Must Change Immigration Law

Posted on July 22, 2014

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President Obama’s first duty as he tries to cope with the crisis of migrant children from Central America is to reject the ugly displays of xenophobia around the country and follow the law.

That means resisting pressure to engage in mass deportations without giving children the benefit of due process.

Mr. Obama’s Republican critics have seized on the crisis to make the outlandish claim that his policies have encouraged the onrush of children fleeing their home countries to seek shelter here. They point to Mr. Obama’s executive order two years ago to stop deporting young people who came to this country as children with their parents and remained here even though they never adjusted their immigration status. According to some Republicans, this brought on the crisis.

There is, in fact, no credible evidence for this claim as Mr. Obama was just following the law.

What brought on this crisis is not an unilateral act by Mr. Obama, but rather adherence to the law A2008 measure signed by President George W. Bush that intended to protect the victims of human trafficking, particularly children, and that requires young migrants to receive a range of care options, and as important, access to legal services and individual legal screenings.

For the 51,000 plus youngsters who were caught entering the country illegally since last October, this process will take years. And the children will keep coming until the law is changed.

If this law needs fixing, Congress must work with the president to find a comprehensive solution to the immigration problem. Speaker of the House John Boehner, Republican, says this issue will not come up before the House this year.

It would be an injustice and a stain on this country if the only immigration bill the Congress is capable of producing is one to hurt children.

As for over 51,000 children here, they will remain in the United States because of the curren law. Over 46,000 have found homes and are waiting due process.

 

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