I’ve called this a “stress inducer” because I am somewhat conflicted over the issue at hand.
We have what has been called at a crisis at our southern border. Go back 500 years and it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the aboriginal peoples thought the same of the eastern border. I now live very close to the southern border, in fact, about 77 miles away.
The situation became more intense recently as thousands of unaccompanied children began pouring across the border into our neighbor to the east. The predominant claim is that these children have been sent to the United States by their parents. Circumstances in some Central American countries have become so degraded that parents fear for the lives of their children.
Out of desperation, these parents have handed the lives of their children over to … We don’t even know whom! We see images on the news and the internet of hundreds of people, many of them children, riding on top of railroad freight cars. We see opportunists in small motor boats cruising the south bank of the Rio Grande, picking up people to drop on the other side.
In many cases, the people who actual set foot on the northern shore are immediately apprehended by our Border Patrol. When taken to the “official” border crossing, ostensibly to be handed over to the authorities in Mexico, they are turned away because “they are not Mexican citizens”.
Those who are not taken to the border crossing are instead taken to a “holding facility”. They await their time in our legal system. With so many now “living” in these holding facilities, the immigration court system in clogged worse than the Los Angeles interstate system. (How many counties can boast 6 different highways labeled as “Interstates” and still have horrendous commute times?)
We can’t possibly expect our legal system to efficiently process all the cases which are handed to them. One of the reasons is that every one of these people are “entitled” to legal representation. Someone has to represent their interests and well-being in the legal system. In the broadest sense of the title, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is correct in supporting this question. After all, there are two continents in this hemisphere that are “America”. However, NONE of the people entering this country in this way would refer to themselves as “american”. They are Honduran or Guatemalan or Nicaraguan, etc. ACLU is, I believe, supposed to be protecting the civil rights citizens of the United States of America. We’re the only country to which the world refers as America.
Do you know what happens when you try to travel internationally without the proper paperwork? You don’t even get on the plane! Even Canada now wants to make sure you’re properly documented. Then there’s that word. Documented. Or in the case of those coming in from the south, undocumented. Political correctness has made it unpopular to use the term illegal alien or illegal immigrant. Those terms might be offensive. So now we have undocumented alien or undocumented immigrant. I saw a commercial today where these people have decided they are entitled to free healthcare and referred to themselves only as undocumented.
Back to the crisis. The unattended children. Well, some of these children are gang members. Ask anyone in Southern California if they know what MS13 means. Some of the more affluent communities may not, but you can bet the middle class neighborhoods and the lower income areas know. As if we don’t have enough of our own, we’re now importing gang members!
There have been arguments made that the undocumenteds do the work the citizens don’t want to do. I’ve seen them. Working the fields of the San Joaquin Valley, bent over, harvesting the crops in the 90+ degree heat. I’ve seen them working the kitchen in a restaurant in Laguna Niguel. I’ve also seen them huddled along Interstate 10 between New Mexico and California, waiting for the chance to dart across.
Twenty and thirty years ago, these people understood that they were taking a risk. They were trying to make a better life for themselves and the family they had left behind. Rarely were there children in tow. The idea was to establish a life and then pay the exorbitant fees to transport their families in the same way.
Today, the risk appears to have been reduced. No longer are those who are caught immediately returned to Mexico. Our liberal immigration system houses them, feeds them and eventually gets around to processing them through the immigration courts.
So what to do about the children that are now seen as an invasion by some? It seems our government is shipping them to cities across the country to be cared for. Humanitarian organizations across the land are crying out for support to help the poor children. At what point do the eyes of the nation become opened?
By permitting this influx of refugees, for that is what their parents would have us believe, our government is sending a message to the world that we can house and feed anyone who is fleeing persecution, whether political or physical.
The cost of such benevolent behavior is astronomical. Not only is there the cost of housing and food, but the cost in the legal system. Courts are held in buildings constructed by the government. Courtroom employees have to be paid. Healthcare of some sort must be provided. All of these costs are borne by the citizens of the United States. You and I pay our taxes and trust the government to spend the money wisely.
Our recent history has shown that the trust we have placed in our elected representatives is often misplaced. If our representatives were representing us as they should, they would not have run up a debt that is counted in trillions of dollars. (It has always amazed me that if I have a bank account and spend more money than is in it, I get in trouble. But the government doesn’t!)
The other side of this situation is the children fleeing, rather more accurately, being sent away from a troubled environment. Let’s hear it for living in Guatemala and being able to send the kids to safety in America! What about American children living in similar circumstances? What about all the people in our own country that don’t have the same kind of living conditions as even the “middle class”?
Yes, I feel empathy for these displaced children. Yes, it breaks my heart that these parents can see no alternative but to send their offspring away. Why send them here? Why not, instead of sending them on a journey of at least 1000 miles, along which any number of catastrophes might befall them? Is there no government in Guatemala? Honduras? Nicaragua? El Salvador? Of course there is! But those governments don’t have the resources of the United States. They aren’t doing the same things we aren’t doing. TAKING CARE OF THEIR/OUR OWN.
Do I have a solution? No. The time for a solution is long past. Now is only for dealing with the situation that has come to be. Is there a solution for the future? Probably. Will it be popular? Not with our government, I assure you, and not with the humanitarians among us.
P.S. A personal perspective on the immigration process.
A very good friend is an immigrant. He moved here from South America. He followed the rules. He started out with a work permit. He applied for a green card. It took almost a year and much travel and money for that process to become complete. He has since gone through the hoops and dances of becoming a naturalized citizen. Again, with the expenditure of a great deal of money. All the while, he earned a living, paid taxes and contributed to our society.
Why do we make it so difficult for those who WANT to follow our rules and become proud Americans?!? Yet, those who chose to ignore the law, take advantage of our system of generosity and prefer to live an entitled life, can do so with impunity and arrogance?
Blessings, Love and Peace,