A humanitarian crisis is unfolding on the southern border. That this is so, no one disputes.
Yet Congress is about to go on vacation for a month -- to campaign, fundraise, cut negative advertisements and otherwise convince the public that their distaste for politicians is well-founded.
Fox News host Greta Van Susteren is having none of it, sharply criticizing Republicans for pointing fingers rather than working long hours to find a solution.
"Here's a suggestion,” Van Susteren told Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen during her television show. “I love protests. Why don't all of your members in the House, Democrats and Republicans, stay in Washington next week and insist that it be resolved? ... Make a statement to the American people that you give a damn."
From her lips to House Speaker John Boehner's ears, as the saying goes. In case it needs a nudge, here's why Republicans should take her advice:
The situation at the southern border is only getting worse.
As Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said Wednesday, “The only people benefiting from the immigration status quo are the human trafficking networks.” Networks that, lest we forget, are operated by drug cartels of the Death Cult persuasion.
The more Congress dithers in crafting a solution -- a real solution dealing with incentives, not a shower of money -- the more immigrants will come north to languish in custody or die abandoned in the desert.
As Van Susteren put it, "Not in a million years would I turn my back on a humanitarian crisis, not in a million years." Lives are on the line. As are legacies, for the cynics in the audience.
Republicans may object to missing the recess because it will keep them away from voters three months before they head to the polls — staying behind, they could argue, would be unilateral disarmament in a pivotal election year.
So here's the strategic reason for staying behind: It will ensure that the election is about immigration, an issue suddenly favorable to Republicans. If the extended session results in action, it would redeem a Republican Party that has been branded since 2012 as the party of shutdowns and stonewalling.
For once, the party can take action on its own terms.
Polling shows that support for a “pathway to citizenship” has declined since the crisis, yet 17 percent of Americans name immigration the country's most pressing issue -- up from 5 percent last month. This figure is followed closely by 16 percent of Americans who say “poor leadership” is the country's most pressing problem.
In case Van Susteren wasn’t blunt enough, the figures are blunter.
Republicans, take the lead on immigration. Crank up the air conditioning in the U.S. Capitol, and the heat on the party in power.