BY NEIL MUNRO
President Joe Biden’s deputies have restarted the federal program to deliver foreign youths and children to their illegal-migrant members in the United States — yet they are being taunted for reviving memories of the “kids in cages” furor created in 2018 by Democrats for use against President Donald Trump.
“It’s a media reflex to talk about it in this way,” said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies. The media default to the 2018 “kid in cages” narrative is also evidence of lazy journalism, he said, adding:
It’s just sort of the easier thing: “Look, haha, you guys have kids in cages too! Grandpa President Dummy is a liar!” … and you know, it’s kind of tempting because the [Biden officials] are hypocritical jerks.
But the underlying story Biden’s officials are voluntarily restarting the federal policy of extraction migration that has pushed and pulled roughly 3.5 million migrants into the United States’ economy since 2010, via a de facto obstacle course migration system for blue-collar migrants — a chaotic Hunger Games trail of loans, coyotes, cartels, rape, deserts, weather, border laws, barriers, rescuers, transport, judges, and cheap-labor employers.
Migrants who survive the obstacle course win the progressives’ prize of release into the United States where they boost the U.S. economy by competing for the jobs and housing needed by lower-skilled, lower-income Americans. So far, about 12 percent have won the Golden Prize of U.S. residency, while only about half have been sent home.
This chaotic and deadly federal policy of extraction migration includes several legally distinct streams, including adults who sneak across the border, the economic migrants who offer weak asylum claims, and the adult who bring kids so they can squeeze through the Flores loophole.
One of those streams is the growing population of so-called “Unaccompanied Alien Children” (UACs) that are being welcomed by Biden and his deputies.
The UACs consist of two main sub-groups: Teenagers looking for work to support their Central American families, and the children and teenagers who are getting delivered to their illegal-migrant parents in the United States.
This UAC stream is very different from the so-called “kids in cages” that media outlets spotlighted on Tuesday.
The claim of “kid in cages” was created and successfully used by Democrats as an emotional club to whack Trump’s anti-migration border policies. The media-magnified club conflated two categories of children and teenagers.
The first “kids in cages” category was the just-arrived children and teenagers kept at bare-bones border stations run by the Customs and Border Protection agency. Often these children were protected from other migrants by chain-link partitions while they and their parents recovered and were processed for a few days.
This category includes UAC as well as children traveling with migrant families. It was spotlighted by Breitbart when the migrants appeared during President Barack Obama’s terms.
The second “kids in cages” category was the children who were temporarily held in detention while their illegal-migrant parents were prosecuted under President Donald Trump’s enforcement of the nation’s border-migration laws. The enforcement allowed the border agency to convict their parents for border crossing, which would allow rapid deportation if the parents crossed again. However, pro-migration lawyers joined with the anti-Trump media to turn this separated-kids group into a passion play for Democratic voters, so creating a massive polling hot-spot for Democrats in 2018 and 2020.
In contrast, the supposedly-unaccompanied UACs get their own-fast track migration process, courtesy of a 2o08 law.
This track takes the UACs from their coyotes at the border to U.S. border officers, and then to shelters run by civilians working for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The HHS shelters are comfortable, allow phone calls, classrooms, and playgrounds where government carers prepare to hand the children over to their vetted “sponsors” in the United States.
The vast majority of the UAC sponsors are the adults who paid coyotes to deliver the children to the federal agencies at the border. The vast majority are also migrant parents, uncles, and aunts who are living illegally — or temporarily legally — in Michigan, Oklahoma, Virginia, Tennessee, and many other places in the United States. Since 2010, more than 300,000 children and teens have been carefully relayed from Central America to their parents by this joint federal-coyote operation.
But Trump shut this UAC pipeline down in 2020.
He used a healthcare law — plus diplomatic agreements with Central American countries — to immediately return new UACs to their extended families in their homelands. Trump’s shutdown quickly reduced the coyotes’ transport-for-hire business to a trickle.
Biden’s deputies now admit they are reopening the UAC pipeline — despite the myriad predictable harms to the children and youths, plus huge economic and political damage to their home countries and to Americans.
“We are in a circumstance where we are not going to expel unaccompanied minors at the border,” White House spokesman Jennifer Psaki said February 23:
That would be inhumane. That is not what we’re going to do here as an administration. We need to find places that are safe under COVID protocols for kids to be where they can have access to education, health and mental services, consistent with their best interest.
This process prompted officials to reopen a tent city in Carrizo Springs, Tex. On February 22, a Washington Post reporter burbled her enthusiasm about the pipeline, which now holds about 7,000 children and teenagers:
At the 66-acre site, groups of beige trailers encircle a giant white dining tent, a soccer field and a basketball court. There is a bright blue hospital tent with white bunk beds inside. A legal services trailer has the Spanish word “Bienvenidos,” or welcome, on a banner on its roof. There are trailers for classrooms, a barber shop, a hair salon. The facility has its own ambulances and firetrucks, as well as its own water supply.
The operation is based on a federal emergency management system, Weber said. The trailers are labeled with names such as Alpha, Charlie and Echo. Staff members wear matching black-and-white T-shirts displaying their roles: disaster case manager, incident support, emergency management.
The most colorful trailer is at the entryway, where flowers, butterflies and handmade posters still hang on its walls from Carrizo’s first opening in 2019