I spent eight years working on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.
I never saw anything like this.
NASA just emailed employees seeking volunteers to assist staff facility for unaccompanied migrant children, based on internal email provided to me: pic.twitter.com/erAGwjK3KB
– Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) April 6, 2021
Now, I was not a federal employee. Most of NASA is not. NASA has a great name, but it is a small agency and most of them are contractors. Federal employees administer those contractors and the agency’s programs. The Perseverance rover is an example of one such program, as is Hubble, and its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, which will launch soon.
Federal employees are the backbone of the agency, mostly from the private sector, which places rockets and people in space and conducts aeronautical research. That’s in the name: National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
There is nothing about handling children at the border with that name. It is not a thing. If any federal staff member had been asked to volunteer for border service when I was at Hubble, all the contractors would have known about it.
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But here we are. The Biden government irresponsibly opened the border wide on the first day. Hundreds of thousands of migrants have crossed it illegally. There are at least 18,000 children in some kind of overcrowded facility. Border cities are overwhelmed. The federal government is so overwhelmed that it is now seeking to remove its space program personnel, managers, and some astronauts and rocket scientists from their important work at one of the smaller federal agencies to deal with this unfolding disaster on the border.
Biden’s administration falters. He’s trying to blame Trump now, but the migrants aren’t wearing MAGA hats. They are wearing “Biden, please let us in!” T-shirts and tell all the reporters who came because Biden asked.
Trump left Biden with a fairly orderly border. The wall that Biden and his people made fun of was almost finished; Biden inherited the ready-to-use infrastructure jobs on the spot, but immediately canceled them to upset Trump and his supporters. Biden, according to Obama’s quote about his tendency to “screw things up,” has done exactly that.
How can I know? Biden has been asking other bigger agencies to come and help out for a couple of weeks. That was not enough. It was a failure. Who knew that a bunch of fat government cats living in million dollar homes in Bethesda, Maryland, and Northern Virginia don’t want to step onto the border where it is dangerous and will have to care for thousands of children? And by the way, also dealing with more COVID. And hyper-violent drug cartels that make Blackbeard look like a schoolboy. It’s shocking that they aren’t getting enough volunteers, right?
This email from NASA appears to be an escalation from a staff perspective and from a facilities perspective when Biden’s people began considering using a NASA facility to house migrants in March. Wrap your mind around that. NASA facilities are not designed for that. They are designed for rocket research and actual launches, they are designed to build satellites in clean rooms, they are designed for aeronautical or other research, or they are academic and office buildings. What part of that says “Let’s leave a group of migrant children here”?
The people at NASA aren’t designed for this either. They are senior staff and program managers and physicists and the like. These are very smart people who do amazing things, but mass child care in convention centers and tent cities is a far cry from “other assigned duties.” Or even volunteered, in this case.
They have tried to hire babysitters at a whopping $ 144,000 salary, according to Victoria Taft’s report in March. We also have … this. Egad. All of that, Biden is doing. But we have escaped those petty tweets. That’s something.
Biden is now trying to get the people of NASA out of space work and cutting-edge research, his main mission, and one that is as important as ever with China on the rise, to deal with the border chaos he created out of stupidity and spite. This is not OK. Joe Biden (or whoever is making his decisions for him) is an idiot.