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Obama's absurd and expensive border strategy

By Newt Gingrich
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Newt Gingrich warns that President Obama's border plan spends too much and does little
  • Obama proposed an additional $3.7 billion for the immigration crisis on the southern border
  • For a fraction of that, one GOP senator said, he could fly every immigrant back home, first class

Editor's note: Newt Gingrich is a co-host of CNN's "Crossfire," which airs at 6:30 p.m. ET weekdays, and author of a new book, "Breakout: Pioneers of the Future, Prison Guards of the Past, and the Epic Battle That Will Decide America's Fate." The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) -- President Barack Obama is in Texas today.

Texas is the center of the current crisis at the border. From Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, thousands upon thousands of children are pouring into the United States.

This flood of foreign children is not a problem of border security. They are not sneaking across the border illegally. Under the Feinstein Amendment of 2008, unaccompanied minors from these countries can present themselves at a legal border crossing, claim to be political refugees and seek asylum.

The argument on the left is that these three countries have violent gangs and therefore we have a moral obligation to take in their children. One Democratic senator told me that the real key was to end violence in those three countries.

Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich

Given last weekend's 82 shot and 16 killed in Chicago, I wanted to ask that senator how he thought his policies would be more successful in Central America than they have been in our third-largest city.

It is in this context of the liberal fantasy -- that we owe the world everything, we can do nothing to protect ourselves and everyone else is innocent while we Americans somehow have an extra burden to take care of their problems -- that you have to view the President's current actions.

The President's trip highlights vividly the failure of Obama-ism.

It is clear he wants our money.

He is doing two big Democratic fundraisers in Texas this week to get political money.

$3.7 billion: Too much for border?
Obama to meet with Perry

He has just sent up a request to Congress for an additional $3.7 billion to address the immigration crisis on the southern border -- the majority of which would go toward caring for the unaccompanied minors crossing the border. Still, this request is larger than the entire U.S. Border Patrol budget in 2013.

Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, on CNN's "Crossfire" Tuesday night, demolished the President's proposal.

"That's $60,000 per child that we're going to spend, in emergency money," he pointed out. (Parents and students trying to get through college should contemplate that number.) "That shows just how incompetent we [are] -- we can't do that for three or four thousand per child?...If we can't do that, the Border Patrol is as bad as the VA."

"For $8 million," he pointed out later in the show, "we can put them all on a first-class seat back to their homes."

Actually, he exaggerated a little bit. A business class flight from San Antonio to Guatemala City is about $450. Lowest economy ticket is $318. For the 60,000 young people entering the United States this year under the Feinstein Amendment, flying home commercially would be in the range of $18 to $26 million plus the cost of staffing etc. So the Coburn plan might cost (once staff, etc. is included) in the $40 million to $80 million range.

That means, of course, that the Coburn plan would save at least $3.62 billion over the Obama plan.

Why is the Obama plan so expensive? Simple. Left-wing Democrats wake up every morning knowing the answer is bigger government and more money. They just don't know what the question is.

The border crisis is a new opportunity for Obama to create even bigger government, spending even more of our children's money. In a rational world it would be an absurdity, but this is the world of Obama and Sen. Harry Reid, and nothing involving more spending and bigger government is absurd to them.

Coburn also noted that the current scale of the border crisis would disappear if Congress would simply repeal the Feinstein Amendment.

Chairman Bob Goodlatte of the House Judiciary Committee also notes that there are a number of executive actions the President could take which would end the open borders for foreign children policy. The Obama administration policy of "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" was an executive decision to begin with (and one of questionable legality). The President certainly has the authority to enforce immigration law.

The Obama policy instead assumes the border will remain open and he wants to use taxpayer money to fund the lengthy process of getting children from Central America involved in the American legal system. It is a great excuse to have the government hire even more lawyers.

House Republicans should immediately repeal the Feinstein Amendment and call on the President to do everything within his power to stop this rush on our borders. Let's see how long Democratic senators up for reelection can allow Reid to bottle up a solution to the flood of foreign children coming into our country.

Three cheers for Senator Coburn and a loud "no" to President Obama is the right response to this mess.

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