Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan baselessly accused President Obama of “us[ing] children” as “pawns” by deliberately allowing the humanitarian immigration crisis on the border to build in order to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
An escalating surge of child migrants fleeing violence in Central America have been crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, overwhelming existing detention facilities and deportation procedures.
In her June 11 Journal column, Noonan described President Obama's handling of the humanitarian immigration crisis on the border as a politically motivated step in a calculated game to “put the heat on Republicans and make them pass his idea of good immigration reform.” Noonan wrote that the migrant children are “pawns in a larger game,” concluding, “How cold do you have to be to use children in this way?”:
Meanwhile some in the conservative press call the president incapable, unable to handle the situation. But he is not so stupid he doesn't know this is a crisis. He knows his poll numbers are going to go even lower next month because of it. He scrambled Wednesday to hold a news conference to control a little of the damage, but said nothing new.
There is every sign he let the crisis on the border build to put heat on Republicans and make them pass his idea of good immigration reform. It would be “comprehensive,” meaning huge, impenetrable and probably full of mischief. His base wants it. It would no doubt benefit the Democratic Party in the long term.
Noonan's conspiracy theory echoes Rush Limbaugh, who has speculated that the Obama administration arranged the crisis, commenting that “somebody needs to go to the Oval Office... and tell Obama that this whole thing was planned in advance by somebody.”
Right-wing media have consistently been demagoguing the humanitarian border crisis, even dubbing it “Obama's Katrina moment.” They have seized on the crisis to falsely attack the Obama administration's immigration policies, and stoke fears that the children will bring with them terrorism, drug crime, and disease.
President Obama is currently seeking $3.7 billion from Congress to respond to the crisis. According to the White House, the funds would be used for:
- Deterrence, including increased detainment and removal of adults with children and increased immigration court capacity to speed cases
- Enforcement, including enhanced interdiction and prosecution of criminal networks, increased surveillance, and expanded collaborative law enforcement task force efforts
- Foreign Cooperation, including improved repatriation and reintegration, stepped-up public information campaigns, and efforts to address the root causes of migration
- Capacity, including increased detainment, care, and transportation of unaccompanied children