Federal immigration officials posted on a government procurement website an open-ended Request for Information from companies providing "escort services for unaccompanied alien children."
"The contractor shall provide unarmed escort staff, including management, supervision, manpower, training, certifications, licenses, drug testing, equipment, and supplies necessary to provide on-demand escort services for non-criminal/non-delinquent unaccompanied alien children ages infant to 17 years of age, seven (7) days a week, 365 days a year" for "approximately 65,000" such children, according to the notice.
A pre-planned surge?
More than a few people on the Right believe the surge in unaccompanied kids crossing the U.S. border with Mexico was planned by the Obama administration.
"If this doesn't prove that the entire mess with all the illegals flooding our country was planned by this administration, nothing ever will," according to the Conservative Wife blog.
To be sure, there has been an explosion in recent weeks of coverage of the by the mainstream media, highlighted this week by Texas Gov. Rick Perry's announcement of a massive enforcement effort by his state.
It began in 2010
The ICE solicitation doesn't "prove" the Obama administration "planned" the flood of minors entering the country, but it does highlight the issue from a related angle.
According to federal immigration data reported by Mother Jones, the number of border crossings by unaccompanied children from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras suddenly spiked in December 2010.
But so did the crossings by kids from Mexico and from "All Countries." Plotted on a graph, the three lines take off at virtually the same rate and at the same time.
Gang violence doesn't explain it
That graph throws a huge monkey wrench in the administration's official explanation that the surge is driven mainly by drug and gang violence, and poverty in the region described by Mother Jones as Central America's "Northern Triangle."
In fact, the annual crossings by Northern Triangle kids was virtually flat from 2008 until the explosion began in 2010, whereas there had been a prior surge for the other categories during 2008, followed by a marked decline until taking off again in 2010.
Something clearly happened late in 2010 to spark unaccompanied children from "All Countries" to head to the U.S. border with Mexico, just it did from the Northern Triangle region.
Government sees no end to it
If that something isn't mainly the wretched conditions in the Northern Triangle region, what is it? Conservatives who point to changes in Obama administration immigration policy may yet have a point.
Here's something else to consider: The RFI is what is known in federal procurement parlance as an IDIQ solicitation.
It covers five years as an "Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity" purchase. In other words, federal immigration officials don't expect the surge to end any time soon, and they have no idea how much it will cost.
On today's washingtonexaminer.com
Columnists/Philip Klein: House conservatives are also responsible for leadership fiasco.
Columnists/Veronique de Rugy: Technology helps innovators ignore regulators who target Uber and Lyft.
Columnists/Byron York: Why Obamacare's "good news" applies only to the poor.
Beltway Confidential/Michael Barone: Can an independent conservative defeat the Nassau County Republican machine?
Beltway Confidential/T. Becket Adams: Obama's approval rating takes another hit.
PennAve/David M. Drucker: Here's how Kevin McCarthy will differ from Eric Cantor.
PennAve/Susan Crabtree: Five facts about the new U.S. mission in Iraq.
PennAve/Brian Hughes: Romney 4.0 -- Can Mitt get his groove back?
Legal Newsline/Kyla Asbury: Former LA Clippers intern files class-action lawsuit claiming labor law violations.
In other news
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The Weekly Standard: Time for a dose of reality.
National Review Online: Hail to the Redskins!
Washington Free Beacon: The Hillary tapes they don't want you to hear.
The Federalist: Why the Redskins trademark ruling should terrify everybody.
The Daily Beast: U.S. taps old allies for new war in Iraq.
The American Prospect: Astronaut Sally Ride and the burden of being "the first."
Mother Jones: Blame your smartphone if you're feeling more antsy lately.
Kids Prefer Cheese: The Left gets a pass ... again (Do not miss the Dr. House of Cards video!)
Talking Points Memo: Obama to extend family leave to same-sex couples.
African-American Political Pundit: Home schooling leads the way in black education.
Kevin Drum: House votes to end NSA's back-door searches.