As thousands of mostly unaccompanied children have crossed the U.S. border from Central America, another “crisis” has been declared in the ongoing immigration debate.
And with the November elections looming, both Democrats and Republicans are using the issue in what can only be called a cynical attempt to leverage for political standing.
This is a complex and polarizing issue. There are no simple answers. The current children immigration problem is just a small, albeit tragic, part of a much larger debate.
Republicans blame President Obama for the crisis, alleging that he has sent out a “message” that children coming into the U.S. from Central America would not be deported. Democrats blame former President Bush for having signed legislation in 2008 dealing with child trafficking that makes sending young illegal immigrants back home more difficult.
All sides recognize that part of the problem is the U.S. drug culture, which is financing the various violent gangs and drug cartels in South and Central America. The violence in Central America coming from these groups is one reason parents are sending their children north into what they believe will be a more secure future.
And who can blame them? Would not any one of us do the same thing if our children’s lives were at stake? Although the journey is itself dangerous, many of these children have been sent here to seek a better life, just as many of our own ancestors made perilous trips from Europe while teenagers during periods of famine and religious persecutions.
Given this new influx today, what are we to do? Our border guards are not going to stand along the Rio Grande and shoot children crossing into the U.S. The only option is to round them up and process each one, a situation that requires housing, food, medical care and extensive research to figure out what would be in the best long-term interest of each child. All of those things, however, are in short supply and cost a lot of money to provide.
Some of the children will probably eventually be sent back to Central America. But in other cases, there may not be anyone to send them home to.
Gov. Nathan Deal here in Georgia pointed to one example in a news release last week where a child’s parents had been murdered in Central America, but had grandparents living here in the U.S. It would be difficult to argue such a child should be sent “home” when there is a close family living here who want to take him in.
In the bigger picture, this crisis of children is just a small blip. The real problem is that the U.S. immigration system is a mess. The nation needs both high-end workers for which there are too few visas, and manual labor workers in agriculture and housing for which there are too few visas and little flexibility. For the most part, immigrants aren’t displacing native-born American workers; they’re doing jobs that many who were born here are too lazy or incompetent to do.
That isn’t the populist mind-set. A lot of people are simply anti-immigrant, period. Slam the door. Round them up and ship them off. Shoot’em at the border.
At the other extreme are those who want totally open borders with no controls at all on immigration.
Somewhere along the way, reasonable discussion on this problem got lost. Now it’s all about politics and who can play the issue in an election cycle for political gain. Of that, all sides are guilty.
Last week, I wrote about the Israeli-Gaza conflict and my lack of sympathy for those in Gaza who support terrorism and are now reaping the retribution of war.
Only when mothers get tired of their husbands and children being killed will there be peace.
But the truth is, the Islamist-Muslim culture in that part of the world is so backwards, some Muslim mothers openly celebrate the sacrificing of their sons in acts of terror against the West in general, and Jews in particular.
Consider the following comments by one Muslim mother on a video:
Um Nidal is filmed with her son, Muhammad, who is armed and ready to carry out a terror attack:
“By Allah, today is the best day of my life. I feel that our Lord is pleased with me, because I am offering something [my son] for Him. I wish to sacrifice more [sons] for Allah’s forgiveness, and for the flag [of Islam], ‘There is no god but Allah’, to fly over Palestine.... It’s true that there’s nothing more precious than children, but for the sake of Allah – what is precious becomes cheap.”
How do you confront a culture of mothers who embrace death and terrorism in such a warped way — a culture that cheapens human life with violence in the name of ignorance and superstition?
And what of Hamas, the terrorist group responsible for baiting Israel into the current conflict and for manipulating the international media? This is from that group’s charter:
“The Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realization of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: ‘The day of judgment will not come until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jews will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say ‘O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”
As long as Muslim mothers celebrate their children’s deaths from delusion and hatred and Islamist terrorist groups like Hamas make a mission of killing Jews and destroying Israel, there will never be peace in the Middle East.
I cannot find much sympathy for mothers or fathers who openly celebrate the death of children in the name of religion. It’s pathological.
Mike Buffington is co-publisher of Mainstreet Newspapers, Inc. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.