A humanitarian crisis unseen before at our borders is becoming more and more urgent everyday at Rio Grande Valley, TX, and other Southwest locations. And yet the GOP is arguing over numbers.
Yesterday President Obama requested an amount of $3.7 billion from Congress to help aid the 57,000 unaccompanied minors who illegally crossed the border from the Mexico side since October. They are mostly from violence-ridden Central American countries, like El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (Honduras has the world’s highest murder rate, according to the CIA World Factbook) and were mostly transported here by human traffickers.
The problem here is that our usual laws and resources cannot handle this number of illegal immigrants as current immigration law stands. It’s just like what Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate said in front of Congress yesterday, “Although we have made progress, that progress is oftentimes disrupted when we see sudden influxes of kids coming in faster than we can discharge them, and we back up.”
Now the President has asked for funds to add more judges and Border Patrol Agents, increase detention facilities, conduct more aerial surveillance, help care for the kids, and pay for programs in Central America to try to keep them from coming. This would be a good initial, and multi-pronged attempt to help these children who have suffered extreme trials and often unnameable abuses to reach here. They should not have to suffer any longer in the world’s wealthiest nation mythologized as “The Land of Immigrants.”
But the GOP is fighting against these humanitarian efforts with claims that it is too much money and would not solve the problem. I just keep hearing the phrase from the Republicans that we need to “secure the border” first, like House Majority Leader Rep. John Boenher said to reporters yesterday,
“If we don’t secure the border, nothing’s going to change. And if you look at the president’s request, it’s all more about continuing to deal with the problem”
I simply do not know what all “securing the borders” entails for the Right-wing. Should our Mexican border look like the coast of Normandy in June, 1943, before the D-Day invasion? Should we shoot at the small boats, rafts, inner tubers, and single children floating across the Rio Grande who get too close to the American shore? What does it mean?
We need to provide the aid Pres. Obama needs and cut it away from the real wasteful programs that Washington spends on, say, on a few more drones in Afghanistan.