One issue dominating the news recently is the growing numbers of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S.-Mexican border. It’s an issue that brings the racism, xenophobia and hatred that dwells within the narrow conservative mind into the light of day for all to see.
If one is to believe Republican talking points, the reason that these children are seeking refuge in the United States is because President Obama has rolled out the red carpet and invited them here with promises of immediate acceptance and an expedited path to citizenship through his Dreamers initiative. This is a red herring since these children do not qualify for Dreamer status because they were not brought here from Mexico by their parents as children.
There are legal constraints placed on the administration regarding these children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador by the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protections Reauthorization Act of 2008, a law originally crafted, passed and signed in 2002 when George W. Bush was getting everything he wanted from a Republican Congress.
The law does not allow automatic deportation of persons from non-contiguous countries, they must be accorded formal deportation proceedings in an immigration court where a judge will decide whether or not they have sufficient evidence that they will be endangered by a return to their country of origin. While they are here they are to be given basics such as medical care after which they are to be placed with relatives if they have any in the U.S. or foster care if they do not have family.
The politicians and pundits on the right are well aware of these facts and rely on the lack of information on the subject by the public at large to spread their bile leading to incidents such as the assault on the buses bringing 140 of these children to a Border Patrol processing center in Murrieta, California last week.
The disinformation being disseminated from the right conveniently omits another key difference between these children and Mexicans without documentation. While the Mexican illegally crossing the border will do everything possible to avoid detection, these children and the growing number of mothers with children fleeing these Central American nations immediately upon entering the country seek out the nearest Border Patrol station and turn themselves in. They are here fleeing poverty, yes, no one will deny that, but more importantly they are fleeing the extreme violence that permeates their homelands.
What all of this boils down to is that the Obama administration is not to blame for this situation, he did not create it and he is doing the best he can to deal with it within the constraints of the law. If the right wants to assign blame they should be looking closer to home at the previous administration.
Watch a CNN report below.