Characteristically excellent work by John Sexton in tracing the timeline on when, and why, kids from Central America started streaming north. Democrats are in a weird position on this point. On the one hand, they insist endlessly to American audiences that Obama’s 2012 amnesty for DREAMers (a.k.a. DACA) had nothing to do with drawing illegals here. That’s crackpot nonsense, the sort of stuff you’ll find (gasp) Ted Cruz pushing. On the other hand, the White House is quietly putting the word out in Central America that whatever they’ve heard about the U.S. handing out “permisos” to young illegals lately isn’t true.

So which is it? Is executive amnesty drawing illegal immigrant kids here or isn’t it? Sexton:

[I]n June 2011, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released the so-called Morton memos. The Morton memos were internal ICE memos which spelled out an expansion of “prosecutorial discretion” for certain individuals who might otherwise be facing deportation. This was one of the solutions to bypass Congress which progressive groups had recommended earlier in 2011…

During the summer and fall of 2011 the promise of “prosecutorial discretion” made big waves in immigrant communities. In fact, almost immediately there was concern that disreputable people were spreading false information about what “prosecutorial discretion” would mean. On August 20, 2011, two days after the White House announcement, the American Immigration Lawyers Association issued a warning (in English and Spanish) titled “Consumer Advisory Do Not Be Misled.”…

It’s clear from contemporaneous statements made by individual immigration attorneys that there was significant confusion about what the change meant. For instance, NY immigration attorney Allen Kaye said at the time, “there’s a lot of misinformation about this and many people think there’s a new immigration law, there’s a new amnesty. No, it’s just a policy.”

The buzz about amnesty for kids started in 2011, a full year before DACA, which explains why Rick Perry was seeing an uptick in border crossings by kids before DACA was even issued. Then, as the numbers began to explode this year, Border Patrol agents asked illegals why so many were suddenly deciding to make the journey north. The answer they got from some of them was that they had been told that June 2014 was the deadline for new “permisos” to be issued. Where that date come from is unclear, but it happens to coincide with DHS’s extension of DACA eligibility for kids who are already part of the program. Somehow, whether through deliberate disinformation being circulated by coyotes or through simple misunderstandings of American law amplified by Central American media, it may be that DACA developments are driving the surge of illegals even now, more than two years later.

But don’t take my word for it:

Children coming into the United States are confused about whether they qualify for President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, according to Representative Luis Gutiérrez (D., Calif.), who said that criminal enterprises are enticing children with false promises of a “permiso.”

“I have 15-year-olds in my office today, who came to my office today, and you know what we told them? ‘You don’t qualify for DACA.’ Why? Because they came here four years ago, when they were 11, and they weren’t here by 2007,” Gutiérrez told reporters Friday evening as the House prepared to vote on a border supplemental bill and legislation freezing the DACA program.

The House’s foremost amnesty shill himself believes that DACA has, inadvertently, provided a pretext for smugglers to drum up business in illegal immigration. Which is ironic because, as Sexton explains, Gutierrez himself touted Obama’s first halting step towards prosecutorial discretion in exempting DREAMers from the law in 2011. He helped spread the idea in Spanish-speaking media that kids might be able to stay, and now kids are showing up confused when they’re told they don’t qualify. I don’t know whether to think that was a mistake on his part or, given his views on illegal immigration, something deliberate.

Exit question: If a comparatively modest amnesty like DACA was able to trigger a crisis at the border, what’s Obama’s upcoming mega-amnesty for adult illegals going to do?