Friday afternoon is the day that governments across America release information that they’d like to see downplayed. During the weekend (especially in the summer), Americans are distracted, and journalists aren’t able really to dig into a late-Friday release until Monday, at which point the news cycle has moved on.
In the collection of Friday news dumps, this is a strange one:
The data, which was dumped by the U.S. border patrol late Friday afternoon, shows that inflow of youths and children traveling without parents has doubled since 2013, to 57,525 in the nine months up to July 2014.
But the number of migrants who cross the border in so-called “family units” has spiked five-fold to 55,420, according to the border patrol’s data, which came out amid a storm of news about the shoot-down of a Malaysian aircraft in Ukraine, delays in failed U.S. nuke talks with Iran, and on Hamas’ continued war against Israel.
So why should a simple demographic fact be treated like a political liability? It changes the image of what’s happening on the border, doesn’t it? Firstly, it changes the image of the invasion — from a wave of lonely children traversing Mexico alone to whole communities’ taking a journey. It could be that many of the “unaccompanied” minors were actually very much accompanied, right up to the border.
Secondly, it changes the talking point that the wave is a result of the “Buse era” Wilberforce Trafficking law that required enhanced due process for unaccompanied children from nations other than Canada and Mexico. That talking point is disingenuous because (1) the migration of children en masse does not relate to the intent of the law, (2) the law provides plenty of room for discretion in extreme and unanticipated circumstances, and (3) the Obama Administration is hardly a stickler for the letter of the law. But still, it’s a talking point by which Democrats and progressive activists can muddy the water and prevent honest debate.