President Barack Obama is sending Vice President Joe Biden to deal with the rising flood of poor Central American immigrants now flowing into Texas.
Biden will fly into Guatemala June 20, to meet with the presidents of Guatemala and El Salvador, plus a top official from Honduras, and to tell the 28 million people in those countries that they can’t migrate to the United States, a White House official said Sunday.
But the trip is merely for show, said one Hill aide.
“Anytime the administration sends Joe Biden to solve a problem, it’s clear evidence that the administration doesn’t see it as a problem worth solving,” the aide said, noting that Obama has not spoken in public about the crisis.
“The president is sending Biden as a symbolic gesture to show they care about the border flow, whereas in reality their primary goal is to increase the flow,” the aide said, citing Biden’s recent call for increased immigration.
On June 10, Biden called for Congress to continue “the constant, unrelenting stream” of foreigners into the United States. Biden actually demanded more immigration — “not dribbling [but] significant flows” — when he urged the House to pass the Senate’s June 2013 immigration bill, during his June 10 speech to the National Association of Manufacturers.
But on June 20, he’ll tell “families and communities to think twice before sending children on this dangerous journey” through Mexico to the Texas border, the White House official said.
Youths and families who cross the border are not eligible for Obama’s June 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals two-year regulatory amnesty, and would not be included in the pending Senate bill, the officials said.
“It’s not worth subjecting children to a perilous journey where at the end of the day, there is no light at the end of the tunnel,” said another official.
Biden may also announce new aid programs to persuade Latinos to stay at home, rather than migrate to the United States, the officials said. “But at the same time, the United States wants to work very closely with the governments of the region to try to make life better for these families and children in all of the countries of Central America,” the other official said.
The pitch is needed because the flow is caused by a “misperception about U.S. immigration policy,” the officials said.
However, it is not clear if the governments or the population of Central America will listen to Biden.
Numerous media reports say that many Central Americans believe Obama is informally offering them passage into the United States, and so they’re flooding northwards before the door is closed.
The governments of the poor and violent countries that are producing the stream of illegals have little incentive to stop the flow.
If the poor and unskilled illegals get into the United States, they won’t be in their home countries where they might protest the local governments. Also, once in the United States, they’re likely to send a slice of their wages back home as remittances. Each year, migrants in the United States send roughly $50 billion back to their home countries around the world.
In fact, the president of Honduras won’t be meeting with Biden. He’ll be attending the World Cup in Brazil, the White House officials admitted.
The flood of immigrants from Central America has spiked since May, prompting officials to begin a series of three discordant damage-control efforts.
Firstly, White House are successfully using the established media to portray the inflow as a flood of children — especially young girls — fleeing from violence and human-rights abuses in Central America.
In fact, the inflow consists mostly of families headed by adults seeking jobs and a better life in the United States, according to leaked reports from Border Patrol officers, who face legal penalties if they’re caught talking to the press.
Roughly 80 percent of the many “unaccompanied minors” are older than 14, and some carry tattoos that mark them as gang members, say the leaked reports.
So far, at least 47,000 “unaccompanied minors” have crossed the border, say officials. But a leaked agency report said the “unaccompanied minor” number will reach 90,000 by October, plus many more adults. That inflow would be roughly 15 times the level seen in 2011.
White House officials say that the migrants don’t understand that they’re not eligible for residency, but have been misled by rumors and “coyotes” who smuggle people across the border. But the inflow spiked this year after Obama minimized enforcement measures in 2012 and 2013, partly to win spur Latino support in the 2012 election.
Secondly, administration officials are also trying to reassure Americans that the president is guarding the border.
For example, Jeh Johnson, Obama’s secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, told reporters June 12 that “I’m not encouraging in any way, shape or form illegal migration.”
That’s vital, because numerous polls show that the public strongly opposes illegal immigration.
The country annually accepts roughly one million legal immigrants, and roughly 800,000 lower-wage temporary guest workers. The Senate’s June 2013 immigration bill would double the inflow for the next decade, if the GOP leadership in the House decides to let if get through. It would also increase money for border security and mandate that businesses use a national E-Verify system.
Thirdly, White House officials are telling Latinos and Latino advocacy groups that the flood of illegal immigrants are being cared for by Obama’s agencies — and may be allowed to stay.
“Unaccompanied minors” aged younger than 18 are sent to the Department of Health and Human Services for care until they’re transported to their parents or a family friend living in the United States, officials said. “Family unification for a child is something that is critical, so I want to see every child with a parent who is able to take care of him and the law requires we do what is in the best interest of the child, and that’s what we’re doing,” Johnson said.
People are who cross the border are expected to appear in immigration court for hearing that could lead to their deportation, officials say. But officials are also hiring at least 100 lawyers and paralegals to provide the illegal with advice on how to win residency.
The migrants “are going through the immigration process to determine how to return them to their home countries or to otherwise handle their immigration status,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said June 10.
His “otherwise handle” suggests that many will be be given permission to stay by the judges in the immigration courts. Those courts are part of the administration, not the judiciary.