Maybe the children will lead them. The children from Central America who recently crossed into the United States illegally. They have put immigration back in the headlines.
During the last eight months, about 47,000 children have crossed the Mexican border into Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. The mostly unaccompanied minors made the long treacherous journey from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Some are fleeing violent drug wars and poverty; others are looking for a better opportunity.
Right now, they are being bused from Texas to border processing facilities in Arizona, facilities ill equipped to handle the large numbers. Customs officials have had to add beds, mattresses, extra showers and food. Charitable organizations have offered clothing.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is incensed. The governor has clashed many times before with the feds about immigration issues. Brewer says once again the federal government has “no plan to deal with the endless waves of illegal aliens once they are released here.”
She’s not entirely wrong. To meet this burgeoning crisis, President Barack Obama quickly set aside $1.4 billion to deal with what he describes as an “urgent humanitarian situation,” and ordered a new unified and coordinated government response. The Federal Interagency Unified Coordination Group will operate under Homeland Security to coordinate the efforts of the feds, plus state and local groups.
But a misunderstanding in current border policy may make the situation worse before any coordinated effort can be effective. While many of the minors made the decision to make the journey themselves, the parents of others risked sending them believing that a child traveling alone could not be deported- which is not true.
Bipartisan support for immigration reform collapsed last year, but there were recent hints of quiet negotiation. Analysts now say last week’s defeat of House majority leader Eric Cantor, a supporter of immigration reform, means there is no chance.
Is it possible this humanitarian crisis will be the spark to move our lawmakers to some action? Or maybe the reality of 70,000 minors predicted to cross by years end?
Political infighting will not stop these children. They will continue to make their way to America’s doorstep and open the door for themselves.