July 9th, 2014

The border crisis is not Obama’s Katrina

Katrina was, after all, a natural disasster. No, it’s closer to being Obama’s Mariel boatlift.

And even then it’s not the same. The difference between the border crisis and the Mariel boatlift is that Carter’s policies were not responsible for the boatlift, unless you can call international weakness a policy. But Obama’s executive order implementing a version of the otherwise-unpassable DREAM Act started the current flood of people streaming across the borders. Though it seems to have been the result of a misunderstanding (his order only applied to those who had come before 2007), his lack of border policing allowed it to happen, and the misunderstanding may have been encouraged.

Neither thing was true for Carter. At the time of the Mariel boatlift, the US policy towards Cuban exiles had been an open-door one, and that was not controversial since Cuban refugees were widely seen as freedom-loving prospective citizens with initiative and drive. It was Castro who decided to up the ante when many would-be emigrants took refuge in the Peruvian embassy in Havana after one group intent on escaping had been safely sheltered there:

Initially, the Carter administration had an open-arms policy in regard to Cuban immigrants. Cubans were immediately granted refugee status and all the rights that went with it. Additionally, public opinion towards Cuban refugees was initially favorable.

This situation changed when it was discovered that the refugees included criminals and people from Cuba’s mental hospitals. Castro arranged for the inclusion of criminals and people with mental illness (who were still stigmatized at the time) among the political and economic refugees in order to rid Cuba of undesirables and to damage the image of Cuban exiles.

The US isolated out the criminal and mental illness elements and about half the rest were absorbed into Miami life (there were about 125,000 in all, less than have already arrived from Central America) and the Cuban exile community there. Others were held in detention camps in other parts of the country, which angered some residents in the communities involved. This is the biggest resemblance to the current crisis:

Crowded conditions in South Florida immigration processing centers forced U.S. federal agencies to move many of the Marielitos to other centers in Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, Camp Santiago, Puerto Rico, and Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. Federal civilian police agencies such as the General Services Administration’s Federal Protective Service provided officers to maintain order inside the gates of the relocation centers. Riots occurred at the Fort Chaffee center and some detainees escaped which became a campaign issue in the re-election defeat of Governor Bill Clinton.

It didn’t help Carter either. But at least Carter’s motives were actually humanitarian; there is no evidence whatsoever he had a plan to flood the US with potential Democratic voters (most of the early Cuban refugees were Republicans, I seem to recall reading), or to overwhelm the system. What’s more, the Mariel flood finally ended when the US and Castro negotiated an agreement that Castro would do so. There is no indication that any such thing is even contemplated between the Obama administration and the Central American countries involved, or Mexico.

So the comparison between Obama and Carter, and the current crisis with the Mariel boatlift, is really very unfair to Carter. The situation we face today has far more potential for trouble, and Obama is far more implicated in its genesis and far less involved in finding any solution. In the current crisis, Obama seems to be playing the roles of Carter and Castro combined, and neither seems to be willing to negotiate with the other.

11 Responses to “The border crisis is not Obama’s Katrina”

  1. Ymarsakar Says:

    Democrat governors and mayors instituted destruction of New Orleans during Katrina, for their own CYA political benefit and blamed it on Bush.

    They ordered confiscation of all firearms in New Orleans from citizens, then the NOPD went AWOL, to facilitate looting and destruction, all the while denying mobilization of the national guard until it looked like Bush was thinking of nationalizing the NG, and then ordering the NG to help with gun confiscations rather than evacuations or emergency aid to stop the looting.

    Democrats do as Democrats do.

  2. bet85 Says:

    *Sigh* When will the stupor elites (as I call them) understand most people don’t take them seriously anymore… I mean this recent incident is completely amateurish and I’m sure I could have come up with a better plan!

    (face palms) sometimes I think the wealthy, because they have life handed to them, are the most incompetent of the whole of humanity as e’en their failures are rewarded…

  3. Matt_SE Says:

    Even Dem politicians are starting to turn on Obama’s immigration “policy,” as well as the MSM.
    Not a flood of dissent, yet, but it’s a start.

  4. expat Says:

    I hope Obama and all his supporters sink in the Rio Grande.

  5. jack Says:

    Carter IMO was and is a decent human being. As for his politics he’s dumb as dirt.

    O’s NOT a decent human being IMO and his politics are as dumb as dirt.

    That’s the difference I see in the two Presidents.

  6. jack Says:

    Oh and O won’t go to the border or get anywhere close to those kids … he’s afraid of catching some disease.

  7. blert Says:


    Are you saying Nagin was a crook?

  8. blert Says:


    Jimmy is filthy with Muslim monies and is a fulsome anti-Semite of the first water.

    He’s a step beyond foolish “Islam is a religion of peace” Bush.

    He has moral dementia.

  9. Ymarsakar Says:

    Blert, Nagin is a brown colored chocolate ice cream.

  10. Ymarsakar Says:

    Carter IMO was and is a decent human being.

    Decent human beings wouldn’t deny the Shah of Iran, a US ally and fan of Western progress, US medical treatment when every Democrat got it from their slaves.

  11. RickZ Says:


    Thank you for saying Carter ‘has moral dementia’ and is ‘filthy with Muslim monies and is a fulsome anti-Semite of the first water’. I was about to respond with something similar before reading the rest of the comments. Novel idea reading the rest of the comments before posting mine, huh?

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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