‘How Do You Defend Inaction in the Face of a Crisis?’ You Don’t, Sir.

by Jim Geraghty

Also in today’s Jolt . . . 

Congressional Democrat Assesses Obama on Border Crisis: ‘How Do You Defend Inaction in the Face of a Crisis?’

Oh, good. The Democratic party is suddenly awakening to the fact that just maybe Americans aren’t comfortable with an unsecure border and mass illegal immigration.

Until now, the politics of immigration have been seen as a no-lose proposition for President Obama and the Democrats. If they could get a comprehensive overhaul passed, they would win. And if Republicans blocked it, the GOP would further alienate crucial Hispanic and moderate voters.

But with the current crisis on the Southwest border, where authorities have apprehended tens of thousands of unaccompanied Central American children since October, that calculus may be shifting.

The president’s own party is deeply divided over what must be done now — particularly on the sensitive question of deporting children who have traveled thousands of miles and turned themselves in to U.S. authorities to escape from the desperate situations they faced in countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

The emergency has also renewed questions about the administration’s competence, reminiscent of those raised during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, last year’s botched rollout of the health-care law and more recent revelations of mismanagement that jeopardized care of patients at veterans hospitals.

I believe the technical term used by political scientists that best expresses the moment of revelation within this phenomenon is “DUH!”

Elsewhere in that article, we see congressional Democrats tearing into the president in a way that would have been unthinkable in his first term. Welcome to the life of a lame duck, Mr. President.

“The numbers have spiked recently, but this is not a new development,” said Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.). “It seems to me that the administration just wasn’t paying close attention and could have acted sooner.”

But Rep. Pete Gallego, a Texas Democrat whose district includes more than 40 percent of the U.S.-Mexico border, said he was less concerned about Obama skipping a Rio Grande Valley photo opportunity than he is about a lack of engagement in Washington.

“Rather than going to the border, I’d rather he invite some people over and start a conversation about how we are going forward,” Gallego said in an interview. “How do you defend inaction in the face of crisis? How is that defensible for anybody?”

Oh, and NBC’s Ron Allen checked in with an immigration court to see how it’s handling children who cross the border. The results will not surprise you:

Based on a day spent observing an immigration court in New York City, most of them can breathe a little easier: No one appears to be ordered out of the country any time soon . . . 

On this morning, most appearances lasted only a matter of minutes. After some brief judicial banter, and official business, Schoppert instructed just about every defendant to try to find a lawyer, and report back to court in February. He essentially put the “removal process,” on hold, and allowed these young migrants to get on with their new lives in America.

Diego’s attorney Merrill Clark was optimistic about his future. “He’s going to be legalized,” Clark insisted. “I haven’t lost a case like this one yet.”

If you can enter the country illegally and stay as long as you like without consequence, we don’t have an immigration system.

The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.