It’s hard to blame El Paso Democratic mayor Oscar Leeser, who has done his best to be compassionate to those crossing the border without prior authorization. But he knows he’s got a problem.
For decades and through the past few administrations, immigration reform has been an obvious problem that’s gone unaddressed. The issue isn’t a matter of debating what the best way of dealing with what were once called illegal aliens and now undocumented immigrants, but what to do with human beings who are here, rightly or wrongly, and need to be fed, housed, schooled and medically treated.
Talk of their legal right to apply for asylum is easy when you fail to consider that the United States is completely incapable of making any determinations for years, the system is overwhelmed by the numbers and, even on its best day, miserably bad at dealing with claims, legitimate or not.
In the far reaches of suburbia, there’s talk of showing compassion toward people fleeing poverty and violence, or even seeking opportunity. In El Paso, they have bodies. How did El Paso become responsible for doing what the feds have not, dealing with cold, hungry people?
Leeser said the mass migration of people seeking asylum Wednesday is expected to be “incredible.” He added that federal estimates provided to him indicate that the number of migrants crossing the border could go from 2,500 per day to potentially 6,000.
Cities can’t absorb this volume of people, no matter what name is given them. Do they have 2,500 extra beds available daily? Who pays for the food they eat? Love them or hate them, they still need to eat. Even if busing them to northern cities, whether with cooperation or without notice as such stunts can happen, there is no infrastructure in place to accommodate them.
As it happens, some states have southern borders with Mexico and others do not. Some cities are at the border, others are not. But these people are neither these states’ problems nor these cities’ problems. They’re our problem, a national problem, a federal problem. For all the gushing words of empathy, the government has nothing better than warm wishes for its visitors across the southern border.
“They’ve gotta have something in place,” Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat who represents a border area in Texas, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” of the Biden administration’s immigration plans for the end of the Title 42 policy. “With all due respect, I’ve looked at that plan. … It hasn’t worked.”
Naturally, the battle in Washington is over money at the moment, with the dispute being about throwing more money at the problem, and the Democrats complaining the the Republicans are preventing the additional funding needed while the Republicans are blaming the Democrats for doing nothing to seal the borders and prevent this influx.
Keisha Lance Bottoms, former mayor of Atlanta and an adviser to President Joe Biden, said Sunday on “Face the Nation” that the administration needed additional funds from Congress.
“The need for Republicans in Congress to say what they won’t do has now been removed,” Bottoms said. “Now, tell us what you will do to work with the president to make sure that we have comprehensive immigration reform.”
“We’ve been running on this being the border and Biden border crisis. This is the McConnell Republican border crisis if we give them more money this week without demanding that they secure the border,” Roy said on “Fox News Sunday,” referring to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
None of this is going to do much to come up with beds and food for another 2,500 to 6,000 people per day in El Paso. Are there tens of thousands of beds sitting around unused now? Are there huge piles of food waiting for new people to eat?
The long term problem of immigration reform has been a can kicked down the road as the warring parties point the fingers of blame at each other with demand faux fixes that sound good to the clueless without accomplishing anything. In the mean time, Mayor Leeser is going to have an awful lot of people walking around downtown El Paso hungry and sleepy, and this shouldn’t be his, or the people of El Paso, or Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and even California, problem.
No matter how you feel about illegal aliens or undocumented immigrants, their right to seek asylum or their compassionate treatment, they still need to eat and sleep, together with the ancillary care that must be provided any human being. There will be a monumental humanitarian disaster any day now and Mayor Oscar Leeser, despite his best efforts and declared state of emergency, can’t fix it.