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From left, Raul Amador Sanchez, 7, from Georgia, Alexandra Diaz, 9, and her brother Andy Diaz, 7, both from Baltimore, Md., hold up signs as they join their parent during a news conference of immigrant families and children’s advocates responding to the President Barack Obama’s response to the crisis of unaccompanied children and families illegally entering the US, Monday, July 7, 2014, on the steps of St. John's Church in Washington. A top Obama administration official says no one, not even children trying to escape violent countries, can illegally enter the United States without eventually facing deportation proceedings. But Homeland Security Sec Jeh Johnson basically acknowledged Sunday that such proceedings might be long delayed, and he said that coping with floods of unaccompanied minors crossing the border is a legal and humanitarian dilemma for the US. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Editorial: It’s called a crisis because no one was ready for it

Border crisis not time for politics.

First Published Jul 16 2014 04:01 pm • Last Updated Jul 17 2014 11:27 am

There is something in the American ego that can look at any problem, anywhere in the world, and determine that it is, somehow, our fault.

Or, more often, the fault of some other American. Usually a government official from the other political party.

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The raid on the American mission in Benghazi. The long, bloody uprising in Syria. The unexpectedly vicious Muslim vs. Muslim civil war that is tearing Iraq apart.

For some strange reason, these horrid events are not the fault of the people actually participating in them, but of the Obama administration, which has, for inexplicable reasons, failed to use its omnipotent powers to stop them. You know, like in "The Avengers."

Now we have a humanitarian crisis of tens of thousands of children, unaccompanied by parents, relatives and, sometimes, even smugglers, who have been making their way into the southern United States after unbelievably dangerous treks from Central American nations.

Members of Congress, not only Republicans, have placed the blame for the whole mess at the feet of President Obama.

As if it were within his power to disarm the criminal gangs of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador whose violence and kidnapping are pushing children to flee. To squelch all the rumors, spread by hopeful adults and scheming smugglers about how children are free to come to America, and to stay. To amend the law, passed by a bipartisan Congress and signed by President George W. Bush, that indeed allows unaccompanied minors a chance to stay here rather than return to the clutches of sexual slavers.

When the president asks for $3 billion to face the flood of children, to provide temporary housing and bring in more judges and other staff to handle what was already a staggering backlog, Congress rebuffs him. When he tries to accomplish the minimal amount of humane care for the children, they are met by angry mobs and used as political footballs by self-serving politicians.

No amount of American Exceptionalism makes this nation, or any of its leaders, so powerful that nothing goes wrong unless it is through an error or oversight on our part.

Presidents do what they can do. What this one can do is push the bureaucracy a little harder, lobby Congress a little stronger and help the poor and tired who have washed up on our shores.

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What Congress can do is provide the funds Obama has requested. And pass a real immigration reform package so that everyone, here and there, might know the rules.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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