The Crisis

by Dave Schuler on July 10, 2014

This morning there’s a lot of finger-pointing going on about the kids streaming across our southern border, apparently from Central America. There’s plenty of blame to go around and as usual I’m a lot more interested in what should be done than in assigning blame.

I have, well, issues with Victor Davis Hansen but I recommend you read his post on the crisis at the border at RealClearPolitics. Read the first nine paragraphs and then stop. IMO the balance is boilerplate complaints about liberals, Democrats, etc.

In it he asks a series of questions which I think are pretty important ones. He does some blaming, too: he blames those most proximally responsible for the crisis including authorities in Mexico and Central America, the kids’ parents, and, presumably, criminals in Central America.

I think it’s obvious we’ve got to do something for the kids but releasing them with a note that says they’ve got to return to appear before immigration court is as abandoning of responsibility as putting them on top of a railroad car headed for the States.

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

... July 10, 2014 at 8:39 am

I thought the last several paragraphs of Hansen’s piece were fine – with one glaring omission. He fails to take Republican officials to task for their failings, which are as bad as those of the Dems and even more shortsighted.

... July 10, 2014 at 8:48 am

But yes, let us see Sidwell & Friends take on these kids. Let’s put them in dorms at Stanford and Harvard. Let’s make Pelosi, Reid, Boehner and McConnell spend a few nights in tents with some children with scabbies and lice. Let’s put some 17 year-old gangbangers with drug resistant TB in with the families of the President and Vice President.

Given that it’s what they’re forcing on the rest of us, it’s the least the bastards could do.

Actually I’d like to see some of the libs here that support this at every election do the same. They won’t, because consequences are only for the little people.

hattip July 10, 2014 at 9:11 am

“He fails to take Republican officials to task for their failings, which are as bad as those of the Dems and even more shortsighted.”

Hardly. There only fault is being cowed by the left wing and the leftist controlled media,

The nation DOES not want this country to turn into some Latin American hell hole. Immigration has been a long term Democrat strategy to end-run the (mostly white) middle class and install a 1 party communist state.

This is squarely at the door of the Democrats; it is absurd to say that the GOP somehow has equal blame. The Democrats hate this nation, and hate the white race.

PD Shaw July 10, 2014 at 10:06 am

Figuring out the cause of the surge isn’t just finger-pointing, it might hopefully reveal solutions. Tom Maguire has a post on the relevant time frames in light of levels of violence in Central America and concludes that a surge began in 2012 as a result of the June 15 2012, executive order implementing a DREAM Act.

Not entirely convincing. The 2012 surge actually recorded in fiscal year October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012. It doesn’t seem likely we would see that kind of bump (tippling the previous annual rate) in the last 30% of the fiscal year. Also, the bump is in three Central American countries, not Mexico. Do Mexicans not dream for their children as well? (Or do Mexican have better resources to avoid apprehension?)

Seems like a perception of a policy shift on immigration occurred in Central America in late 2011 or early 2012, based upon localized understanding of U.S. policy. If so, it would be a good idea for the U.S. to do something demonstrative like air-lifting the children most easily processed for return to the various capitols.

Dave Schuler July 10, 2014 at 10:35 am

If so, it would be a good idea for the U.S. to do something demonstrative like air-lifting the children most easily processed for return to the various capitols.

To do that the law must be amended. Under present law (I forget the name—it was sponsored by Diane Feinstein), when unaccompanied minors appear on our doorstep they’re to be treated as refugees which means they’re entitled to an individualized hearing, etc. which is how we got in the fix we’re in.

In other words there’s a keen understanding of U. S. law in Central American countries.

The reason I’m dismissing it as finger-pointing is two-fold. First, as I wrote earlier today, everybody now has their own facts. The Tom Maguire piece was in response to a NYT (?) article claiming the deluge of children was due to an up-tick in violence which, as Tom points out, doesn’t really seem to be supported by the facts. But that’s now considered Settled Science and it’s no use arguing over it.

The thing to argue about is what to do. I think we need to change the law and start paying their home countries to keep them.

TastyBits July 10, 2014 at 12:28 pm


This is squarely at the door of the Democrats; it is absurd to say that the GOP somehow has equal blame. …

No. Continue to bow down to your political masters. Continue to scarf down the bullshit they feed you.

One day you may actually wake up and realize you are being used. Everybody is making money off of you. You are the mark – the sucker. Look around. Are you getting rich from any of the crap you spout? Are the politicians, pundits, commentators, etc. getting rich?

You are being hustled, but you will never see it. You have too much invested in the dream. That is how the hustle works. They keep giving you a little hope that the big payday is just after the next election, and yet, thing never change. Somehow, the Democrats are able to outsmart the Republicans, and you buy it every time.

Cstanley July 10, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Violence in the home country and changed (or perceived change) in our immigration laws certainly don’t seem mutually exclusive.

And rather than just looking at murder rates, the changes in political stability should be examined. When I first heard about the surge and that a large portion were Guatemalan, I immediately thought of the deteriorating political situation there. I won’t pretend to have extensive knowledge but I traveled there in 2001 and found it’s impossible to overstate the fear of the people there after decades of brutal civil war, during which a generation of boys were lost to kidnapping by govt and rebel fighters. It was a time when a few people were hopeful for peace and reform but most were understandably cynical. Recent events seem likely to have proven the cynics correct.

Dave Schuler July 10, 2014 at 1:07 pm

And rather than just looking at murder rates, the changes in political stability should be examined.

It’s hard to measure. Some of this stuff illustrates the problems with the social sciences: you go with the explanations that are easy to quantify rather than the best explanations.

... July 10, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Hattip, the Republican leadership has been pushing for open borders since Reagan signed the last amnesty bill into law back in the 1980s. The US Chamber of Commerce is spending tens of millions of dollars to buy Republican Senators and Congressmen, with amnesty being one of t heir top priorities.

But please, continue to vote for a party that is doing the opposite of what you want them to do.

roadgeek July 10, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Dave, what are your issues with Victor Davis Hansen?

Dave Schuler July 10, 2014 at 1:37 pm

It might just be that I know too many classicists. I don’t know a single one who knows anything about anything that’s happened since about 461 CE. I don’t remember specifics right now but I’ve read things he’s written about the American Civil War that just defy description.

And then there’s classical history itself. I think most of it’s literature rather than history.

Maybe I’ve been radicalized on the subject but I detect a certain element of anti-Mexican racism in his writing. On that I can admit that I could be wrong.

Finally, go to the link and read the last few paragraphs. That’s just boilerplate stuff. My eyes glaze over when I start reading any expression of extreme partisanship whether it’s Democratic or Republican. As you might expect my eyes glaze over a lot.

... July 10, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Also, the bump is in three Central American countries, not Mexico. Do Mexicans not dream for their children as well?

How do we know they aren’t from Mexico but claiming to be from somewhere else? After all, it’s not like the press, or Congress, are being allowed to check on what the Administration is telling us. Do Guatemalans come with a birth mark that says “Made in Guatemala”? (Presumably in Spanish, and presumably older ones came marked “Property of United Fruit”.)

Seriously, how are we supposed to know the country of origin of these children? I can presume that if they know the law in Central American countries, with regard to deportation in particular, one has to assume Mexicans have figured that out as well.

... July 10, 2014 at 1:44 pm

And what are the alleged demographics, by country and by age and by sex? How hard is it to imagine a short 19 year-old Mexican claiming to be a 16 year-old from Honduras if s/he knows the immigration laws? Not very.

To do that the law must be amended.

What, Obama forgot his pen? Or perhaps just how to use it? Funny to finally find a law the President won’t shit all over.

PD Shaw July 10, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Elipses, I almost mentioned the possibility that Mexicans are claiming to be from Central America, but that chart shows Mexican apprehensions have been fairly constant for the last six years. It does not seem like that A “Mexican” increase would be disguised by almost equal claims to being from four countries.

I had overlooked the chart is adults and juveniles.

PD Shaw July 10, 2014 at 2:17 pm

@CStanley, immigration has push and pull aspects, so I don’t think any theory could rule out that people are leaving places because of poverty, crime and fear, for a place of relative wealth, safety and hope. But Maguire’s chart shows a pretty radical break from the past for three countries moving in lockstep. Seems too artificial to be based upon perennial instability in Central America. Perhaps interstate gangs have turned to the business of promoting and selling access to the U.S.

steve July 10, 2014 at 2:27 pm

OK, I don’t get this.

“Here in the U.S., how can our government simply choose not to enforce existing laws?”

One of the problems is that we are, in fact, enforcing existing law. We cannot just send them back. They have to have a hearing. I know this is constantly being ignored fro political purposes, but it is one more good reason to never completely trust VDH and his interesting views of history.

PD- I can certainly see the possibility of a misinterpretation of the DACA/Dream Act. It is odd that it does not affect Mexico and the rest of Latin/South America. It has been suggested that selling access to the US by gangs and/or aggressive individuals (coyotes or whatever they call them), but I don’t think their is strong evidence for that either. (Would be hard to find I bet.)


PD Shaw July 10, 2014 at 2:33 pm

@Dave, I’ll keep my eye for any knowledgeable discussion of the law, William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, but one provision stood out to me:

EXPEDITIOUS ADJUDICATION- All applications for special immigrant [juvenile] status . . . shall be adjudicated by the Secretary of Homeland Security not later than 180 days after the date on which the application is filed.

I don’t think the hearing and processing required by this law for the protection of juveniles is supposed to last so long that the juvenile becomes a man before its decided.

I also notice a lot of the actual rules and policies are delegated to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, such as where to keep juveniles considering factors like “risk of flight.” I don’t see anything preventing someone apprehended from waiving process rights as has been suggested. I can waive my right to a fair trial, but a foreign youth cannot be sent home?

... July 10, 2014 at 2:40 pm

PD, I can think of at least two reasons Mexicans coming here would choose several different countries as points of origin. One would be members of certain gangs all claiming to be from one nation in the hope they would end up being processed together if caught.

Another could be people in any given state in Mexico might favor one country over another for whatever reason. Perhaps they like one nations flag or soccer team over another, or maybe the coyotes working a territory have a similar semi-random reason to use one nation over another.

As for choosing those nations in particular, why not? Most Puerto Ricans look different than most Mexicans (and PRs carry themselves like the Americans they are), but how many people could spot the difference between a Mexican, an Honduran and an El Salvadoran?

Look, I don’t doubt that more children are coming from those countries, but how dumb are Mexicans supposed to be if they can’t figure out this rather basic work-around the immigration laws?

michael reynolds July 10, 2014 at 2:54 pm


I doubt juveniles are legally able to waive rights.

Mercer July 10, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Hanson’s book Mexifornia is a good look at immigration in central California. According to him Latino immigrants start out as positive hard workers in agriculture. After a decade or two the work takes it toll on their bodies and they are not qualified for any work that is less physically demanding so they drop out of the labor force. Their sons seeing how their dads turned out are cynical about the rewards of hard work and frequently find gang life more appealing.

Zachriel July 10, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Victor Davis Hanson: No one knows just how many tens of thousands of Central American nationals — most of them desperate, unescorted children and teens — are streaming across America’s southern border.

They aren’t streaming across the border. They are showing up at the border, and the law requires due process for children showing up from non-contiguous countries.

Dave Schuler: Under present law …

“President Bush signs William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act to combat Human Trafficking”

michael reynolds July 10, 2014 at 3:19 pm

Passed by voice vote in the House and unanimous consent in the Senate. I believe that’s the textbook definition of “both sides did it.”

TastyBits July 10, 2014 at 3:50 pm

@PD Shaw

… Perhaps interstate gangs have turned to the business of promoting and selling access to the U.S.

These children are not just showing up haphazardly. The drug gangs have the logistics infrastructure to transport goods (including humans) from Central & South America to the US.

Or, it could be a diversion tactic for the drug smugglers. While the border patrol is tied up, they could be moving drugs.

Jimbino July 10, 2014 at 5:48 pm

One big difference between Mexico and Amerika is that Mexico has not waging wars throughout the Amerikas in the name of saving people from drugs. We Amerikans deserve all the backwash we get and will be getting for all the corruption and assassinations we have waged against citizens of the Southern Cone, Peru, Colombia, Panama, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

... July 10, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Yeah, jimbino, I’m sure all those places would be models of social justice and sound self-governance if only the big bad US wasn’t around.

Jimbino July 10, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Well, Ellipsis,

I thought we were comparing the culpability of Mexico and the USSA in this refugee crisis. Are you secretly Obama’s Press Secretary?

PD Shaw July 10, 2014 at 7:01 pm

Good news though, the more fucked up a country, the cheaper it is to have a gallbladder removed!!!

steve July 10, 2014 at 7:11 pm

Actually, I heard a rumor that if you can get to Guatemala you can get a permit for a free gallbladder operation.

... July 10, 2014 at 7:58 pm

LOL @_PD Shaw

jan July 10, 2014 at 10:18 pm

The 2008 law dealt narrowly with human trafficking of children. The intent was to address only the plight of sexually abused kids, so as not to send them back to their abusers. However, like so many laws, their perimeters more often than not exceed far beyond the original intention of the law, through political application. Basically, the law needs to be modified. That’s the responsibility of the current president and congress to do.

Zachriel July 11, 2014 at 7:22 am

jan: The intent was to address only the plight of sexually abused kids, so as not to send them back to their abusers.

That, and slave labor. It’s reasonable that the situation of a child at the border should be determined before sending them back.

jan: Basically, the law needs to be modified.

Many Republicans are saying they should be sent back without determining their situations, which would violate the law. Meanwhile, the administration has to cope with the influx.

What would you suggest as far as modification of the law?

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