Controversy on the Southern Border

On Monday I was in the audience of a keynote session at the New York Public Welfare Association (NYPWA) annual summer conference in Saratoga Springs. One of the presenters stated that in the next year, the U.S. expects 90,000 children from Central American countries to cross the border to the United States to seek asylum. New York State is making foster care slots available in vacant buildings and shelters for about 900 of these children. State officials expect that many of  them will end up on the welfare rolls for childcare, food stamps and various other services and warned the counties to get prepared for the onslaught.

Elsewhere I read that in June, about 350 children a day crossed the border to give themselves up. Multiplying 350 a day for the year somewhat corroborates the 90,000 number independently.

Many politicians blame Obama for “leaving the border open.” I did some research and came up with this chart:

Border Agents
Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

This shows that there were 3,444 border patrol agents stationed along the nation’s southern border in 1993, under Clinton. There were 9,840 agents there in 2003, under Bush. And under Obama, in 2013, there were 18,611 agents.

Claiming that Obama isn’t putting the manpower on the border is simply factually wrong.

Today there were headlines that Texas Governor Rick Perry is going to deploy the National Guard to protect the border. This makes no sense to me. If desperate Central American children run away from their countries,  across Mexico, across the hostile desert, in the summer, and into the United States just to give themselves up as soon as they get here, what are men with guns going to do to keep them away – to “keep our border secure?”

In 1993, an American Marine shot and killed an American 18-year-old boy along the border for reasons not understood.

Our Border Patrol agents are trained to apprehend people, stop drug smugglers and secure the border. The U.S. Military or the National Guard are not. We have enough agents there already. This is not a “crisis” as it is made out to be.

It’s a disaster resulting from terrible conditions primarily in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, partially fomented by errant intervention policies by the U.S. government in those countries decades ago.

If we had more reasonable and workable drug policies in the U.S. and if we consumed less of the stuff, conditions in those countries would not be what they are and there would not be a flood of child refugees.

I believe that a large majority of these children will eventually become productive Americans, grateful to this country for taking them in, and committed to the Constitution of the United States for life. They will be called immigrants in a country of immigrants. Some of them will become American soldiers.

I am an immigrant and I understand what they are and how they feel.

And I am proud to be an American.

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