President Obama and his aides have repeatedly sought to dispel the rumors driving thousands of children and teens from Central America to cross the U.S. border each month with the expectation they will be given a permiso and allowed to stay.

But under the Obama administration, those reports have proved increasingly true.

The number of immigrants under 18 who were deported or turned away at ports of entry fell from 8,143 in 2008, the last year of the George W. Bush administration, to 1,669 last year, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement data released under a Freedom of Information Act request…

The previously unavailable deportation data are likely to fuel the political debate over whether Obama administration policies are partly responsible for the 52,000 children and teens who have surrendered to or been caught by Border Patrol agents since last October, spurring fresh concerns about U.S. border security and immigration law.

***

A border patrol agent was diagnosed with scabies after processing undocumented immigrants in Otay Mesa, California, the agent’s union representative said. Ronald Zermeno, health and safety director for the National Border Control Council union, said the agent told him that he observed several people with open sores while screening them in preparation to be released to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Scabies is caused by a mite that burrows into skin and lays eggs, causing an intense itching and rash, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a letter to the chief patrol agent of San Diego’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Zermeno said border patrol agents processing the undocumented immigrants were told that those arriving in California had been pre-screened for health conditions. Agents in California, however, were not advised to decontaminate themselves or their uniforms, he added. “This demonstrates that we are not properly trained to identify infectious disease and to properly respond when we suspect a disease,” Zermeno said. Agents are “encouraged to use personal protective gear including latex or non-latex gloves, long-sleeve shirts, and to take precaution, including frequent hand washing,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said in a statement without commenting on the specific case.

***

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) told Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer Sunday morning that he’d had enough of congressional Republicans criticizing the Obama administration over immigration policies when they’d refused to take up the bipartisan immigration reform bill passed by the Senate last year.

“I am really getting fed up with some of the critics of this administration, particularly from House Republicans,” Durbin said. “They had the opportunity for one solid year to call the immigration reform bill, and yet they refused to. Now they’re arguing we need more enforcement at the borders and a lot of other things? When are they going to accept their responsibility to govern?

***

A top United States general in charge of protecting the southern border says he’s been unable to combat the steady flow of illegal drugs, weapons and people from Central America, and is looking to Congress for urgent help.

Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, has asked Congress this year for more money, drones and ships for his mission – a request unlikely to be met. Since October, an influx of nearly 100,000 migrants has made the dangerous journey north from Latin America to the United States border. Most are children, and three-quarters of the unaccompanied minors have traveled thousands of miles from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

“In comparison to other global threats, the near collapse of societies in the hemisphere with the associated drug and [undocumented immigrant] flow are frequently viewed to be of low importance,” Kelly told Defense One. “Many argue these threats are not existential and do not challenge our national security. I disagree.”

***

Democrats, always on the lookout for an opportunity to swell the dependency rolls, turn a blind eye to this invasion; their main interest is in normalizing the status of illegals as quickly as possible. Republicans, apparently determined to live up to the caricature of being unable to tell one brown Spanish-speaking person from another, are in a panic that they will lose the Hispanic vote unless they turn a blind eye to what is not only systematic lawlessness but an all-out assault on the sovereignty of the country. Little wonder, then, that federal plans to relocate illegals have been met with vigorous and sometimes rowdy protests by locals.

There is perhaps no one who appreciates the meaning of a border better than an illegal immigrant. The line that divides the United States from what is south of it is the most significant demarcation in their lives. And while it is no argument for failing to enforce the law, one cannot blame those who are willing to risk and endure so much to escape life in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, etc. But we can blame those who fail to enforce the law. We can blame the Obama administration and corrupt law-enforcement officials for actively subverting the law. And we can certainly blame businessmen who encourage chaos, violence, and human trafficking in the service of their own narrow and slightly pathetic interests: Surely, busboys and dishwashers are not so scarce in South Carolina that one must effectively get into bed with the cartels in order to get the tables cleared.

Unhappily, the combination of interests linked to immigration lawlessness — the progressives’ dependency agenda and the Chamber of Commerce’s self-interest — make this a very difficult battle to win. On the matter of illegal immigration, as on so many similar issues, we are effectively governed by criminals.

***

***

Asked the host, “Is the priority that we have to do right by these children or do we have to find a way to clamp down on the border?”

“Well, there’s the issue,” said Johnson. “We have to do right by the children. I have personally encountered enough of them to know that we have to do right by the children.”

***