Cecilia Munoz, the former vice-president of the National Council of La Raza who now works in the White House as director of the Domestic Policy Council, is in charge of the Obama administration's response to the mounting crisis on the Texas border. In an attempt to put a positive spin on the chaos, she has become a serial fictionalist. She's engaged in a game of politically expedient make-believe.
Last month, the Munoz spin to reporters was that U.S. policies had no role in stimulating the mass exodus from Central America. She insisted that the human tide was all about the push factors of poverty and violence.
with DHS Sec. Janet Napolitano (right)
Now, capitulating to overwhelming evidence, Munoz is acknowledging the powerful pull factor of the illegal border crossers' anticipation of admission into the United States. But she is blaming this on smugglers who, she charges, are misrepresenting U.S. policy.
This is how Munoz responded last night on the PBS "NewsHour" to a question about the causes of the rush to the border:
Well, it's a combination of violence and poverty in Central America, but especially smuggling networks that are actively marketing to people the falsehood that if they spend money to get their children — to put their children in the hands of traffickers and make this incredibly dangerous journey that when they get to the United States, they will be allowed — they will be given permission to stay permanently. This is incorrect. And it is obviously influencing a decision that parents are making which puts their children in really very grave danger. So we're working very hard to disrupt those networks, but also to get accurate information to people who might be making this decision to put their kids in this kind of danger.
Once again, Munoz was distorting the reality of the massive influx. The smugglers, whom she prefers to call traffickers, are closer to the truth than she is. They understand their product. Munoz, a veteran of the immigration policy wars, is too savvy to believe what she is trying to sell.
The reality of the situation was accurately described in a separate "NewsHour" interview last night with Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). While Flake is an ally with President Obama in the push for the immigration reform bill passed last year by the Senate, he has been critical of the president's response to the current border crisis.
Flake pointed out that under U.S. policy established in a 2008 federal law, unaccompanied illegal immigrant children are being placed with relatives or guardians across the country. While the children are formally placed in a deportation process involving an immigration court, the courts are so swamped with a backlog of cases that they can take years to hear new cases. Even when cases are called before a judge, the migrants rarely appear.
The same holds true for the many "family units" — parents rushing to the border with their children. They are eagerly turning themselves over to the Border Patrol, which is then wearily shuttling them to South Texas bus stations for cross-country journeys to join relatives or friends.
The result is that the United States is giving tens of thousands of illegal border crossers a de facto free pass to a new life in the United States. We have immigration enforcement reduced to farcical non-enforcement.
What the records show is that they're told to appear later in court, where their cases will be adjudicated. But 90 percent of them, 90 percent, do not then show up in court later. And so what you're really saying to the cartels and the smugglers is that the same situation is going to continue. ... And so the message is clear, very clear, to the cartels and human smugglers and the families to go ahead and continue to send your kids here, because, although we can say until we're blue in the face most of them won't qualify for programs here in the United States to have some kind of treatment, they will get treatment or they will simply disappear into the population.