theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director

Monday, June 30, 2014

Law 2, President 0

Paul Greenberg 

It was a good week for the rule of law in the never-ending case, challenge and general struggle of U.S. v. Obama, which is sure to be continued. Thursday the Supreme Court of the United States ruled -- unanimously -- that a president of the United States can't make recess appointments while, as it happens, Congress is not in recess.
How about that? The justices must have read the Constitution of the United States at some point during their distinguished legal careers and, even more impressive, decided to heed it. Which is more than one can reliably say about Current Resident,1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C.
What next? Will the high court rule that the chief executive officer of the United States of America must faithfully execute the laws? Instead of rewriting them whenever they prove inconvenient. Even if they're laws like his signature failure, aka Obamacare, that he himself insisted on passing. So keep the good thought. And hope the high court continues to keep faith with the Constitution of the United States.
The moral of this story: No matter how long deferred, there's always hope. Just hold on till January 20, 2017. Help is on the way, or at least the end of this president's term is in sight. Even though there's no guarantee the next president of the United States won't be just as heedless of a little detail like the law of the land. Our Lady of Benghazi, H.R. Clinton, already waits in the wings. This long, long presidential term may be only the first act of an extended tragicomedy. Strength.
Thursday was also the day the Supreme Court struck down the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' law limiting free speech on a public sidewalk -- if it happens to run past an abortion mill. Excuse us, abortion "clinic." That makes the score Constitution 2, President 0. Which is a more heartening result than any reported out of the World Cup last week.
Just what were these incorrigible Christians doing on that sidewalk that so upset the abortion lobby and its friends in the Massachusetts legislature? They were trying to save the babies their mothers wouldn't, and even the mothers themselves from the lifetime of remorse so many women who have abortions know all too well. Forgive them, for despite all those folks on the sidewalk, they may not know what they do. In this Culture of Death, women abort their perfectly healthy babies -- babies who would be welcomed by other families, or the kind of orphanages and churches and homes for unwed mothers who would embrace these little ones with open arms and an open heart. These children might even be welcomed by the mothers themselves if only they were given more time to think about what they were doing, even pray about it.
How can one blame the mothers, who are under constant assault by the spirit (or spiritlessness) of these times? And misled by a whole vocabulary of euphemisms for child sacrifice. No, we may no longer sacrifice to Baal or Ashtaroth, for today's just as demanding gods may go by much more attractive names. For example, economic necessity or choice or just convenience. For these modern gods shape-shift with the ever-changing times. It's not so much that the times change, it's just that the idols change their names. In nature there is protective coloration. In ideology, there is nominal coloration. The abomination may remain the same, but it adopts a new name.
It shouldn't be necessary to recite some list of eminent personages who were born without first having taken the precaution of making sure their parents were wed in order to oppose abortion. For all of us are created equal, and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, first among them the right to life, or so our founding declaration declares. That right doesn't have to be earned; it's a gift outright. God-given.

Now, with July the Fourth just around the corner, the Supreme Court has given us a couple of more reasons (NLRB v. Canning and McCullen v. Coakley) to celebrate the day all those meddling editors in the Continental Congress stopped fiddling with Thomas Jefferson's still shining words and decided to send them off to the printer's, the country, and the whole world. Last week they shone anew, burnished by a Supreme Court that showed it still respects those words even in these not always life-affirming times. Take heart.

The Language of Despotism

Image credit: Barbara Kelley

by Bruce Thornton

Long before 1984 gave us the adjective “Orwellian” to describe the political corruption of language and thought, Thucydides observed how factional struggles for power make words their first victims. Describing the horrors of civil war on the island of Corcyra during the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides wrote, “Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them.” Orwell explains the reason for such degradation of language in his essay “Politics and the English Language”: “Political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.”
Tyrannical power and its abuses comprise the “indefensible” that must be verbally disguised. The gulags, engineered famines, show trials, and mass murder of the Soviet Union required that it be a “regime of lies,” as the disillusioned admirer of Soviet communism Pierre Pascal put it in 1927.
Our own political and social discourse must torture language in order to disguise the failures and abuses of policies designed to advance the power and interests of the “soft despotism,” as Tocqueville called it, of the modern Leviathan state and its political caretakers. Meanwhile, in foreign policy the transformation of meaning serves misguided policies that endanger our security and interests.
One example from domestic policy recently cropped up in Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor’s dissent in the Schuette decision, which upheld the Michigan referendum banning racial preferences. In her dissent, Sotomayor called for replacing the term  “affirmative action” with “race-sensitive admissions.” But “affirmative action” was itself a euphemism for the racial quotas in use in college admissions until they were struck down in the 1978 Bakke decision. To salvage racial discrimination, which any process that gives race an advantage necessarily requires, Bakke legitimized yet another euphemism, “diversity,” as a compelling state interest that justified taking race into account in university admissions.
Thus the most important form of “diversity” for the university became the easily quantifiable one of race. Not even socio-economic status can trump it, as the counsel for the University of Texas admitted during oral arguments in Fisher vs. University of Texas last year, when he implied that a minority applicant from a privileged background would add more diversity to the university than a less privileged white applicant. All these verbal evasions are necessary for camouflaging the fact that any process that discriminates on the basis of race violates the Civil Rights Act ban on such discrimination. Promoting an identity politics predicated on historical victimization and the equality of result is more important than the principle of equality before the law, and this illiberal ideology must be hidden behind distortions of language and vague phrases like “race-sensitive” and “diversity.” 
Another example can be found in the recently released report from the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. The report is the basis for the government’s numerous policy and procedural suggestions to universities and colleges in order to help them “live up to their obligation to protect students from sexual violence.” Genuine sexual violence, of course, needs to be investigated, adjudicated, and punished to the full extent of the law by the police and the judicial system. But the “sexual assault” and “sexual violence” the Obama administration is talking about is something different. 
At the heart of the White House report is the oft-repeated 2007 statistic that 20 percent of female college students have been victims of “sexual assault,” which most people will understand to mean rape or sexual battery. Yet as many critics of the study have pointed out, that preposterous number––crime-ridden Detroit’s rape rate is 0.05 percent––was achieved by redefining “sexual assault” to include even consensual sexual contact when the woman was drunk, and behaviors like “forced kissing” and “rubbing up against [the woman] in a sexual way, even if it is over [her] clothes.”
The vagueness and subjectivity of such a definition is an invitation to women to abandon personal responsibility and agency by redefining clumsy or boorish behavior as “sexual assault,” a phrase suggesting physical violence against the unwilling. As one analyst of the flawed study has reported, “three-quarters of the female students who were classified as victims of sexual assault by incapacitation did not believe they had been raped; even when only incidents involving penetration were counted, nearly two-thirds did not call it rape.” As many have pointed out, if genuine sexual assault were happening, colleges would be calling in the police, not trying the accused in campus tribunals made up of legal amateurs and lacking constitutional protections such as the right to confront and cross-examine one’s accuser. 
What matters more than protecting college women against a phantom epidemic of rape, then, is the need to expand government power into the social lives of college students, empowering the federal bureaucrats, university administrators, and ideological programs like women’s studies that all stand to benefit by this sort of coercive intrusion. This enshrining of racial and sexual ideology into law through the abuse of language has had damaging consequences, whether for the minority college students mismatched with the universities to which they are admitted, thus often ensuring their failure and disillusion; or for the young women encouraged to abandon their autonomy and surrender it to government and education bureaucrats who know better than they how to make sense of their experiences and decisions.
In foreign policy, however, the abuse of language is positively dangerous. Since 9/11, our failure to identity the true nature of the Islamist threat and its grounding in traditional Islamic theology has led to misguided aims and tactics. Under both the Bush and Obama administrations, for example, the traditional Islamic doctrine of jihad––which means to fight against the enemies of Islam, which predominantly means infidels––has been redefined to serve the dubious tactic of flattering Islam in order to prevent Muslim terrorism.
Thus in 2008 the National Terrorism Center instructed its employees, “Never use the term jihadist ormujahideen in conversation to describe terrorists,” since “In Arabic, jihad means ‘striving in the path of God’ and is used in many contexts beyond warfare.” Similarly, CIA chief John Brennan has asserted that jihad “is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community,” despite the fourteen centuries of evidence from the Koran, hadiths, and bloody history that jihad is in fact predominantly an obligatory armed struggle against the enemies of Islam. The reluctance to put Muslim violence in its religious context reflects not historical truth, but a public relations tactic serving the delusional strategy of appeasing Muslims into liking us.
That’s why, to this day, the 2009 murders of 13 military personnel at Fort Hood by Muslim Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan are still classified as “workplace violence” rather than an act of terror. This despite the fact that Hasan––whose business cards had the initials “SoA,” “Soldier of Allah,” on them––shouted the traditional Islamic battle cry “Allahu Akbar” during his rampage. Or that in a presentation at Walter Reed Hospital, Hasan had put up a slide with the great commission to practice jihad that Mohammed delivered in his farewell address: “I was ordered to fight all men until they say ‘There is no god but Allah.’” This command to wage jihad was echoed in 1979 by the Ayatollah Khomeini, revered as a “Grand Sign of God” for his theological acumen, and by Osama bin Laden in 2001. Those ignoring this venerable jihadist tradition must use verbal evasions like “workplace violence” and “striving in the path of God” to hide the indefensible––and failed––tactic of appeasement that prevents us from accurately understanding the religious motives of Muslim terrorists, and the extent of the Muslim world’s support for them.
No foreign policy crisis, however, is more illustrative of the “regime of lies” and abuse of language to serve “indefensible” aims than the conflict between Israel and the Arabs. The Arabs’ aim, of course, is to destroy Israel as a nation, a policy they have consistently pursued since 1948. Since military attacks have failed ignominiously, an international public relations campaign coupled to terrorist violence has been employed to weaken Israel’s morale and separate Israel from her Western allies. An Orwellian assault on language has been key to this tactic.
Examples are legion, but one is particularly insidious, here seen in a New York Times headline from 2011: “Obama Sees ’67 Borders as Starting Point for Peace Deal.” The common reference to “borders” in regard to what is in fact the armistice line from the 1948 Arab war against Israel is ubiquitous. Yet there has never been recognized in international law a formal “border” between Israel and what the world, in another Orwellian phrase, calls the “West Bank,” because that territory has never been part of a modern nation. Its only international legal status was as part of the British Mandate for Palestine, which was confirmed by the League of Nations in 1922, and which was intended as the national homeland for the Jewish people. The Arabs’ rejection of the U.N. partition plan and their invasion of Israel in 1948 put the territory’s status in limbo once Jordan annexed Judea and Samaria, which the international community with a few exceptions refused to recognize. In 1967 Israel took it back in another defensive war against Arab aggression. Since then, its final disposition has awaited a peace treaty that will determine the international border.
This may sound like quibbling over careless language, but the dishonest use of “border” reinforces and encodes in peoples’ minds the big lie of the conflict––that a Palestinian “nation” is being deprived of its “homeland” by Israel, a canard that didn’t become current among Arabs and the rest of the world until after the 1967 Six Day War. And this lie in turns validates the common use of “occupation”––which implies an illegal invasion into and control of another nation, as the Germans did to France in 1940––to describe Israel’s defensive possession of territories that have long served as launch pads for aggression against Israel. Until a peace treaty, the territory known as the “West Bank”––more accurately Judea and Samaria, the heartland of historical Israel for centuries––is disputed, not “occupied.”
To paraphrase Thucydides, words like “borders” and “occupation” have had their ordinary meanings changed, and been forced to take meanings that serve tyranny and aggression. And we who accept those new meanings are complicit in the resulting injustice that follows.

Obama pursuing executive actions on immigration

  • PRESIDENT OBAMA ANNOUNCES that he'll pursue new executive actions and will bypass Congress on 
  • immigration reform after Speaker John Boehner told him the House will not vote on an overhaul this year.

President Obama vowed Monday to bypass Congress and pursue unilateral changes to the country's immigration system, after he says the House failed to act on a comprehensive overhaul. 
The president, speaking in the Rose Garden, said Speaker John Boehner informed him last week the House will not vote on an immigration bill this year. 
"America cannot wait forever for them to act," Obama said. He said he's launching a new effort to "fix as much of our immigration system as I can, on my own, without Congress." 
The president's announcement is sure to infuriate congressional Republicans. Obama is pushing for new executive actions in defiance of Boehner's vow last week to pursue a lawsuit against the president over alleged executive overreach. Even before Monday's announcement, Boehner and his colleagues alleged that the president has gone too far in making changes without Congress to immigration policy, the Affordable Care Act, environmental regulations and other issues. 
This new push would go further still. 
Obama announced Monday that, as his first step, he's directed Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder to move "available resources" from the interior to the border to address security. Further, the president said he's directed a team to "identify additional actions my administration can take on our own within my existing legal authorities to do what Congress refuses to do and fix as much of our immigration system as we can." 
According to a White House official, those recommendations are due back by the end of the summer. 
Obama's decision effectively declares that a broad based change in immigration policy is dead for the year, and perhaps for the remainder of his administration. Changing immigration laws and providing a path to citizenship for about 11 million immigrants in the country illegally has been one Obama's top priorities as he sought to conclude his presidency with a major second-term victory. 
Meanwhile, the president is still grappling with a surge of illegal immigrant children and families along the border. Earlier in the day, Obama sent a letter to congressional leaders asking for more flexibility on that front, seeking increased powers to send unaccompanied children from Central American back from the U.S. border to the countries they're trying to flee illegally.
Obama also asked for increased penalties for persons who smuggle immigrants who are vulnerable, such as children. The request is part of a broader administration response to what the White House has called a "humanitarian crisis" on the border.
Obama is asking Congress for emergency money that would, among other things, help conduct "an aggressive deterrence strategy focused on the removal and repatriation of recent border crossers." Obama's letter to Boehner, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says the administration is confronting the influx with a coordinated response on both sides of the border.
"This includes fulfilling our legal and moral obligation to make sure we appropriately care for unaccompanied children who are apprehended, while taking aggressive steps to surge resources to our Southwest border to deter both adults and children from this dangerous journey, increase capacity for enforcement and removal proceedings, and quickly return unlawful migrants to their home countries," Obama wrote.
The Border Patrol in South Texas has been overwhelmed for several months by an influx of unaccompanied children and parents traveling with young children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Unlike Mexican immigrants arrested after entering the U.S. illegally, those from Central America cannot be as easily returned to their countries. Obama is seeking authority to act more quickly
The Border Patrol has apprehended more than 52,000 child immigrants traveling on their own since the start of the 2014 budget year in October.
Immigrant advocacy groups, already frustrated by Obama's lack of executive action to ease record levels of deportations, immediately pounced on the administration's decision.
Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, said the influx of children across the border "really requires a humanitarian response, not an increase in deportations."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Bodies of Israeli kidnapped teens found, government confirms

  • BREAKING NEWS: Israeli officials confirm to Fox News that the bodies of three kidnapped Israeli teenagers
  •  have been discovered in the West Bank town of Hebron.

Israel's nearly three-week vigil for three teens kidnapped in the West Bank - including one with U.S. citizenship - ended grimly Monday, with the discovery of their bodies just north of Hebron.
The search for Eyal Yifrach, 19; Gilad Shaar, 16 and Naftali Frenkel, 16, who were snatched while hitchhiking, ended even as Israeli forces were conducting raids in the West Bank, where Hamas operates. Frenkel holds duel U.S.-Israeli citizenship.
Israeli forces were massing Monday in the West Bank village of Halhul, just north of Hebron. Sources said the bodies were found in a shallow grave in an open field. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was expected to speak on the discovery Monday.
The abductions outraged the Jewish state as well as the international community, and several vigils and rallies were held around the U.S. during the intensive hunt. Hundreds of Palestinians took part in the search, dubbed "Brother's Keeper."
The three youths disappeared as they were heading home from a West Bank religious school. Israeli officials said at the time that one of the teens called a police emergency line around 10:25 p.m. and said, "We've been kidnapped." They were not heard from again. 
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas criticized the kidnapping, and pledged help in the search but denied there was evidence linking Hamas to the crime. Hamas, which governs the Palestinian territories jointly with the PA, praised the kidnapping without claiming responsibility.
Netanyahu previously left little doubt as to who he blamed.
"Hamas terrorists carried out Thursday's kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers," Netanyahu said earlier this month. "We know that for a fact. Hamas denials do not change this fact."
Israeli forces searched more than 1,000 sites, rounding up Hamas and Islamic Jihad suspects as part of the operation. Last week, the Israel Security Agency identified two Hamas operatives from Hebron as key suspects in the kidnappings, Ammar Muhammad Abu Eisha, 33, a locksmith, and Marwan al-Qawasmeh, 29, a barber. Both men allegedly disappeared from their homes on the night of the kidnapping have not been seen since.

Central American Parents Describe the Pull from U.S. Policies

My question; What kind of parent would facilitate putting their children in such mortal danger?
theodore miraldi...

Jerry Kammer

Cradling a six-month old baby in her arms, a Honduran woman stepped off the Border Patrol bus at the bus station in McAllen, Texas last Tuesday. They would soon be on a Greyhound bus heading for Miami, joining the thousands of illegal immigrants who are being released by the Border Patrol after a few days in custody. They are fanning out across the country, carrying documents that allow them to travel freely but also order them to report to immigration authorities after they reach their destination.
The woman gave her name as Yesenia. Nearby were two other young women, one from Salvador and the other from Honduras, who had also just been released by the Border Patrol. All three were in their early twenties, single mothers traveling with children. Their bus tickets had been paid for by relatives or friends who had wired the money to McAllen.
Yesenia was going to relatives in Miami. The Salvadoran woman would join a brother in Los Angeles. The other Honduran woman would join a cousin in Los Angeles.
Yesenia explained what drew them North. It was the rapidly spreading word of a remarkable opportunity being offered by the government of the United States. “Our understanding is that if you come with children they will let you through,” she said.
While media attention has focused on the story of unaccompanied minors crossing the Texas border, there are far more family units in the surge of Central Americans that has seized national attention.
Last week, Center for Immigration Studies Multimedia Director Bryan Griffith and I visited the bus stations in McAllen and Brownsville where the Border Patrol was releasing the travelers. We went to the Rio Grande Valley to report on the surge of Central American illegal immigrants across the Texas border.
Each day our first contact was with a single mother and her child from Honduras. We also spoke with parents and children who had been separated from the other parent because of Border Patrol policies for separate detention facilities for men and women. Meanwhile, unaccompanied children are held in special facilities until federal officials can reunite them with relatives or guardians.
Yesenia, looking weary and worried, asked where she could obtain milk for her infant. A few minutes later, she and the other women were approached by volunteers from the shelter that Catholic Charities had established a few blocks away at the parish hall of Sacred Heart Church. There they would be offered food, the opportunity to shower, and an invitation to sort through tables filled with donated clothing, toys, diapers and snack bags for the coming bus ride.
Patricia Umanzour, 32, was at the parish hall on Wednesday. She described what pushed her husband to decide that they and their three children must leave El Salvador.
It wasn’t poverty. Her husband had a good job as a graphic designer with an advertising agency. But a few weeks ago, when a 14-year-old cousin was murdered by gang members, they worried that their 13-year-old son might be next.
“The maras have taken control where we were living,” she said, using the term for the two notorious gangs in San Salvador—the Mara Salvatrucha and the Mara 18. So they decided to leave everything and seize the opportunity they had heard about from news reports and from Salvadorans living in the United States.
“We were watching CNN, and they were saying that the United States was giving opportunities to women with children,” said Patricia. “And since some neighbors of ours had come, we decided to try it.”
The trip was financed by a sister-in-law who lived in Los Angeles, who agreed to pay a smuggler $12,000 to bring the family of five to the U.S. They had made the trip to the Texas border in four days, using taxis, vans, and intercity bus lines.
Patricia said the sister-in-law had already wired $9,000 to the smuggler. The remaining three thousand would be paid once her husband, who was still being held by the Border Patrol, was released. The family was planning to live with other relatives in Houston.
Back at the McAllen bus station, a Salvadoran named Delmar was waiting for a bus with his 12-year-old son Brayan. They would soon be heading to Los Angeles to join his wife and daughter, who had been released two days earlier by the Border Patrol. There they would live with relatives, including one who is a truck driver. That is a job that Delmar would also like to have.
Delmar said he and his family made the trip from El Salvador to the Texas border in 13 days. He said the trip took so long because they did not hire a smuggler, who would likely have charged more than $10,000 for the trip. Delmar said he was forced repeatedly to pay bribes at the frequent roadside checkpoints placed all along the route by Mexican military and police units. He paid more bribes than he can remember—“maybe 15 times,” he said, in amounts ranging from 50 to 100 pesos—because they said if he didn’t pay, he would be sent back to Salvador.
Delmar also had a story of gang intimidation and extortion in Salvador. He said he had been forced to pay $10 a week in order to be allowed to do his job. He drove a small motorcycle in Usulatan, Salvador’s fifth largest city, visiting homes to collect installment payments for an appliance store. He was paid strictly on commission, usually $80 to $100 a week, he said.
At the bus station, Delmar was carrying an Order of Release on Recognizance, the document he had received from the Border Patrol. It ordered him to appear at immigration court in Los Angeles on July 8. If he shows up, it would be the beginning of a long process through the immigration courts. But the courts, whose calendar had been overwhelmed before the current illegal surge across the border, will likely not be able to take the case for at least a year.
On Wednesday, at the bus station in Brownsville, a Honduran woman named Luz explained why she and her 12-year-old son Cristian came to the border. She told a story of domestic violence, financial distress, extortion by gangs, and the hope to escape to a better life.
“We left because he was beating me,” she said, referring to the man with whom she was living, who was not Cristian’s father. She added that because she was out of work and received no support from Cristian’s father, she had run out of money to rent a place to live.
The final blow was the collapse of a job offer. The owner of a clothing shop where she had just been hired decided to go out of business rather than pay the extortion fees imposed by a local gang. Luz said that in her troubled and violent country, such extortion fees are “impuestos de Guerra” -- war taxes.
Soon Luz and Cristian would be boarding a bus for Fort Worth, where they had been invited to live with a friend. Her document “Release on Recognizance” ordered her to report to U.S. immigration authorities in Dallas on July 10.
But it is rare that people released with such an order present themselves to the authorities. Some Border Patrol agents ruefully say the documents, which they have been issuing for many years as part of a “catch-and-release” program that relieves pressure on overwhelmed detention facilities, might as well be an order to disappear into the interior, where they will be low priorities for arrest.
Jerry Kammer,(see his blog) a nationally recognized journalist, is a Senior Research Fellow for the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). The Center is a Washington, DC-based research institute that examines the impact of immigration on American society.
The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit, research organization. Since our founding in 1985, we have pursued a single mission – providing immigration policymakers, the academic community, news media, and concerned citizens with reliable information about the social, economic, environmental, security, and fiscal consequences of legal and illegal immigration into the United States.

On the Texas-Mexico Border: The View From The Front Line

Genevieve Wood

 • Drug cartels are helping would-be immigrants cross the border.
• Border officials: 3 of 4 people crossing the border are from countries other than Mexico.
• State lawmaker: “Texas is not waiting for Washington to act.”
Last weekend, I visited McAllen, Texas, a hotbed of activity in the recent immigration surge on the U.S. – Mexico border. I rode with U.S. Rep.  Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, on a boat with the Texas Department of Public Safety along the Rio Grande River and toured one of the busiest processing centers in the country as it dealt with the flood of illegal aliens from Central America.
Dir McCraw
Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, and Jose Rodriguez, regional commander of DPS (pictured left-right here), led the briefing on Operation Strong Safety, the surge operation ordered by Texas Gov. Rick Perry in June to address the growing crisis on the border. They told us the surge is aimed primarily at fighting the drug cartels and human smuggling operatives that control much of the Rio Grande Valley border.
McCraw and Rodriguez said these Transnational Criminal Organizations are fueling the influx of illegal aliens coming from Central America. They believe TCOs are behind the media stories and advertisements in countries such as Honduras that encourage people to come and that they serve as coyotes/human smugglers. Criminals benefit from immigration surges: When border officials are overwhelmed by a flood of immigrants, their attention is diverted from monitoring drug smuggling.
Aiming more law enforcement at these criminal organizations and shutting down their operations along the Rio Grande and larger Texas border will go a long way to address the Central American and unaccompanied children issue, said McCraw and Rodriguez.
“We’ve seen increased scouting of our activities by drug cartels,” Rodriquez said. “Their goal is to determine where we are and when we’ll be there, so they can figure out the best times to smuggle drugs and people through. The surge allows us to go after the organizers of these activities in a major way.”
According to McCraw, the “objective is not to inconvenience them [the drug cartels] but to hurt them. The drug cartel and human trafficking agents are a threat to communities not just on the border but across America.”
TX border side
This is the view from the dock of a park in McAllen that overlooks one of the widest areas of the Rio Grande River.  The land you see directly across is a park in Reynosa, Mexico, and the boat here belongs to the Texas Highway Patrol, which monitors the waterways.
Many of the unaccompanied children and family units are crossing in this area, and most immediately turn themselves in to the border patrol.
This video clip line/utm_source=heritagefoundation&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=morningbell 
shows  a beach in Mexico approximately 200 to 300 feet across from the park in McAllen. The beach is a recreational and swimming area used by Mexican locals.  But it also is one of the main areas where smugglers bring immigrants from Central America and push them across the Rio Grande River in rafts or bring them across on jet skis.
DPS Marine official
As we traveled down the Rio Grande River on the Texas Highway Patrol boat, military officials described some of the specific challenges of securing this area of the border.  According to the young Marine featured here who works on the Texas border operation and who didn’t want to give his name, the most dangerous parts of the job are going after those smuggling drugs across the border.
Another challenge he and others on the border face is that a majority of illegal crossers are coming across U.S. Fish and Wildlife area refuges – areas where border officials have limited access to roads and where the types of vehicles allowed are severely restricted.
These two homes, not more than 250 feet from the U.S. shoreline, belong to Mexican drug lords, the officials said.  They stand on the Mexican banks of the Rio Grande River.
Even at its widest parts, the Rio Grande is often very shallow and easy to cross.  Standing in the middle of the river in this photo are two Mexican men fishing, with Mexico on the right and Texas on the left. There are walls and fence structures along parts of the Texas southern border, but most areas are open.
Rep. Bryan Hughes
One of the state lawmakers in our group was Rep. Bryan Hughes, a Republican who represents District 5 in Texas. When I asked him what he would want folks in other states to know about how this affects Texas and could affect them, he was thoughtful.
“Border security is not a state responsibility,” he said. “But the dereliction of duty by the feds affects us all. Texas is not waiting for Washington to act.”
The Lone Star State, Hughes said, is spending “hundreds of millions” on border security, and has just allocated “another $1.3 million per week for a surge in law enforcement resources.”
“Working with Border Patrol, county, local and state law enforcement, we will aggressively disrupt the drug cartels’ operations,” he said. “And we believe that will go a long way in reducing all illegal border crossings.”
For Texans in Hughes’ district, there are two top anxieties about the current border situation.
“My constituents are concerned about the safety and well-being of the thousands of unaccompanied minors who are flooding into Texas,” Hughes said. “Texans are also alarmed about the security risks to our country as drug smugglers, human traffickers and terrorists can more easily sneak across our southern border during this time of crisis.”
Front of DHS bldg
This is the Department of Homeland Security building in McAllen, currently the busiest such facility in the U.S. It processes more than 1,000 people a day.  When illegal immigrants are apprehended by the border patrol, this is where they are brought.
After arrival, officials find out where they’re from and if they have a criminal record. Normally, this process should take a day,  but because federal immigration authorities have not been able to handle the flood of immigrants, people are being kept here for three days or more.
When I was there in June, more than 300 illegal border crossers were being held here, most from Central America. They stay in holding cells with large windows so agents can monitor activities.  People are divided by age and sex, except for mothers with children.
back of DHS - zoom
This is the sally port on the backside of the DHS building. Normally this is a secure area where vans and buses would enter to transport those in custody.  But because of the overwhelming number of illegal aliens crossing the border, it is currently being used to shelter more than 500 people.
It’s an open-air area with just fans to provide a reprieve from the Texas sun. There are no beds or cots: People are given silver blankets, like you’d see at a race event, to sit and lay on. There are no bathing facilities, just portable toilets. Many of those coming across have lice and other skin infections. To try to prevent the infections spreading, they are sectioned off from the larger group.
Albert Spratte
Albert Spratte, pictured on the left talking with Gohmert, is the sergeant at arms, Union 3307, for the National Border Patrol Council. According to Spratte, drug and human smugglers monitor the border and river crossing areas on the Mexico side, along with bus and train stops in Mexican border towns, to ensure no one comes across without paying the smugglers to get them across.
“We’re good at what we do,” Spratte said. “We’re being asked to do things we’re not supposed to do. We’re supposed to stop and detain. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is supposed to deport. The situation is worse than you think, and it’s not going to change until you start deporting people.”
As for the facilities where immigrants are held until ICE steps in,  “If we were a jail, we’d be closed down,” he said.
According to officials I spoke with, three out of four of those crossing the borders are “OTMs–the term for “Other Than Mexican.”  At least one in four are children, 45 to 50 percent are family units, and the male/female ratio is roughly 60-40.
Although the current wave of border crossers is primarily from Central America, people from more than 140 different countries, including Bangladesh, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, have crossed the southern border. Earlier this month, 33 people from China were apprehended.
As to why so many from Central America are coming now, a top border offical told me, “They recognize they’ve overwhelmed the system. And they know they are going to be released and told to report, but a very minimal number of them ever do.” In other words, those released to family members in the U.S. are supposed to report to the local immigration and customs office once settled to begin their deportation process, but few ever do.
Since I’ve returned from the border, a number of people have asked me about the morale of border agents dealing with this crisis. I would say the majority, although seriously overworked, are encouraged by the recent attention the issue has gotten and the surge of law enforcement promised by the state of Texas.
A senior border official, who didn’t wish to give his name, summed up the view I heard from many there when I asked how his unit was handling the situation: “For border patrol, it’s a good news story.  We’re doing our job.
“For the federal government … not so much.”