It is ironic that the Republican Party, which historically is viewed as the most flag-waving political party, should oppose immigration reform as well as obstructing the President’s call for emergency funds to deal with the migrant crisis at hand. Perhaps this is just another manifestation of using immigration reform as a chimera, a political means of diverting attention from real issues while, at the same time, sending an appealing message to the most recalcitrant base of Tea Party Republicans. As one Democratic representative pointed out on national news, Speaker Boehner (R-Ohio) could cancel the upcoming recess of the House to vote on appropriating supplemental funds the Administration needs to address the migrant crisis.
Mr. Boehner has little incentive to keep the House in session as he helps his fellow Republicans ramp up for the November mid-term elections. He wants to paint the picture of a President doing nothing; while obscuring the fact that it is Mr. Boehner who must bring a bill to the floor that enables the President to act. At the same time, President Obama says his hands are tied without enabling legislation from Congress--to wit, the House--giving him supplemental funding plus authorization to federalize the Texas National Guard for border duty.
The governor of Texas has the constitutional authority to call out his state's national guard for two years, should he deem it necessary. Governor Perry, despite his statements, has the ability to do this at any time; he does not have to wait for the President to do it and he claims an immediate need. Of course, Perry's real reason is that he doesn't want to pay for the Guard's activation and deployment. He wants Washington to fund it.
President Obama lost an opportunity for demonstrating leadership when he declined going to the banks of the Rio Grande last week. He ignored the power of a symbolic President-in-charge, even though he had members of his Administration working locally with the Texas-based resources trying to handle the crisis. Being a symbol is a requirement that many CEOs ignore, dislike or distain. There is no one else, however, to whom the average person can look during a time of crisis. It is expected that there would be resources already working to alleviate the crisis, but the visual symbol of caring cannot be delegated or assumed to be known. This was a mistake not to go.
Potential acts are not all reliant on action in the House. The President could call for a convening of the Organization of American States (OAS) to deal collectively with the crisis of migrations from three of its members into other countries. As is sometimes pointed out, the crisis of migration of women and children from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala has hit other countries in Central and South America.
Why should not all affected countries meet to discuss the reasons behind migration and potential means of addressing same. There may be opportunities for foreign aid going to countries most affected by this migration and those funds might be more effective than establishing domestic responses within the United States. There may be other diplomatic initiatives through the United Nations. So far, the Administration has viewed the migrant crisis as a domestic, US issue rather than a regional phenomenon to which multiple nations can combine to respond.
Maybe the White House staff need their butts kicked to acknowledge that there are two and a half years left in President Obama's term of office. There is still so much to do.