Dan Cadman is a research fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies.
There is a tidal surge of human beings, most of them from Central American countries — Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras — crossing our borders illegally, primarily in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.
This surge of aliens crossing the southern border into Texas has formed a major part of the news for several weeks now, and understandably so, as tens of thousands enter illegally, with many (but not all) of them promptly surrendering themselves to harried Border Patrol agents for processing and release. Most disturbing of all is that a significant percentage of these entrants are family units and unaccompanied juveniles coming to join the parents who have paid to have them smuggled into the country.
The administration has been steadily increasing its projections of the number who will cross this year and next, as if either preparing the public, or — an unsettling notion — itself for the deluge yet to come. As is well known, the president declared a humanitarian emergency in order to tap resources from multiple agencies. His administration has also requested $3.7 billion in emergency supplemental funding to handle the crisis.
Confronted with the seeming inability of the administration to get a handle on the problem, Congress has convened hearings at which the secretaries of the departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (HHS) and other senior officials have testified as to their plans and strategies, none of which appear to have had any significant ameliorative effect on the flow to date. Many officials, and some members of Congress, have pointed to the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) as at least partly responsible for the problems in efficiently processing and quickly repatriating aliens, which is generally recognized as a necessary deterrent to others considering the journey by showing them that the United States is serious about its border enforcement.
As observed by Jon Feere, legal policy analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies, in his recent Backgrounder, "2008 ...