It’s astounding that Congress and President Barack Obama even have to question what should be done about the immigration of children from Central America across our border with Mexico.
They should be welcomed and protected — not kept in prison-like conditions until they’re deported — if we want to continue to pretend we have the moral authority to claim to be the greatest nation on Earth. This is the kind of situation where the greatest nation on Earth steps up and does what is right.
These are little boys and little girls we’re talking about. Kids who should be spending their time playing baseball and make-believe. Many times, it’s been reported, they’re making the majority of the incredibly dangerous journey from Central American to the U.S. on their own.
Obama has asked Congress for nearly $4 billion to speed up deportations. The same man who has called the influx of child migrants a “humanitarian crisis” is asking our representatives for billions of dollars to ship these children back to some of the most impoverished and violent countries in our hemisphere. Congress, despite its ceremonial foot-dragging, will likely go along with the request.
Honduras has the highest murder rate on the planet, Guatemala is also an incredibly violent place with a history of authoritarian governments and El Salvador is home to MS-13 — one of the most vicious gangs in history. Putting these children on a plane and sending them back to places like that is completely unconscionable and in total opposition to both the Christian and American values I hold dear.
Several congressmen have been quoted saying that by deporting these kids, we’ll convince them to not come back and we’ll show their countrymen that crossing our border with Mexico isn’t a free pass into the U.S. But it’s going to take a lot more than deportations and a stern lecture to convince the desperate parents of these children to keep them at home.
We cannot sit back, throw up our hands and allow anyone and everyone to cross our borders. But we can, and should, streamline our immigration process so that it’s easier to get here and stay here, no matter what the skin color or language or religion of the immigrant.
Michael Gebelein is managing editor of the Lincoln Times-News.