The Obama administration knew for years that there would be a drastic surge of illegal immigrant children from Central America, but officials ignored the “alarm bells” and “red flags” to focus on amnesty legislation and Obama’s reelection.
According to a report in the Washington Post, “top officials at the White House and the State Department had repeatedly been warned of the potential for a further explosion in the number of migrant children since the crisis began escalating two years ago,” and the White House was reportedly even “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.”
In 2013, “a 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” and “the researchers’ observations were among the warning signs conveyed to the Obama administration over the past two years.” A “former senior federal law enforcement official” told the outlet that immigration, law enforcement, and border patrol officials were raising “red flags” and “ringing alarm bells” for years. Texas Governor Rick Perry even wrote a letter to Obama in 2011, which Perry has repeatedly been mentioning during the crisis.
But the crisis “was not on anyone’s radar,” according to another official. The administration was instead focusing “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,” the Post concluded. Democrats also knew about the projections but did nothing about it because they reportedly feared it would endanger amnesty legislation and possibly even Obama’s temporary amnesty program by highlighting the administration’s failure at the border.
Cecilia Munoz, Obama’s top domestic policy adviser, told the outlet that the administration was blindsided when informed that there would be more than the projected 60,000 illegal immigrant children who would unlawfully enter the country this fiscal year.
Even the 60,000 projection, though, is significantly greater than 20,805 illegal immigrant children that entered in 2013 compared to just over 3,000 the year before that. The number of illegal immigrant children unlawfully entering the country spiked in the year after Obama, by fiat, enacted his temporary amnesty program for certain DREAMers in 2012.
The Obama administration also increased funding for resettlement programs, signaling they had anticipated a much greater number of illegal immigrants than the administration made public. For instance, the Health and Human Services Department’s $149 Office of Refugee Resettlement budget increased to $376 million in 2013, “and the Obama administration requested $495 million in its fiscal 2014 budget proposal,” as the Post noted. This year, “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.” And “in February, then-HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius approved an additional $44 million transfer, bringing the office’s budget to $912 million for the year.”
Consistent with numerous Breitbart Texas reports, Border Patrol officials said that many of the illegal immigrants believe they would receive “permisos” to indefinitely stay in the country and thought the government would stop granting those “permisos”–or notices to appear–in June of 2014.
The numbers are expected to get worse next year, as federal officials expect at least 150,000 more illegal immigrant children will unlawfully enter the country.