The humanitarian crisis engulfing the United States, where thousands of parentless Central American children are pouring across the border, will surely increase in scope.
While most are eventually designated for deportation, it often takes years to get a hearing in immigration court. In the meantime, the children are left in a scary, isolated limbo, and, worse, remain far away from where they belong: at home, with their families.
The parents, not seeing their children return, assume deportations are not taking place, and that their kids have been accepted into America. Consequently, it is becoming widely perceived that sending more children to America is the right thing to do.
But it’s not.
With so many dangers confronting these defenseless children, the humanitarian answer would be stopping this exodus.
Instead, we look to tactics, not strategies, to solve the crisis, amounting to Band-Aids on hemorrhaging wounds. America has lost its gift of foresight, becoming reactive instead of proactive and jettisoning its ability to confront problems head-on with the iron will to solve them.
A glaring example is the clamor to better fund the immigration courts as a way of alleviating the backlog of cases. (There are 243 immigration judges, an average of one to every 1,545 pending cases).
Nice idea, but it misses the point entirely because it doesn’t address the problem. More judges may slightly alleviate the supply side of illegal immigration, but does nothing to cut demand. Until we get serious about reforming a broken immigration system, which neither party has any interest in doing, things will only deteriorate, and more people will attempt to cross the order for the perceived amnesty, further escalating tensions.
Here are some common-sense solutions that would provide compassion to people who yearn for the better life America provides:
1. Build the border wall. This is the single most important step, as a formidable barrier will instantly send the message that America has gotten serious about stopping border crossings. Labor costs could be controlled by utilizing non-violent prisoners and illegal immigrants. And foreign aid should cease to any nation that encourages illegal immigration, and that refuses to accept their citizens whom we deport.
A secure border wall would also cut down the “supply” side of drug traffickers and terrorists. Protecting our children and eliminating al-Qaida’s free pass (possibly with a nuclear weapon) should be top priorities. For proof of effectiveness, look at Israel’s wall. Walls work. Build it.
2. There is no need to militarize the border, as the smart utilization of current resources would be more than adequate. The southern border is 2,000 miles long. As of 2012, there were over 21,000 Border Patrol agents. Even if we take 3,000 agents out of the equation (more than enough to patrol Florida’s shores and those sneaky Canucks), that leaves nine agents per mile, which is an extraordinarily high staffing level.
3. America is the most generous nation on earth regarding legal immigration, and immigrants have always made it stronger. But the emphasis must be on entering the country legally.
One cost-effective way to cut down on undocumented workers is mandating that employers utilize the free E-Verify system, which quickly determines the legal status of a potential hire. Companies that do not comply should face stiff penalties. Stringent law enforcement would also help eliminate lavish public benefits enjoyed by illegal immigrants, the mammoth costs of which are borne by taxpayers.
4. We must place partisan politics aside and reasonably deal with illegals already here. Failure to do so will only exacerbate an already bad situation.
Issue long-term or lifetime work visas (after one passes a criminal background check), levy fines, and permanently deny citizenship. The now-legal immigrants would begin paying their “fair share,” and lessen the financial burden on U.S. citizens.
That’s not amnesty. It penalizes lawbreakers, documents millions (bringing them out of the shadowy underworld) and makes them, and Americans, safer. It would increase tax revenue and make formerly illegal workers pay into benefits programs.
Solving America’s illegal immigration crisis amicably and reasonably, while protecting the most vulnerable of any society — the children — can be summed up by the quote, “the solutions are simple; they’re just not easy.”
Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.
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