obama’s anti-ISIL strategy keep suggesting that the terrorists are going to infiltrate the United States along its “porous” and “unprotected” southern border.

Multi-tasking is taking on a new meaning in Washington, D.C., and in Austin. Our elected leaders in both places had better stay sharp. Or else.

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.

Obama, Perry to meet after all

It appears saner heads are beginning to prevail in the Texas governor’s office and at the White House.

President Obama has asked Congress for $4 billion in emergency aid to help combat the flow of illegal immigrants into Texas and other border states.

And …

Gov. Rick Perry has accepted the president’s invitation to a private meeting between the men to discuss ways to solve the crisis on the border.

Is this a sign of progress? Could be.

Perry had refused to take part in an airport tarmac symbolic handshake when Obama arrives in Austin later this week. He wanted a private meeting and said so publicly. The White House agreed this morning.

A meeting between the president and the governor won’t solve the crisis by itself. It is good political symbolism, and provides good “optics” for both men. One more such positive optic would be for the president to visit the border to see up close what’s causing all the ruckus.

As for the 4 billion bucks the president is asking, the ball is now in Congress’s court.

Congressional Republicans — to no one’s surprise — have been bashing the White House over its response to the border crisis that has produced more than 50,000 illegal immigrants coming to Texas in recent weeks. They’re mostly unaccompanied children and young adults.

The president would use the money to beef up security on the border, which as I understand it, is what the GOP is demanding.

So here you go, GOP leaders of Congress. Will you approve the money or will you drag your feet to preserve the political talking points?