The Norman Transcript

Columns

June 16, 2014

Humanitarian crisis defies all platitudes

(Continued)

NORMAN —

The government can’t and won’t lock down a border that is nearly 2,000 miles long and traverses mountains, water and desert. Nor will the U.S. curtail cross-border traffic with Mexico, the nation’s third largest trading partner at $507 billion in commercial transactions in 2013.

To suggest that curtailing undocumented immigration is a matter of border control belittles the massive amount of technology and manpower already in place for security. A far more constructive approach to the problem would be making it feasible for migrants to arrive legally and stay temporarily to take jobs that Americans will not do.

Amnesty? That’s more crazy talk. What has been proposed by a bipartisan bill (known by shorthand as the Gang of Eight Bill) passed by the Senate is a 13-year route to citizenship for only some immigrants who are illegally in the country now, including a long list of qualifications they must meet.

There is no fast track or overnight guarantee for anyone — not even these desperate Central American children.

As Myers Wood and Young pointed out, one of the many details in the Senate’s reform proposal, now almost a year old, would more ethically deal with children caught illegally trying to cross into the U.S. without an adult. A provision would appoint counsel for such cases. That doesn’t mean they will be allowed to stay in the U.S. Many likely won’t.

Debunking the nutty talk that always surrounds immigration reform is a never-ending but necessary task. Dawdling and ignorantly blathering about immigration is exactly the non-response that keeps the U.S. unready for situations such as this humanitarian crisis. For that is, in large part, what Border Patrol is dealing with at the moment.

Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world, outside of countries at war. Gang violence in El Salvador is escalating too. Some of these kids are running for their lives. Others are trying to reunite with parents who left them years ago to find work in the U.S. That’s where increased security at the border and ICE crackdowns have actually worsened some aspects of illegal immigration. People illegally here can’t cross back and forth as they once did to visit family.

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