A spokesman for President Barack Obama refused to answer questions about the president’s role in the rising wave of children and families rushing the southern border in the hope they can stay in the United States.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest declined to answer Monday when The Daily Caller asked if the president would speak publicly against the wave of immigrants.
One internal estimate says the inflow will rise to 90,000 by October, and to 230,000 by October 2015. That’s much higher than official estimates announced in early June.
“One thing we can do is to be as clear as possible about the law and about what the consequences are for making a decision like that,” Earnest said in response to another reporter’s question. “I think that’s what I and others try to do,” he said, immediately before he refused to say if the president will speak out against the mass migration.
Obama has higher priorities — including passage of a bill to increase immigration and to establish an amnesty for the illegal population of almost 12 million people.
On Monday, shortly before Earnest spoke, Obama met with six nurses in the Oval Office for 30 minutes to advocate for passage of an immigration-boosting law. “We can bolster public health by providing immigrant nurses an opportunity to stay in the United States legally and grow their skills, while also attracting the best and brightest immigrants from around the globe to help meet the needs of our growing health care industry,” he said, according to a White House statement summarizing the meeting.
Earnest said the new illegal immigrants are not eligible for the president’s June 2012 regulatory amnesty, the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” decision, which granted work permits to at least 520,000 young illegal immigrants who arrived before 2007.
However, the president can easily expand regulatory amnesty to include the new illegals.
More importantly, Earnest also suggested that the border-crossers could be allowed to stay if officials decide not to deport them. If they’re allowed to stay, the migrants can attend Americans schools and receive some forms of welfare.
“They go through a process to determine whether they are going to be sent back to another country, how they’ll be sent back to another country, or how that process is otherwise resolved,” he said. His term, “Otherwise resolved” may mean that many illegals would be allowed to stay in the United States.
Obama needs to get involved and provide some leadership in the crisis, said Rev. Richard Ryscavage, who serves on White House immigration advisory panel. “There’s a lack of leadership here. … [Eventually] the president will become involved because he can’t avoid it,” Ryscavage told The Daily Caller June 6.
Many Latin American children and youths will be hurt while crossing Mexico, he said, while urging an aid program to help the migrants prosper in their home countries.
Earnest’s silence about the president’s role in the crisis reflects the administration’s policy of downplaying the migration.
Earnest and other official insist the migration is driven by children fleeing abuse, persecution, criminal gangs, trafficking and a desire to be reunited with family members in the United States. However, officials decline to say how many of the new arrivals are single children, and how many are children and their parents.
But some critics claim that many families are crossing the border in search of a better life, and because they believe the White House has reduced enforcement of U.S. immigration law.
In 2013, Obama only allowed officials to deport a mere 0.2 percent of the 12 million illegal immigrants living in the United States who had not also broken other laws.
This month, he announced plans to renew a 2012 amnesty program.
Roughly five million people in the Central American countries want to live in the United States, according to a 2013 survey by Gallup.