Yes, the Border Crisis is Real

Children look through the wall on the US-Mexico border

Children look through the wall on the US-Mexico border
Lord knows I am not a fan of Donald Trump. Over the past two years I have written about the President’s amoral character, his proclivity for telling lies (over 8,000 of them since taking office), about his mean-spirited, un-presidential tweets and speeches, about his refusal to read briefing papers or accept input from his own intelligence agencies, and about his treatment of women. I’ve even referenced findings from two dozen psychologists who say the man has a clinical mental illness, and is unfit for office. But, as the old saying goes, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Translation? Trump might be an incompetent, misogynistic, lying man-child, but he’s right about one thing: we have a crisis at our southern border. According to the New York Times (also not a fan of Trump’s), over 76,000 illegal immigrants crossed the Mexican border in February alone, and that number is expected to grow to over one million by year’s end.

At first, Trump’s critics in Congress and the media balked at his border wall project, saying that southern border crossings were at an all-time low. But when the statistics proved otherwise, the naysayers tried a different tactic. They ignored the onslaught of illegals, and focused instead on lamenting over the immigrant children who might have been separated from their parents. Such outrage plays well to the cameras, but the problem is that criticism of Trump’s zero-tolerance policy has been exaggerated and coverage of that policy has been misleading.

Let’s go back to June of last year when CNN claimed that thousands of children had been separated from their parents after crossing the Mexican border illegally. Yet found that 83% of the people who crossed illegally were “unaccompanied minors”. The other 17% included children who came here with an adult who may not have been their parent. Of those, some were separated from their parent only if that parent had been arrested and held to await trial. Meanwhile CNN’s John Berman and other anchors told viewers that babies were being stripped away from their mothers. But CNN’s own field reporter, Diann Gallager witnessed infants being cared for by adults who had been verified as the moms and dads. Another blow to CNN’s credibility came when Gallager and her counterparts covering the other detention centers, reported that less than 7% of the children had actually been separated from someone they said was their parent. Of those, all were housed in dormitory settings where kids received six hours of schooling every day, along with daily group counseling and weekly individual counseling. Illegal immigrant children also met daily with their case worker who assisted them in re-uniting with their parent, or temporarily placing them in a loving home. In the interim, the kids were well clothed, well fed, and safe from abuse and human traffickers.

Last week, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified before Congress about the unprecedented numbers of immigrants crossing over our southern border. Said Nielsen, “Make no mistake, this chain of human misery is getting worse.” Meanwhile, Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleeman called a press conference to report that, “The system is well beyond capacity, and remains at the breaking point.”

Don’t get me wrong. If only one child has been separated from his mother, it is one too many, but until such time as they can be re-united, then those children are being cared for and protected in ways that their parents couldn’t provide back in their own homeland. The bigger problem now is how to stop the invasion of illegal immigrants into the United States, and work with our Central American neighbors to stamp out human trafficking while creating economic opportunities for those seeking a better life.

There are scores of things to criticize Donald Trump for, but his wanting more resources to protect our southern border should not be one of them. We ARE in crisis, and Congress needs to step away from the cameras, hold their collective noses, and work with Trump to solve the problem.


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