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. [emphasis added]
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.”The story's revelations about congressional Democrats are just as politically hazardous:
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....
Democrats worried that the escalating border crisis would help Republicans make a case that the administration’s policies had failed, Roybal-Allard said.
“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.Rick Perry, like Mitt Romney, is having a "See I Told You So" moment. Over two years ago, The Texas Tribune reported:
Citing an unprecedented level of unaccompanied illegal-immigrant minors breaching the U.S.-Mexico border, Gov.Rick Perry sent a letter Friday asking the Obama administration to address the “humanitarian crisis.”
Calling the issue a byproduct of Obama’s failed effort to secure the border, Perry citesrecent media reports that indicate 5,200 unaccompanied and illegal-immigrant minors crossed into the country during the first six months of the 2012 fiscal year, including 1,300 in March alone. It is unclear from the letter how many minors crossed into Texas.
“To be clear, Texas has been working diligently to protect the immediate health and safety of our citizens and the unaccompanied minors now in our state. However, by failing 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.