Is the Immigration Deal Going to Be Families Here Now Versus Border Children?

Immigration Reform
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson visits a facility in Texas near the border with Mexico. (U.S. Department of Homeland Security)
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson visits a facility in Texas near the border with Mexico. (U.S. Department of Homeland Security)

New Orleans      There’s no question that there is a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation now faced by activists on the immigration reform push. No reform seems possible today through Congress, so some continue to put all of their hopes and dreams on President Obama’s “pen and voice,” as he has referred to his executive orders and bully pulpit. Increasingly, it looks like the deal is going to be a de facto end to humanitarian aid to children and families fleeing violence in Central America in exchange for some relief for some of the families waiting endlessly among the 12 million undocumented immigrants that are here now.

It’s a hard swallow.

Despite stating clearly that the problems at the border were a humanitarian crisis, reports are now clear that there is a speedup on deportations of these children with likely little concern for some of the Wilberforce rights that were so hard won through Congressional passage during the Bush presidency. The administration also seems to be moving the holding areas for these children to more and more remote locations, rather than allowing them to be housed with family members as was the case previously. Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson talks about he and his translator weeping as they heard the story of a young girl, whose mother and family had died, caught at the border hoping to find her father in the USA, but there’s no indication that there was either mercy or justice here.

Meanwhile show boaters and presidential aspirants continue to heat up the mess. Louisiana’s Governor Jindal even took a visit to the border so that he and a couple of other Bayou State yahoos could whoop it up and express their dismay. Admittedly, the closeness of so many contests for control of the Senate are also part of the equation, but none of this augurs well that there will be many big grins when an executive order finally comes out of the White House.

We seem to be facing an “anything is better than nothing,” situation with the President at a time when the President, no matter his good intentions, is weakened and sidelined on so many fronts, where we’ll have to force a smile at getting a couple of slices much less even half-a-loaf. And, worse, real reform now seems to be counted in years and wishes on a star for future political realignment miracles.