Immigration Analyst: Congress, Border Govs Must Force Obama to Act

Monday, 07 Jul 2014 04:18 PM

By Sean Piccoli

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Republicans in Congress and in Southwestern states have power they're not using to challenge disastrous federal actions that are fueling a surge in illegal border crossings, a San Diego immigration policy analyst and activist told Newsmax TV on Monday.

"The governors of these border states and Republican members of Congress can put an enormous amount of pressure on the [Obama] administration to change some of these policies," Robert Luton of San Diegans for Secure Borders told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.

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Luton was referring to two policies in particular: a 2012 decree by President Barack Obama to stop deporting children of illegal immigrants; and a 2008 law that slows exit proceedings for undocumented migrants who don't hail from Mexico or Canada.

Those decisions, according to Luton, have led to a flood of Hondurans and Guatemalans that is straining border control resources and sparking protests by local residents.

"The integrity of our immigration laws has been reduced to almost nothing," said Luton. " The integrity of the border is very poor."

Luton said his organization shares the concerns raised by residents of nearby Murrieta, Calif.,who on Tuesday protested outside a U.S. Border Patrol station and turned back Department of Homeland Security buses carrying illegal immigrants from Texas.

Pressure from protesters, members of Congress and outspoken border state governors such as Rick Perry of Texas might already be having an impact: President Obama notified Congress on Monday that he wants to change the 2008 law in order to speed up deportation proceedings for the new arrivals, USA Today reported.

But Luton said that in southern California, the situation is too "fluid" to judge what effect protest is having.

"It changes by the moment," he said, "and the Border Patrol has not been very generous with information."

Luton added that San Diegans for Secure Borders is not a protest group, but a policy organization. Although its members joined Murrieta residents at a larger, more raucous demonstration on July 4, he said they don't encourage outside agitators on either side of the immigration issue to come to town.

"We've done our best to keep people out of the coalition that represent any kind of fringe belief system," he said.

His coalition's first goal is to reverse the 2008 law easing deportation rules for people not from Mexico or Canada.

"That law has to be changed in Washington," he said, "and if it does, it will equip the Border Patrol to turn these people around and send them back to their country of origin."

Luton said that change won't come easily in a climate where some politicians fear that immigration changes could affect their chances of getting re-elected, and others don't see the new arrivals as a problem.

"It's a lot of rhetoric, and it's a lot of people kind of measuring this whole thing to see how it's going to play out politically, in terms of not only the election coming up this year, but in 2016," he said. "There's a lot of moving parts."

"But in the end it's an American tragedy that people can violate our laws with impunity and then get benefits when they arrive, like education and heathcare and WIC and Head Start and HUD vouchers," he said.

Luton said his own state's liberal Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, and Brown voters could one day regret their permissiveness toward illegal immigration.

"What you reap you sow," said Luton. "If you reward illegality and you reward the people that have broken the law, you'll get more of them."

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