Obama Aides Were Warned of Brewing Border Crisis

David Nakamura et al., Washington Post, July 19, 2014

Nearly a year before President Obama declared a humanitarian crisis on the border, a team of experts arrived at the Fort Brown patrol station in Brownsville, Tex., and discovered a makeshift transportation depot for a deluge of foreign children.

Thirty Border Patrol agents were assigned in August 2013 to drive the children to off-site showers, wash their clothes and make them sandwiches. As soon as those children were placed in temporary shelters, more arrived. An average of 66 were apprehended each day on the border and more than 24,000 cycled through Texas patrol stations in 2013. In a 41-page report to the Department of Homeland Security, the team from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) raised alarms about the federal government’s capacity to manage a situation that was expected to grow worse.

The researchers’ observations were among the warning signs conveyed to the Obama administration over the past two years as a surge of Central American minors has crossed into south Texas illegally. More than 57,000 have entered the United States this year, swamping federal resources and catching the government unprepared.

The administration did too little to heed those warnings, according to interviews with former government officials, outside experts and immigrant advocates, leading to an inadequate response that contributed to this summer’s escalating crisis.

Federal officials viewed the situation as a “local problem,” said Victor Manjarrez Jr., a former Border Patrol station chief who led the UTEP study. The research, conducted last year, was funded by the Department of Homeland Security and published in March. A broader crisis was “not on anyone’s radar,” Manjarrez added, even though “it was pretty clear this number of kids was going to be the new baseline.”

Cecilia Muñoz, Obama’s domestic policy adviser, said the administration and key agencies had made adjustments over time to deal with the influx of children but then responded with urgency once federal officials realized in May that the numbers would far exceed internal projections of 60,000 minors crossing the border in 2014.

Revised Border Patrol estimates now suggest the number could reach 90,000 by the end of September.

Last month, Obama ordered an emergency response overseen by the National Security Council and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and he asked Congress to approve $3.7 billion in emergency funds.

“What happened this year was . . . off-the-charts different,” Muñoz said. “It was not the same pattern. We assumed a significant increase, but this was not the same kind of trend line.

“This trend was more like a hockey stick, going up and up and up,” Muñoz added. “Nobody could have predicted the scale of the increase we saw this year. The minute we saw it, we responded in an aggressive way.”

But top officials at the White House and the State Department had been warned repeatedly of the potential for a further explosion in the number of migrant children since the crisis began escalating two years ago, according to former federal officials and others familiar with internal discussions. The White House was directly involved in efforts in early 2012 to care for the children when it helped negotiate a temporary shelter at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

“There were warning signs, operational folks raising red flags to high levels in terms of this being a potential issue,” said one former senior federal law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly about internal operations.

The former official said the agencies primarily in charge of border security, Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, were “ringing alarm bells” within the administration.

Meanwhile, top officials focused much of their attention on political battles, such as Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign and the push to win congressional support for a broad immigration overhaul, that would have been made more difficult with the addition of a high-profile border crisis.

“I don’t think they ignored this on purpose, but they didn’t know what to do,” said Michelle Brané, director of migrant rights at the Women’s Refugee Commission, which published a 2012 report highlighting the influx of minors. “For whatever reason, there was hesitation to address the root causes. I think the administration was dealing with it at a minimal scale, putting a Band-Aid on something they should have been thinking about holistically.”

{snip}

In Texas and in Central America, officials viewed the situation with greater alarm. In April 2012, the first ladies of Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala voiced their concerns at a conference in Washington on unaccompanied minors. “The statistics are worrisome,” said Guatemala’s Rosa María Leal de Pérez.

A week later, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) wrote a blistering letter to Obama, citing a 90 percent increase over the previous year in the number unaccompanied minors arriving from Central America. If the president failed “to take immediate action to return these minors to their countries of origin and prevent and discourage others from coming here, the federal government is perpetuating the problem,” Perry wrote. “Every day of delay risks more lives. Every child allowed to remain encourages hundreds more to attempt the journey.”

Inside the Obama administration, officials at the Department of Homeland Security were focusing most of their efforts on adults. Janet Napolitano, then secretary of homeland security, implored her counterparts in Mexico to increase border security to reduce the flow. U.S. immigration and border patrol officials created new processing centers, according to current officials and others familiar with the issue.

{snip}

The number of minors arriving illegally from Central America shot from 3,933 in 2011 to 20,805 in 2013. HHS had secured 5,000 beds across the country–twice as many as the previous year–but that wasn’t enough. Immigration courts were backlogged. Border Patrol stations were overrun. Federal officials estimated that the total number of minors would soar to 60,000 in 2014.

{snip}

In 2011, HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement had a budget of $149 million to shelter and care for the foreign children. By 2013, it had grown to $376 million, and the Obama administration requested $495 million in its fiscal 2014 budget proposal.

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) said Democrats recognized the urgency but feared that if they raised too much of a public outcry, it would create political blowback for the Obama administration’s push to pass a comprehensive immigration overhaul.

{snip}

“That was always a concern of mine: How to address the issue in a way that did not detract from the need for comprehensive immigration reform,” she said.

A person involved in the planning said that inside the White House, national security staffers were concerned about the growing influx of children but that the influential team of domestic policy advisers was far more focused on the legislative push.

“Was the White House told there were huge flows of Central Americans coming? Of course they were told. A lot of times,’’ said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. “Was there a general lack of interest and a focus on the legislation? Yes, that’s where the focus was.’’

{snip}

Among advocacy groups, the strain on the federal system became an increasing focus. In November 2013, a contingent of officials from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops took a week-long trip to Mexico and Central America to discuss the crisis with local officials and U.S. diplomats in the region.

“The embassies did pay attention to us, and I think they also expressed interest in the issue,” said Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, who led the Catholic delegation. But, he added, “there are so many issues in these failing states, it’s hard to pick one. So it’s hard to assess, except with the light of hindsight, whether they should have known at that time this had become such a large exodus.”

Upon their return, the bishops briefed State Department officials and produced a 16-page report of their findings and recommendations, which was sent to Muñoz via e-mail in January.

By the time Congress approved an omnibus budget in January, the line-item for the refu­gee office had increased significantly from Obama’s initial request of $495 million to $868 million–based on the larger projections of minors. In February, then-HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius approved an additional $44 million transfer, bringing the office’s budget to $912 million for the year.

On Jan. 28, Obama delivered his State of the Union address, highlighting his push for a comprehensive immigration bill and pressing Republicans to join the effort. Three days later, Chris Crane, president of the union that represents Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, was asked about the president’s plan during an appearance on Fox News.

“At this moment, we have a humanitarian crisis on our southern border,” Crane told host Mike Huckabee. “Most problematic, most troubling and alarming, is the number of children coming across our border all by themselves. . . . It’s so out of control that just one office is averaging over 2,000 of these unaccompanied children each and every month.”

Muñoz said the government was prepared to handle up to 60,000 children in 2014 given the increases to the budget. The crisis point, she said, came only during another massive spike in the spring.

{snip}

Interviews by Border Patrol agents with the young immigrants and their families revealed a perception among them that the United States had relaxed its policies and would grant them “permisos” to remain in the country. U.S. officials said the permisos are actually formal notices to appear at immigration hearings that are issued to the minors when they are placed with relatives to await court dates.

Many of the minors also told border agents that they believed the cutoff date for permisos was June 2014, which federal officials said could explain the dramatic surge in the spring, which they said has since tapered off.

{snip}

Obama, meanwhile, has ended his push for comprehensive immigration legislation in Congress, announcing that he intends to use his executive authority to amend the nation’s border laws.

But the crisis in Texas has complicated that political calculation, with Republicans contending that Obama’s weak enforcement helped create the crisis in the first place.

Topics: , , ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • Luca

    Like every other situation he has been presented with, Obama wants to ignore problems until they become a crisis and then he wants to apply his liberal ideology as a solution while the crisis is at a boiling point.

    Anyone who doesn’t apply his solution is then labeled by the liberal media as standing in the way of progress and/or a racist.

    This broken record repeats itself over and over again.

  • Why would they need to be warned of something their boss helped cause and wanted?

  • MekongDelta69

    Is this the most apropos name, or what?!

    Fort Brown patrol station in Brownsville, Texas.

    I mean – c’mon. You can’t make this stuff up!

  • TruthBeTold

    The researchers’ observations were among the warning signs conveyed to
    the Obama administration over the past two years as a surge of Central
    American minors has crossed into south Texas illegally. More than 57,000
    have entered the United States this year, swamping federal resources
    and catching the government unprepared.

    Do we need any article to tell us what we all know?

    This administration (and the last one) has deliberately ignored the problem. Obama is actively working to let this ‘crisis’ fester until we accept his, and only his, solution of Comprehensive AMNESTY by executive order.

  • D.B. Cooper

    I’m not blaming Obama. He is exactly what I knew him to be. Dole, Bush, McCain, and Romney are the ones on my solid waste excretion list.

  • james AZ

    they just depend on newspapers for information …..that way to have fast news

  • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

    Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama

    has compiled “Timeline: How The Obama Administration Bypassed Congress To

    Dismantle Immigration Enforcement.” Senator Sessions’ 17-page timeline lists

    70 executive actions which have weakened interior and border enforcement. It’s a great resource for understanding what is happening to the U. S. Example:

    “June 15, 2012: Obama Bypasses Congress and Unilaterally Implements the

    DREAM Act”

    “President Obama unilaterally implemented provisions of the DREAM Act

    [which did not pass Congress], circumventing Congress under the guise of

    ‘prosecutorial discretion.’ Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) gives

    amnesty by executive fiat and also work authorizations to illegal aliens

    under the age of 30 who claim they arrived in the country before the age of

    16. . . . Parents are not referred for immigration enforcement if the young

    person comes in for deferred action,’ thereby further expanding the scope

    of the non-enforcement directive.”

    DACA technically does not apply to recent arrivals. But for illegal

    aliens, it’s distinction without a difference.

  • dd121

    The liberal media act like this all just fell from the sky. Obama planned for it to happen, he advertised in the invaders home country to come here, he told the border patrol not to apprehend the invaders. Why don’t the people of this country get this?

    • Nancy

      Everyone NEEDS to go support D’Souza’s latest movie “America” in theaters. This is all part of Obama’s Alinsky-modeled dismantling of America from within.

      My oldest is a senior this year, and we’re bringing her to see it before the school year starts (and the liberal indoctrination efforts crank up in college). My parents were liberals when I was growing up, and I swallowed the garbage preached by the sociology professors at Emory hook, line, and sinker.

      Like our recent commentary about how the writer left liberalism, I, too, got a big fat dose of race relations my first year out of college when I was a new teacher in the inner-city Atlanta school system. Babysitting these monkeys will wake you up quick.

      Actually, I suggest an inner-city substitute teacher position for the likes of Engleman and Bossman…let’s see how “pro-minority” they are after a month of verbal abuse and violence from a bunch of loud, obnoxious, violent students.

      (And I only taught first graders.)

      • dd121

        I saw the D’Souza movie just because of what they did to him. It actually turned out to be a very thoughtful and informative movie.
        When politicians start using the machinery of government to send their political enemies to prison, they’ve really crossed a line. It’s very disheartening that people don’t take to the streets to protest this mis-use of power. Was it Scooter Libby who was one of the first victims of this misuse of prosecutor power?
        Campaign donation infraction? My God Clinton was taking money from the Chinese.
        Our political system is very delicate. It demands that government be honest, constitutional and executed according to law. When it starts to become just another Chicago shakedown, the end can’t be far away.

  • JackKrak

    “Warned” of brewing border crisis????

    I think the word they were looking for is “congratulated”.

  • Georgia Boy

    There is another way of saying this: Open borders liberals, and the cheap labor lobby, are conspiring to use children as human shields.

    You know, this used to to be considered a really bad thing, back when people like Saddam did it. Why is this excusable now?

    • I am wolf

      Because it furthers business/PC ends.

      They know that Americans will be loopy about children, so they send ’em over to pave the way for the rest.

    • friscobob

      it’s an obvious extention of the “doing it for the children” canard——–

      I’m surprised anyone would fall for it

  • Diversity Fatigue

    We need to get some serious jail time going for these criminals! Unbelievable. You guys have to read this piece by a top immigration official. Learn about what a fiendish crook billionaire Bill Gates actually is and all the others including Tom Cruz now! It’s worse than you think. I’m so mad I could bite a nail into after reading this!

    http://www frontpagemag com/2014/michael-cutler/immigration-reform-engineered-destruction-of-the-middle-class/

    • Cecil Broomsted

      I now know what they mean by “comprehensive immigration reform”. It literally means rewriting the immigration laws they are now breaking so that they can continue on without breaking the law. It would make their current illegal activity legal. Excellent article from Mr. Cutler.

    • Katherine McChesney

      Who is “Tom Cruz”?

      Do you mean Ted Cruz?

  • WR_the_realist

    Obama’s DACA program makes it explicit that illegal alien minors will not be deported. That is why so many Latin Americans are putting their kids on a train and sending them north.

    This border crisis is Obama’s fault, pure and simple.

    • Michael Whalen

      WR, you are giving Obama WAY too much credit. You make it sound as if he made an innocent mistake. The border crisis is not Obama’s fault. The border crisis is his intention. He is doing this deliberately, and he knew from the start exactly what he was doing.

  • Dale McNamee

    I guess that Obama didn’t learn of it until he saw it on the TV news…/sarc

  • Ograf

    It wasn’t any accident as him and his crony Holder want to import millions of 3d worlders. Hell, half of them could be Obama’s kids.

  • Einsatzgrenadier

    These children are not refugees. If they were refugees, these Central American Indians would have gone to the nearest safe country, which is Mexico.

    When drowning, you do not get to choose which lifesaver you want to hold onto. Only parasites choose lifesavers. These invaders are only in the United States for one reason only and its for the free ¡Dame eso!, which is just as bad as the negro gibsmuhdat.

  • Cecil Broomsted

    Things must be getting bad when the Washington Post is all but throwing Obummer under the bus. Same with the LA Times.

  • JohnEngelman

    “The embassies did pay attention to us, and I think they also expressed interest in the issue,” said Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, who led the Catholic delegation. But, he added, “there are so many issues in these failing states, it’s hard to pick one.

    – David Nakamura et al., Washington Post, July 19, 2014

    Failing states fail because of the genetic qualities of the people who live in them. They bring those qualities to the United States when we let the immigrate.

  • BenRothstein

    To be fair Obama was only brewing the ‘problem’ under our orders. White goyim are the most dangerous to our plan for the world and since we don’t have the numbers to outright destroy them we opt instead to dilute them and miscegenate them out of existence.

  • JBP

    Nobama is an anti American dirt ball. Anyone not looking at his actions with that in mind is either a libtard or not paying attention.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    The administration did too little to heed those warnings

    They took the warnings as good news.

    It meant the plan they’d designed, organized and set up was working, exactly as intended.

    More than 57,000 have entered the United States this year

    Considering how this regime and its media shills have lied to us, I’d triple that number to get an idea as to how many were recruited to join and crash the welfare state where they’ll end up as MS-13 gang members of sex slaves.

    Obama Aides Were Warned of Brewing Border Crisis

    Obama couldn’t brew a cup of tea if the boiling water and tea bag were put in front of him.

  • Fighting_Northern_Spirit

    It’s the natural consequence of DACA and the near-total non-enforcement of any immigration law. Word of mouth travels fast, and people are not irrational – they know that chances of deportation are essentially zero, regardless of Obama’s cooked books showing record deportations.

  • LIBERTYSINCURSION

    The wholesale confiscation of an entire nation! This is an invasion, and our government has clearly sided with the invaders! For the most powerful country to ever exist, to be taken over by what are essentially invading peasants, is absolutely unbelievable. The men who founded this nation, and willingly risked their very lives to do so. Are surely spinning in their graves out of pure disgust at what is being allowed to happen to their America!

  • HE2

    Back in the day when I was still watching TV news, Fox TV’s Greta Van S. aired an in-depth interview she conducted with a border patrol agent. The agent revealed this currently labelled “humanitarian crisis”™ problem of unaccompanied kids and young adults pouring over the borders even then, ≥2 years ago.
    According to the interviewee, it was reported to the proper officials over and over with no response, no strong directives given to manage problem invaders other than accommodation.
    He was righteously indignant about it.
    This is Obumble’s [and his Marxist daddy Oogabooga’s] wet dreams come true, comrades; bring this capitalistic, imperialistic, exceptionalistic country down.

  • Ringo Lennon

    One thing to bear in mind. Next time you see a Hispanic in your neighborhood, it’s quite possible a white family has left the area. Just look at it that way.

    • Nancy

      In Gwinnett County, GA, we’re already outnumbered by the combined black/brown population, so EVERY time we see either vibrant color in our neighborhood, we ask each other, “Gee, which (white) family moved this time?”

      We actually rent my in-laws’ house, so when we leave for Utah this coming May (can’t come soon enough), we really have no control over who takes our place, which sucks. My in-laws are certainly no fans of diversity, but on a fixed income, they’ll take whatever comes along, I’m afraid.

      As it stands now, our swim/tennis association is barely keeping the pool open, because being part of the pool/HOA isn’t mandatory. They realize that with each new “family” that moves in, we have fewer and fewer families invested in the social capital necessary to keep a neighborhood pool open (I heard a couple of the vibrants were pissed that the pool isn’t “free”).

      And of course one chimp family accused the HOA/pool families of having “KKK meetings” in the pool parking lot. (Of course.)

      There ARE a lot of “good ol’ boys” who live here, which is one thing I WILL miss about the neighborhood. I bring my Glock to the pool along with the sunscreen and beach towels, and nobody blinks. (I’m sure I’m not the only one.)

      In my sister-in-law’s neighborhood 5 minutes away, they had one of the most competitive swim teams in the county 10 years ago. But there, too, joining the pool/HOA wasn’t mandatory.

      Now that pool is closed.

  • scutum

    D.B. Cooper is absolutely correct, Dole, Bush, McCain, and Romney are the ones ultimately responsible for this crisis. They couldn’t and can’t wait to pass “comprehensive immigration reform for their campaign contributors in the Chamber of Commerce, Business Round Table, Americans for Tax Reform (Grover Norquist) The Catholic Bishops and Michael Bloomberg. This is just a partial list of the traitors who continue to lobby for open borders. This list should also include Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and a host of self styled republican conservatives that are actually just socialists in sheep’s clothing. The establishment in Washington will NEVER close our border because their corporate/banker donors do not want it closed. We need to establish organizations at the state level to prepare for secession.

  • Nancy

    Ugh…I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed them using the pool as their personal commode. Seriously, we own a cockatiel who poops his water dish less often than these degenerates crap up the pool.

    Every public pool in the county has an influx of sprogs who can’t swim, and are a danger to young white kids who are new swimmers. More than once I had to rescue my kids from an overgrown black ape-child who nearly drowned them in his spastic dog-paddle-like fake swimming efforts.

    Plus, if you wanted to go to one of those pools, you always had to call first: there was a 50/50 chance it would be closed for the day because some chimp crapped a floater in the pool and it needed 24 hours to decontaminate.