You have driven this same road, everyday for 10 years. The posted speed limit is 35 mph but everyone has always driven 45. Today you were pulled over for driving 45. They decided to start enforcing the limit. How do you feel? You were speeding but it had been accepted for 10 years.
That’s what is happening at our southern border today. Yes, there have always been laws regarding entering our country illegally, but they were not aggressively enforced. Now we have a zero tolerance policy and things have changed. Good? I’m not here to debate our immigration policies. I see points on both sides. The bottom line is we have laws and we are enforcing them. If we want change, the answer is not ignoring laws, as in the pass. The answer is to change the laws to reflect our intentions.
What I do want to talk about is the “collateral damage” to our current policies. The “collateral damage” is the children. As of September 13, 2018 there were 12,800 unaccompanied immigrant children held by the United States Government, which is five times higher than in May of 2017. 2,500 of those children crossed the border with their parents and were separated from them into special facilities. In June of 2018 a Federal Judge issued an injunction requiring that all of these children be united with their families. 2,000 were either united or placed into special foster homes due to situations.
Of the 500 children remaining in custody, 22 are under the age 5! Under the age of 5, separated from their parents and held in custody? Seriously? 300 of the remaining children’s parents have already been returned to their home country without their children. The system failed to match them up when they were deported. One 8-year-old being held has been separated from his father for 4 months. His father has already been deported back to Guatemala.
Of the 12,800 minors being held, over 10,000 were children attempting to enter America illegally without their parents. They were NOT separated from their families. That does not make their situation unimportant but is different than those separated from their parents. These children did not make the choice to come here. Their parents did. Their parents broke the law. Does that mean they should be punished, incarcerated and separated from their parents?
If you are a parent, imagine the government showing up, pulling your child out of your hugging arms, crying and screaming for mommy or daddy. What would you do? I KNOW, you didn’t break the law but would that change your desperation and rage. Would that make the event any less traumatic for your child. They are taken away to a large gated facility with armed guards (“for their protection”). They are placed in large dormitory facilities with many other children. Many of them do not understand what is happening. They do not understand immigration laws. All they know is that they want their mommy. Imagine it is your child! Would you tolerate it?
Illegal immigration is a difficult subject with great passion on both sides. I want to protect our borers but I have several friends that have arrived here in many different manners and they are some of the best citizens our country could hope for. They have sacrificed much to get here and believe in the American Dream. They love this country and do not take what they have for granted. The immigration issue will be debated for many years, possibly never-ending.
The issue of these children can not be debated. These children are being traumatized and in some cases abused. They are learning to hate America and everything our country stands for. We say “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” JUST NOT THE CHILDREN? Is that what we want the inscription on the Statue of Liberty to read? This is not how we want to be seen by the world. I think Lady Liberty is shedding a tear for these kids. America is better than that.