Talk about a disaster. Have you seen the headlines about the absolute mess that's happening at the border in Texas right now? Essentially, rumors have surged in Central America that women and children get a free pass into the United States.
That's led to more than 50,000 unaccompanied minors, mainly from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, flooding the border since last October. There's always a steady trickle of illegal immigrants coming into the country, but this is an outright flood, and for good reason. Honduras is the murder capital of the world, and the other two countries aren't far behind. Central America is a dangerous place, y'all.
So basically we have tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children being held in various centers until they can be properly deported. What the heck is happening?
Here are seven things you need to know about the immigration problem at the border.
Why now? In 2012, the Obama administration decided to "stop deporting young illegal immigrants who entered the United States as children if they meet certain requirements." Agree with that or not, the information is being misreported in Central America, where rumors run rampant that women and children get a "free pass" into the states.
Combine an uptick in crime in that area with the "promise" of a new life in the greatest country in the world, and it seems like a no-brainer. Plus, we're not really deporting very many people at the moment, so the risk is totally worth it when you feel like you have nothing to lose.
What happens to the children? It's unclear. David Gregory tried to nail down an answer from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday, but since he's a politician, it didn't work.
Once upon a time, people caught sneaking across the border -- men, women, and children alike -- were sent back. Now there's a whole deportation process, which takes time and, you guessed it, government funding.
Why can't they just apply for citizenship? Because our system is seriously messed up. Meanwhile, they're not even allowed to apply for a green card because they're in the country illegally. So they'd have to leave, and then there'd be no guarantee they'd get back, so why do that?
Can't we just give these kids amnesty and solve the immigration bureaucracy nightmare later? This is sticky. Very, very sticky. No one wants these kids to suffer. No one wants to send them back to their crime-infested home countries. But what happens around the world when word gets out that just anyone can come to America? We can't be the savior of the world, as much as our hearts would like to allow us to.
Can President Obama do anything to help? As the Washington Post put it, "Without Congress, Obama’s options are limited. Like making small repairs on a totaled vehicle, he’s left tinkering around the edges of a broken system so long as Congress remains deadlocked."
The best thing the President could probably do at the moment would be to put pressure on federal agencies to loosen the rules to lawfully hire documented workers from outside the U.S. If it wasn't next to impossible to hire someone legally from outside the country, we might not have so many undocumented immigrants.
Once we get this mess figured out, will the border problem be solved? Not even close. Like it or not, we need border security. Not necessarily to keep people who want to work and live here out, but more to keep the drug dealers and human traffickers out.
My friends and I really disagree on this issue -- how can we find common ground? It's hard, peeps. When you have an issue as gray as this one, when it involves human rights and children and the universal desire to help others, it's just dang hard to see eye-to-eye politically. One thing I think we can all agree on, no matter how different our "solutions" might be, is this -- it sucks to be those kids.
Can you imagine leaving the only home you've ever known, traveling a thousand miles or more to the land of opportunity you've only heard about like a fairy tale, just to be detained and told you'll likely be deported?
Right or wrong, whether we should let them in or send them back, however we can fix our nightmare immigration problems -- these kids are getting caught in the crossfire of a political game that no one is winning, and it's just a tragic situation.
At least I hope we can all agree on that.
What do you think we should do with these kids stuck at the border?
Image via Brian Gaid/Flickr