How ironic, having spent Fathers’ Day evening writing about children – in this case, those minors being brought into America illegally by their parents. But first, allow me to establish my lifelong attitude about children. I love them and will not take second place to anyone else who also loves them and cares deeply about their well being and their future.
I raised six of them – three biological and three who needed a home at critical times in their lives. I also maintained a home open to others who, from time-to-time, needed a little fatherly attention. When my second wife asked if I would want more children, I told her absolutely without hesitation. I love being a father and my last biological child was born when I had already passed the 50-yard line in life. Parenthood is the best and most important job in the world.
It is understandably heartbreaking to see so many children being uprooted from their homes, making a dangerous pilgrimage across hostile lands and being placed in temporary facilities. But, no matter how much you love children, there are realities in life that must be faced and accepted. Just as I could not open my home to endless numbers of children regardless of their need, our nation cannot simply accept every family in the world who might seek a better life for them and their children.
We can be proud of the fact that we are a nation in which hundreds of millions of people around the world would love to reside– to become part of that American Dream that has so inspired the world. And we can be proud that we are the most welcoming immigrant-friendly nation in the world.
Unfortunately, we have neither the ability nor the resources to accept every person from every nation that seeks a better life in America. That is just a fact … sad perhaps … but a fact. To control the inflow into America, we must have an immigration system that is legal, fair and compassionate – but not foolish. We must establish priorities to determine who will be admitted and how. They must be vetted carefully. And our immigration system should be structured so that those coming to embrace the American culture and provide a benefit to our society.
Like that person who loves kids, I must admit that I am totally offended by the hyper-hyperbolic political crap that is coming out of the Democrats, some old guard Republicans and the anti-Trump media regarding the children being separated from their parents at the border. It is a problem, but it is NOT a humanitarian crisis. Comparing the handling of the growing number of families crossing our border illegally to prisons, Nazi concentration camps or Franklin Roosevelt’s utterly shameful action of confining Japanese-Americans (citizens) in camps is beyond outrageous.
We need to deal with the issue in a rational manner and end the exaggerations and theatrics being playout for partisan political advantage. And the first issue is the law. Democrats claim it is simply the Trump administration policy that is causing the problem. Despite the politically motivated criticism, the Trump policy is simple – break the law by entering illegally and you will be arrested. As a nation (at least half of it) that believes in the rule-of-law, that seems reasonable – especially since we maintain a very generous legal process for refugees to become Americans.
The critics are bending the truth about the law-versus-policy issue. There may be no law that specifically requires children to be separated from parents as they enter the country. However, there are laws that require children to be separated from parents incarcerated for breaking the law. We do not send children to jail with their parents. Is that what the Democrats and the biased media propose? Or do they simply want to admit hundreds of thousands, or even millions more, of foreigners without a legal process and without proper vetting? Simply walk over the border and you are in?
They say it is merely a policy change that has caused the sudden increase in the separation of minors and their parents. That is true, but not the first-time children and parents have been separated. Past administrations had “policies” that were based on what they called “discretion.” That is a euphemism for ignoring the law. Some were arrested and separated from their children. Some were not. Those separated were put into locations initially authorized by the Obama administration – something the hysterical talking heads on television seem to have forgotten. Under the old policy, the decision of who gets a pass and who gets arrested was inconsistent, arbitrary and unfair because the rule-of-law was ignored.
Despite their lip service claims to be in favor of border security, Democrats and the radical left would simply allow people to enter the country illegally and then grant citizenship. That is what they are proposing today and that is how we wound up with 11 to 14 million illegal aliens residing in America in the first place.
The left also gives the false impression that all those being arrested are all vulnerable women and children yearning to breath free. That is not the case at all. We have thousands of older minors who cross the border illegally on their own. There are also disreputable people who bring in children who are not their own to gain access. Our open border has fostered an industry of unscrupulous people taking money from parents with the promise of bringing their children to America. Many of these children are abused, raped and even enslaved. Illegal border crossing is the route of choice for the worst of the criminal characters. They well know that they would not be admitted via the legal process. We need to keep in mind that gangbangers, drug cartellians and MS-13 members have virtually all gained access to America by crossing the borders illegally. We also need to understand that many of these bad characters have children or use children as their admission tickets. The best way to stop such human trafficking is to prevent illegal crossing as much as possible.
In their hyper-hyperbolic and melodramatic response, the Democrats and the media are magnifying a problem that is at once unavoidable and yet manageable. They have magnified problem into a politically driven faux humanitarian crisis. The immigration problem can be addressed with sound minds and a sense of compassion, but the over-the-top response of the critics is dishonest and counterproductive. They are most obnoxious when they claim moral superiority. They openly declare that those who see an alternative means to address immigration are contemptible, immoral, cowardly and, most assuredly, a basket of deplorables in their estimation.
If there is blame for what is going on at our southern border, we need to look at the homelands that are driving their people away, at parents who choose the illegal route when a legal option is available and at our past national leaders who promoted illegal immigration by lack of enforcement of our laws. Fixing the problem is not easy and it is not without its unfortunate side effects. But, fix the problem we must.
Democrat opposition to sensible immigration reform and their continuing determination to allow the illegal system to remain in place is the only reason we do not have immigration reform. While the media claims that it is a Republican problem because the GOP controls the White House, the House and the Senate, they are misinforming the public.
Republicans DO NOT control the Senate – at least not completely. In the Senate, immigration reform requires 60 votes, which means some Democrats must support any bill that comes before them. The Democrats have used that limited power to serve as a veto on any legislation that would reform our broken immigration system. Until there is a change in Senate rules, or the GOP wins a supermajority in November, or enough Democrats heed the will of the people to properly defend our borders, no reform can be put on the President’s desk.
Until then, we are faced with a Hobson’s Choice – enforce the law or ignore the law. That latter has not worked, so maybe the time to enforce the law has come.
POSTSCRIPT: And where is all the compassionate and humanitarian concern for the thousands of minority children being traumatized, wounded and murdered in our Democrat-controlled inner cities every year – year after year after year?
Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and political issues. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, and he has served as a consultant to the White House under Presidents Nixon and Reagan. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress and lectured at Harvard University, Northwestern University, Florida Atlantic University, Knox College and Hope College. An award winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.