Kids are fleeing for their lives. Democrats are proposing intelligent solutions to complex challenges. The Republicans are playing politics.
A powerful NBC News story, “‘My dream is to meet my dad’: They crossed the border alone to reunite with parents,” interviews kids who just arrived in America:
“‘Have you been scared?’
‘Because I miss my mom. I’ve never been away from her.’
Justin, 10, has been in the U.S. for half an hour. He is sitting in a parking lot with 10 other unaccompanied minors…Justin says he made the trip alone, without relatives, but traveled with three men he met during the journey…
In his pocket, Justin carries a slip of paper with the phone number of his father, who lives on the East Coast. He also knows it by heart and can recite it without thinking.”
Michelle [17 years old] crossed the border at sunset. She joined a group of 10 migrants who entered through the Mission, Texas, area. She keeps a wooden crucifix around her neck, and carries a plastic bag with a toothbrush and warm clothes.
‘You cannot live in my country. There is a lot of crime. I want a future for myself,’ she said, taking in the fact that she’s in the U.S. Despite her youth, she made the trek alone, walking or taking buses.”
In a New York Times op-ed, Rep. Veronica Escobar from El Paso writes, Solving the Migrant Crisis Means Going Beyond Our Border. She writes:
“Americans must finally acknowledge that the real crisis is not at the border but outside it, and that until we address that crisis, this flow of vulnerable people seeking help at our doorstep will not end anytime soon.
Presidents’ words are a minor factor in migrants’ decisions to leave their homeland. Overwhelmingly and consistently, Central American refugees tell stories of fleeing violence, persecution, food insecurity and calamitous economic conditions in their countries. Back-to-back hurricanes and storms that have made it impossible to rebuild are new motivations to go north.
…We must stop treating vulnerable children and families like a national security threat … If we continue to ignore the facts and use the same failed approaches of the past, we shouldn’t be surprised when we have the same conversations every year. The Biden administration is willing to try new approaches and focus on solutions; it wants to restore order and humanity once and for all. It deserves a chance.”
Meanwhile, Republicans play politics. As the Wall Street Journal reported today:
“Republican hopefuls around the country are emphasizing immigration in their initial campaign pitches for 2022 statewide GOP primaries, concluding that voters still loyal to former President Donald Trump’s agenda will embrace tough-on-borders candidates.
With Mr. Trump’s chief immigration adviser, Stephen Miller, on hand, Rep. Mo Brooks on Monday formally announced his bid for Alabama’s open Senate seat in 2022 by pitching himself as the Republican most committed to the former president’s ideals—including his tough immigration policies.
‘I have the number one border-security record in the United States Congress for the last decade,’ Mr. Brooks said in an interview. ‘Democrats are so badly mishandling border security, it just enhances my prospects of prevailing in the election.’”
The fact is that Stephen Miller is counseling Republicans to run on immigration in 2022 should come with a warning label. He did the same in 2018 and 2020. Republicans lost both elections.
Today on the Senate floor, a parade of Republicans will take to the floor to insist on Stephen Miller-inspired cruelty. Fortunately, Democrats will object and then get back to work on viable solutions.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
As children throw themselves on the mercy of America and Democrats propose humane and orderly solutions, Republicans are blaming Biden and recommending cruelty.
The policy choices are clear: we should protect kids who are fleeing for their lives rather than sending them back to the violence they fled; and we should work on a regional solution that reduces the need to migrate while taking pressure off the border with enhanced legal immigration pathways.
The political choice is clear, too: we should fix our broken immigration system with a combination of measures rather than playing politics aimed at scoring points.