By Nancy Thorner & Bonnie O'Neil -
Since October of last year 52,000 - 60,000 unaccompanied children have arrived at our border with Mexico with an expectation of being allowed into our country. They came mostly from Honduras, Guatemala or El Salvador, based on information they received promising America had relaxed their immigration laws and if they managed to reach our borders, they would be allowed entry, especially the children.
Among the hundreds of children apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol it is alarming that some were infants and toddlers, but also that the average age was about fourteen, and many of them were in the unaccompanied category. Shocking images have been captured of young faces pressed blankly up against thick glass panes and hundreds of children huddled under aluminum-foil blankets on concrete floors behind chain fences and barbed wire. Obviously, the pictures tear at our hearts, and cause us to think emotionally about the situation, rather than with rational logic. Could that be the intent of those who helped initiate the mass immigration we are seeing?
Few deny it has become a crisis of epic proportions, as immigration officials and their facilities have been overwhelmed with the flood of arrivals. They are taxed with finding equitable ways to manage the unprecedented invasion. But many questions remain as to how all this happened, why it happened, and what our government plans to do about the problem now, as well as long term solutions.
Resettlement rather that Deportation
It is perceived that the Obama administration's plan is more about resettlement than deportation for the unaccompanied migrant children. Therefore, it is important for everyone to examine current laws that have been enacted on the subject. The current crisis involves a massive amount of children who are coming from Central America, rather than Mexico. That makes a difference in procedures. Central American children must be taken into US custody, while Mexicans of any age can be turned back at the border. This is the result of a series of laws passed by Congress and signed by President Obama that set in place a particular process for unaccompanied child migrants, as a way of fighting human trafficking. These laws reinforced a 1997 government lawsuit settlement that set certain standards for care.
Most of this process was codified by Congress under the Homeland Security Act of 2002; Congress added some additional protections under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, in 2008.
Under those laws, the Border Patrol is required to take child migrants who aren't from Mexico into custody, screen them, and transfer them to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (a part of the Department of Health and Human Services), which is tasked with either finding a suitable relative with whom the child can be released, or putting the child in long-term foster care. The current system was built for 8,000 kids -- not 50,000. There are not beds in HHS facilities to handle the number of Central Americans. So this is unprecedented, and because the decisions now being made could set a precedence for the future, it is exceedingly important that citizens keep a close watch on the issue and hopefully offer their well-thought-out advice to elected officials, ICE, and Homeland Security.
Surge anticipated by Obama administration?
There are reports that the Obama Administration anticipated the surge of children that would be crossing the southern border illegally way back in January. It was then that the Obama administration placed an advertisement for contractors to "help Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) resettle 65 thousand illegal children”, months before the border crisis began. So, why is President Obama and other officials acting surprised by the thousands who made their way here?
In this video clip, documentary filmmaker Dennis Michael Lynch warns that the invasion is only beginning. As stated by Lynch, "It's about to get worse. Entire villages are emptying and coming from Central America through Mexico to the United States. They'll be hitting the border within the next few weeks. What you are seeing right now is the tip of the iceberg."
In an act that speaks of desperation, on June 19, the federal government posted yet another help wanted advertisement as a solution to the explosive increase of children illegally crossing the southern border, namely:
The Department of Homeland Security is seeking “Escort Services for Unaccompanied Alien Children,” or UAC, as juveniles entering the United States are called.
How has the public responded to this Administration’s pleas for American citizens to “adopt” these immigrants into their communities?
Residents of Lawrenceville, Virginia succeeded in thwarting plans to shelter 500 of the children at a defunct college located in Lawrenceville, St. Paul's College, which authorities saw acceptable as a refugee camp for junior illegal aliens. Concerns mentioned as to why the residents declined the immigrants included: fear of "communicable diseases, such as drug resistant tuberculosis, and potential gang violence from the "teenagers." Known gang members, some sporting gang tattoos, are among the children storming the U.S. border. Of immediate concern is that a case of swine flu has been confirmed at a shelter for unaccompanied minors
Another site crossed off the list of potential sites by HHS (the same agency that botched the ObamaCare rollout) was a former monastery located in Olympia Fields, a south Chicago suburb, due to a strong social media outcry.
The White House official statement about the immigration crisis is that it is an "urgent humanitarian situation." Recently Democrats have sought to re-frame the deepening crisis by identifying the immigrants as "refugees”, to coincide with the different rules and laws that apply to people with that label. That is one reason critics believe Obama’s intention is to find a way to keep all 60,000 plus immigrants here permanently. Be prepared for the possibility of our president suggesting a good-will gesture to bring the children’s families to the United States too. That would add another potential 200,000.
Will rule of law and nation's well being trump the emotional factor?
Yes, Americans feel sorry for others’ misfortunes and lack of quality of life based on where they were born, most certainly when children are involved, but if we allow a flow of 60,000 minors to enter the U.S.A., with a steady stream to follow, that will adversely affect and impact our own citizens. That is wrong. A law should never injure one person’s life to make another one’s better. That simply is unfair! We may need to remind our government that USA citizens must be their top priority. We simply cannot rescue everyone all the time, especially when we currently have a 17 trillion dollar debt and a continuing job crisis problem.
How will keeping the 60,000 immigrants injure anyone? The immediate problem is that due to the huge numbers needing to be processed, the usual health checks, background checks, and investigating for potential criminal records, cannot always be completed on everyone. Many have already been shipped away to other areas of the country.
For decades, American officials, at the highest level of our government, have refused to enforce established immigration laws, causing our immigration system to become horrendously inefficient, overburdened and in desperate need of a correction. Yet is seems the new laws enacted tend to escalate rather than decrease problems. In 2002 a law was enacted to protect childrens' welfare, so that thousands of immigrant minors crossing alone into the United States would be able to attend public schools and possibly work in America for years without consequences. This fact is known throughout Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, and thus enticed even more children to make the dangerous trip, believing they can remain in the U.S for years, before facing even a moderate risk of deportation. And the longer the immigration process goes on, the less likely .a child will be returned home. In recent years as many as one-quarter of the immigrants ordered to report to courts have failed to appear. Because of the massive number of children involved, it will take years before the unaccompanied minors have their cases heard.
We, the taxpayers, are paying for the care of immigrants who illegally cross our borders. We have allowed ourselves to be responsible for the arriving 60,000 too. They currently need housing, care, and ways to transport these illegal aliens to parents, relatives, or warehouses in the United States. The White House has projected a staggering cost of $2.28 billion to care for and resettle child migrants from Central America; some say that figure is low. They are asking for another $1.4 billion to keep the children here. Incredibly, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. announced that the Obama administration would pay for 100 lawyers to help these underage illegal aliens remain in the United States, thus begging the question: “why”? Has our government become more concerned about foreigners rather than our own citizens?
Part 2 will discuss the surge as a politically opportune moment for the Obama administration in its use of the crisis to open the door to universal citizenship for illegal immigrants, which represents yet another application of the left's long-championed Cloward Piven strategy.