These kids aren’t here because of Democratic or Republican policies
When you have a problem and don’t know why, you might seek a specialist to get an accurate diagnosis.
But with the recent influx of immigrants – especially unaccompanied alien children – the last thing we need is help with a diagnosis. I think we can all see that kids with no parents crossing our borders is a bit of an issue.
Many are calling for us to secure our border with Mexico. That’s a great idea. But that has nothing to do with the issue we face today.
These kids aren’t avoiding detection and taking valued $1 a day lettuce picking jobs. They are getting caught immediately upon crossing the border. Once we have them “secured,” we have to feed and house them.
There are calls to deport every one of the tens of thousands of recent detainees. How does that even happen? Many of these kids are from Guatemala or even further south in Honduras or San Salvador. They have already traveled about 1,500 miles. For the purposes of scope, if they went that far again, they would travel from San Antonio, Texas to the middle of North Dakota.
Are you going to load 50,000 kids into planes, trains or automobiles? It is an exercise in futility. By the time the last unaccompanied minor reaches his home country upon deportation, some of the first deportees would have already found their way back into U.S. custody. Remember, they aren’t sneaking across a border. They are coming across the border illegally and immediately being arrested.
This is a perfect example of an easy diagnosis with a very difficult cure.
Some of this influx of illegal immigrants is due to attempts to escape terrible socio-economic conditions. Being detained in America is better than being free in many other countries.
Some of these immigrants are trying to escape safety concerns that make their countries twice as dangerous for civilians than war-torn Iraq.
Because of safety concerns in their home countries, many of these children would be undeportable under U.S. law because they are refugees, not immigrants.
Since the Statue of Liberty first held up her torch, these underaged immigrants have been a fact of life in the country.
Justice is important and these kids are here illegally. Resources are important and these kids cost a lot to house and care for. But isn’t mercy important as well? After all, deporting them is mostly ineffective and probably equally expensive, if not more so.
It is really too bad that so many Americans are willing to sit back from their positions of privilege and believe that God granting them the good fortune of being born in this country makes them better than people who are just as smart, just as kind and work just as hard, if not harder, who are born in unfortunate zip codes.
If the shoe was on the other foot and we faced incredible and inescapable poverty and street thugs who were far more vicious and prevalent than warring soldiers, what would we want to do with our children?
America is a beacon of freedom in the world, but so many want to hide that beacon when the wrong people find their way here hoping for a better life.
We do have to secure our borders. We don’t want people with bad intentions coming here and plotting acts of terrorism while living under our umbrella of freedom and safety.
But the vast majority of these unaccompanied minors have no ill intentions. They are victims of poverty and violence that most of us have never seen and could never understand – even less tolerate.
Balancing justice and mercy, expense and expedience, and doing it all within the framework of our own legal system won’t be easy.
President Barack Obama is being criticized for deporting too many and not enough at the same time from opposite sides of the aisle.
There are no simple answers to complicated problems. If you think the problem is black and white, that is more of a result of you being color blind than insightful.
We need to keep searching for answers because the problem isn’t going away. In an election year, this is a lot to ask for. But removing politics from the equation would help. That is one complicating factor we could remove.
These kids aren’t here because of Democratic or Republican policies. They are here because of fear and famine. Political wrangling won’t solve this issue.
Working together without placing blame or seeking fame could.
Kent Bush is the publisher of the Butler County Times Gazette and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org