No end to crisis means Texas must act alone

Photo by Eric Gay

“Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Shakespeare wrote that line around 1606, but it could just as easily apply to the Texas border situation in 2014. Leaders in Washington, D.C., continue to bluster about the “humanitarian crisis” on the border. After letting this crisis fester for over a month, however, those in the Beltway have done barely anything to relieve the situation.

And the problem starts at the top. You would assume that President Obama, who visited Austin and Dallas last week, had come to the Lone Star State to survey the crisis so he could help craft a solution. Instead of rolling up his sleeves and doing the hard work of the leader of the free world, however, he was here to fundraise and campaign. He finally agreed to a meeting with Gov. Rick Perry, but nothing came of it. He told the press he would not go to the border because he was “not interested in photo ops” (unless those “ops” were at a billiard table, a barbecue joint or a meeting with a student).

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Laredo Democrat, called the president’s actions “aloof,” “bizarre” and “detached.” Obama finally offered a $3.7 billion spending package to alleviate the problem, but nothing in the proposal stems the tide of the tens of thousands of children entering our country. It’s throwing money at the problem, not providing a solution. If the president truly wanted to provide help, he could ask Congress to eliminate an obscure 2008 law that treats Central American immigrant minors differently than those from other countries. (Then again, Obama does have a pen and phone. Who needs Congress for legislation anyway?)

I’m pleased that Cuellar and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, have come together to propose that all immigrant minors are treated the same. The legislation they have put forward could be what we need to finally get Washington moving in the right direction.

Meanwhile, however, with the rest of D.C. once again derelict in its duty (see Article IV, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution), Texas is forced to act. Perry and others have already authorized a $1.3 million-per-week border surge. And just a few days ago, in response to the president’s unwillingness to send National Guard troops to the border, 13 of my colleagues and I signed on to a letter by state Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler, asking Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus to send 1,000 members of the Texas Military Forces to the border instead. These measures will go a long way toward relieving the current crisis.

And until we can get the crisis under control, we will be left to take care of thousands of unaccompanied minors, many of whom are flocking here, pundits say, because of increased violence in Central America. The newspaper headlines back this up. “In Columbia [sic], Rising Violence Breeds New Doubts,” The New York Times wrote. “Guatemala Seen Slipping Into a Haven for Drugs” the Los Angeles Times reported. From The Associated Press: “Democracy Jeopardized as New Wave of Violence Sweeps Guatemala.” But these articles date back to the 1980s, as Jonah Goldberg recently noted in National Review. Violence has been an issue for decades. It’s the current administration’s attitudes and actions that are encouraging this mass migration.

I firmly believe that we should be expediting a return of these minors to their home countries as soon as possible. In the meantime, I applaud the efforts of Glenn Beck and others who are bringing relief to the children who are stranded at the border. I’m glad to see nonprofits, churches and other civic organizations stepping in to help.

The situation is dire, and it’s getting worse. But the president and most of those in D.C. seem only interested in sound and fury, which will continue to signify nothing. Texans must continue to work on this matter ourselves and do all we can to protect our property, our liberty and our Lone Star way of life.  

Matt Krause

State representative, R-Fort Worth