We’ve had a daily debate for several months about a national emergency at the border, President Trump declared one, then survived a veto override vote by Congress on his declaration, only to witness over the past several weeks a border crisis which is much worse than the one we thought we had and for different reasons. The numbers tell only part of the story: border apprehensions in March were over 100,000, the highest for a month in over ten years, but the real news is the configuration of the migrants, which are now largely from Central America, not Mexico, and 62% of those that are inadmissible are now families with children, an increase from only 10% in 2012. This presents an enormously more complicated problem for border security and compliance because of the convoluted laws governing refugee status and the numbers that have overwhelmed our physical facilities for handling children and family units.
So “the jury is now in” on describing this situation, we have moved from what the Democrats called a “manufactured” crisis to a very real crisis, and no less than Bernie Sanders has at least described it as a humanitarian crisis, but it’s worse than that; it is the classic case of a policy and political crisis that cries out for leadership to fix this broken system that invites perverse incentives for illegal crossings and unavoidable conflicts in enforcement, not to mention the irresponsible court rulings from open border judges. Trump is threatening to close the border in order to pressure Mexico to help stem the migrant flow, but this shouldn’t be necessary except as a last resort. Yes, we need more of Trump’s wall in certain places for the long term, but that’s not the worst part of the problem here, which is a do-nothing Congress that refuses to take any political responsibility and that is ignoring the real emergency at the border.