I wanted to draw your attention to an editorial at the Christian Science Monitor on the sharp increase in the number of unaccompanied minors coming into the United States across the Mexican border:
Some observers suggest that the US has earned a reputation in Latin American countries for being “soft” on undocumented women and children, a policy, they say, that only encourages more of them to cross the border. Some of the children are being allowed to join family members already in the US legally. Others are being passed along to private aid organizations for temporary shelter.
Politicians in both US political parties, as well as private aid agencies, wonder how the US will be able to afford to care for such an influx of vulnerable children and, in some cases, their mothers. The cost of dealing with children entering the US illegally is expected to rise to $2 billion in 2015, up from $868 million in 2014, the Obama administration estimates.
It is in the nature of Americans – as well as in American self-interest – to want to help improve, through aid and diplomacy, the economic and political situations south of its border so that fewer desperate individuals, including children, will try to cross into the US illegally. The US can also try to put a stronger fence around its “yard” to keep unwanted immigrants and their problems outside.
But once a child is here, on the doorstep, Americans know that bringing that child inside and providing help is their only choice.
Something that has gone too long unremarked upon is that this isn’t just another American problem. Children aren’t coming from Guatemala and Honduras through 1,000 miles of Mexico by transporter beam. I do not believe such a thing could occur without Mexican acquiescence or connivance. This is a regional issue and we should be engaged in multi-lateral talks that include not just Mexico but the “donor” countries as well. Aid to assist these countries in helping the desperate people coming here would be cheaper than stemming a humanitarian disaster after it’s already arrived on our doorstep.
This is yet another example of unexpected secondary effects. There are so many to choose from! Dilatory American policy. Public musing by high officials. Confused immigration policy. The dangers of agricultural monoculture.