At today’s Homeland Security Committee hearing (“Dangerous Passage: The Growing Problem of Unaccompanied Children Crossing the Border“), House Republicans demonstrated an insistence on using the children at the border story to score cheap political points, regardless of the facts.
More than once, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson emphasized the fact that the children are refugees, and that the main reason why they are coming to the US and other countries is because of unstable conditions at home. Because they are children, and because they are seeking safe haven, the US has certain responsibilities to them.
That didn’t stop Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) from asking why we can’t just send the children back, even though asylum law basically prohibits it. Rogers also wondered if kids would still come to the US if we had more border fences — a moot point since many crossers are turning themselves in to Border Patrol.
Rep. Pete King (R-NY) suggested that offering humanitarian aid to refugee children constitutes a “free pass,” prompting tweets on what he believes the proper response should be (leaving them in the desert?). Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI) claimed that we need “to stop foreign aid to ‘the Centrals’ immediately,” even though it’s unclear what that has to do with the situation at hand.
And of course, most of the committee Republicans — especially Mike McCaul and Paul Broun — continued to insist that the Obama administration’s policies are to blame for the rise in child refugees, even though the spike began before the announcement of programs like DACA.
Tomorrow is another hearing, featuring people like Chris Crane, the ICE president who makes Republicans forget that they hate unions. If today is any indication, House Republicans don’t look like they’re going to move past their political grandstanding on the issue anytime soon.