Politics

Dem. Lawmaker: Think About Border Crisis ‘Like A Hurricane Or Some Other Natural Disaster’

California Democratic congresswoman Karen Bass urged the American people to think about the surge of illegal immigrant children flooding the southern border as “a hurricane or some other natural disaster” — a statement even MSNBC host Jose Diaz-Balart found a bit perplexing.

Bass appeared on Diaz-Balart’s eponymous show to discuss the growing number of Central American children illegally crossing the southern border of the United States. The sheer number has quickly overwhelmed government agencies and private charities, and calls are growing for President Obama and Congress to halt the deluge. (RELATED: White House Hid Huge Spike Of Families Crossing Border)

Some have called on Congress to change a 2008 law making it easy for these children to claim refugee status, a rule many claim is fueling the migration. But Bass rejected that notion. (RELATED: Families Are Paying Smugglers To Escort ‘Unaccompanied’ Children)

“I don’t think that we should use this crisis to change the law,” she said. “That law was put in place to address trafficking from Central America, and one of the things that we know — or that we need to find out more information about — is that many of these children might have been trafficked.”

“So I think we need to deal with this as a humanitarian crisis, just like you would deal with a hurricane or some other natural disaster,” Bass continued. “And then if we need to make some changes to the law we can do that down the road. But I don’t think we should do that right now.”

Diaz-Balart, a strong proponent of having these children stay, still felt compelled to push back. “The problem, many say, is that in contrast to a hurricane or a natural disaster that comes and then goes,” he said. “What we’re seeing in Central America is a problem that has been simmering, many say, for years — decades — and doesn’t seem to be on the path to being mitigated anytime in the near future. So this is not an issue that is going to stop.” (RELATED: The Public Rejects Obama’s Immigration Policies)

“Well actually, I’m not sure about that,” Bass replied, claiming rhetoric out of Washington telling people that their children risk deportation if they’re sent north means “the numbers are slowing down.”

Follow Brendan on Twitter