“The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.” So wrote one of the most pivotal figures of the twentieth century, almost a full hundred years before the current crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border. Unaccompanied illegal immigrant children from Central America are now falling victim to a feckless president’s amnesty scheme.
The conditions in Central America must be deplorable for the parents of these children to hand them off to a human mule, without any guarantee of protection from danger, drug cartels, human trafficking or sexual exploitation. We are told by many columnists and politicians alike that any good American should feel a moral obligation to take these children in and reconnect them with family here in the United States. We should feel the need to feed, clothe, educate, and care for these children who are truly the epitome of victims of circumstance, namely, the circumstance of their nationality.
The administration and its supporters would have us disregard the law of the land while telling us they are getting tough on illegal border crossings, even as the Border Patrol’s own numbers prove that illegal border apprehensions are down 42% since 2008. They hope we would turn a blind eye to serious issues of national security that a porous border breeds. Where are the concerns for public health that dominated the debates surrounding the Affordable Care Act and the perennial push for free condom distribution to the nation’s school children, now that children with tuberculosis and chicken pox are pouring over the border and are in urgent need of care. We must save the children!
And how does big government respond? In the only way it knows how: ineffectively and expensively. The Senate has unveiled a plan to provide $2 billion in aid to deal with the humanitarian crisis at the border as 47,000 children sit in makeshift camps, on military bases, and in storage depots amid deplorable conditions. That dollar amount equates to roughly $42,500 per child. Imagine what $42,500 would buy those children at home? Will anyone in Congress question this figure? Will the American taxpayer finally rise up and demand accountability and ask what the government is going to do to stem the surge of illegal immigration?
When the great migrations occurred in the nineteenth century that saw millions of Asians and Europeans come to both coasts, a bare continent lay before them, with a booming economy waiting to offer them jobs and the promise of a new start. Perhaps if Ireland or China were connected to our coasts, our history books would be replete with stories of the nineteenth century illegal immigration crisis, but there is one simple fact that suggests to me that this imagined geography would not produce the same crisis we are witnessing today.
Like moths to a flame, the immigrants who arrived in the nineteenth century largely arrived seeking the bright, burning flame of economic opportunity. Are unaccompanied minors flooding our borders in the hope of landing a job at IBM or GE? Hardly. Instead of the bright flame of economic hope, the artificial glow and false promise of amnesty casts a dim, crackling, fluorescent pall over Central America. These immigrants arrive to find a country which has no idea how to handle them, an economy in shambles and unable to absorb the human capital their labor represents, and a political system willing to exploit their poverty and misfortune for its own gain. However bad it is in Central America, it can’t be as bad as being thrust into the shadows of America–a scary, dangerous place where our politicians tell us upwards of 11 million of these children’s brethren already suffer.
Why come? Perhaps because newspapers in El Salvador and Honduras are reporting the administration’s two year suspension of deportation under its 2012 policy aimed at aiding these “Dreamers” who (in 2012, we were told) were brought here by their parents at no fault of their own and who deserve no punishment for being victims, again, of life’s circumstances. “Get in now,” perhaps the logic goes, “while the political leadership in American doesn’t care enough to stop us.”
Maybe they come because politicians are tripping over themselves to offer state benefits to illegal aliens. Governors, such as Chris Christie, have extended in-state tuition benefits to the Dreamers, presumably because the child’s citizenship (or lack thereof) is not his or her fault but is instead the result of the illegal actions of his or her parents. What are we doing for the kid whose father got nicked for robbing a bank or whose mother was convicted of selling heroin? Those kids will have just as tough a time making it through life, presuming at least one parent was incarcerated. The message is this: if your dad got locked up but your ancestors came here on the Mayflower, tough luck. If your dad broke the law by coming here illegally last year, let’s rush to help you adjust.
I pose a simple question: who among our elected members of Congress will indict the Obama administration for the concentration camps springing up along our southern border, with thousands of illegal immigrant children packed into warehouses and in wholly unsanitary conditions?
The Obamavilles on our border–which is what they ought to be called, since it is the president’s policies that led to this humanitarian crisis–are shameful displays of big government at its worst. I shudder to think that this is all part of some elaborate political plan to turn the American public in favor of an open-borders, pro-amnesty immigration policy, and I want to believe that no American politician would stoop to this new low. If it is part of some political scheme, to paraphrase the tune from “Annie” about Hoovervilles, we’d like to thank you, Barack Obama, for creating this mess on our border.
What history tells me, and Adolph Hitler so presciently wrote in Mein Kempf as quoted at the beginning of this piece, is that you can move political mountains, curtail personal liberties, and practice any tyranny in the name of helping children. It is a crime against humanity, against the poorest and most unfortunate inhabitants of our hemisphere that the president’s immigration policies are causing the illness, exploitation, and deaths of the same children that he and his political allies claim to want to help.