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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

GOP Gets Tough with Refugee Children

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Brown children are coming! Brown children are coming! Run for your lives!

If we all were the decent people we claim to be, the only reaction to tens of thousands of very young, unaccompanied children flooding across our southern border to escape life-threatening violence, starvation and poverty would be to provide all the shelter and comfort we possibly could.

Because political opportunists are not nearly so decent, they’ve seized upon the humanitarian crisis to try to inflame opposition to creating more humane U.S. immigration policies that could provide millions of Latino immigrants already living and working in this country with a pathway to citizenship.

In fact, Republicans have made up a fantasy in which violence-ravaged, impoverished villagers in the mountains of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras send their children, some barely more than toddlers to early teens, on perilous, thousand-mile treks to the U.S. border because they’ve heard President Barack Obama is a softie on immigration.

We’ve seen the same refugee camps filled with children as we’re seeing at the U.S. border all around the world. They’ve always been created exactly the same way, and it bears no resemblance to Republican anti-Obama talking points.

These desperate human crises are created by people, including large numbers of parentless children, fleeing for their lives from natural disasters such as flood and drought or man-made ones of war and violence.

There are no simple solutions to these heartbreaking tragedies, but decent people agree doing nothing is unacceptable.

Yet when President Obama requested $3.7 billion for children jammed into overwhelmed border detention centers, Republicans flatly rejected it.

Republicans say they’re not going to spend a cent for these children until the border between the U.S. and Mexico is locked down airtight. In other words, until the 12th of Never.

The reason Republicans insist on closing the border first before they fix our country’s cruel immigration laws—or an urgent humanitarian crisis—is they know it can never happen.

Not even totalitarian police states have ever succeeded in totally closing their borders. Congress has begun wasting billions of dollars to try to build a high-tech fence with alarms set off by illegal gusts of wind and alien bunny rabbits.

A Republican amendment to the U.S. Senate immigration bill doubled the number of border agents to 40,000, making the border patrol larger than the FBI. Comedian Bill Maher noted agents could line up along the entire 2,000-mile border, one every 250 feet.

How would you make the border more secure than that? With 80,000 agents? 100,000? How about enough to hold hands along the entire border, shouting, “Red Rover, Red Rover, Try to Come Over”?

Even that wouldn’t do it, of course, since border agents are the same corruptible humans as prison guards everywhere who can be paid to look the other way.

 

Republicans Want to Send Kids Back to Deadly Situations

Besides, Republicans have a lot more hateful political points to make before November about the “invasion” of brown children carrying diseases, smuggling drugs and raping and pillaging America.

Not only do Republicans want these kids immediately flown back into the deadly situations from which they came, but they also want President Obama to reverse his executive action to stop deporting so-called Dreamers.

Those are bright, ambitious immigrant children who grew up in the U.S. after being brought here by families as infants or very young children. Now they want to attend college and succeed in what they consider their home country.

Republicans want to rid the country of all of this rabble to send a strong message that the U.S. is not the beacon of hope and opportunity desperate people everywhere have always been led to believe.

Ironically, the biggest obstacle preventing Republicans from sending that ugly message is a law passed overwhelmingly in 2008 under President George W. Bush, when the Republican Party contained some better people.

The law to prevent child trafficking requires that children entering the U.S. receive a legal hearing to determine whether their lives could be at risk if they were returned to where they came from.

That’s a pretty good definition of why they’re here.

The enormous number of border children are overwhelming those legal proceedings. Adding more judges, lawyers and care for children in the meantime are all part of Obama’s humanitarian request.

Fortunately, a lot of people in this country are better than Republicans. Faith communities are gathering at the border to provide whatever assistance they can.

Catholic Charities in Milwaukee has been asked to take 100 to 300 children. Similar requests have gone out across the U.S.

Many of the children have parents or relatives already in this country who could take them in. To Republicans, that would be horrible, allowing more “illegals” in our midst. To anyone who believes in family, it would be the best possible solution.

Remember when Republicans claimed to believe in strong family values? Apparently, not for brown children.