When admitting lots of immigrants isn’t the compassionate thing to do

A Central American girl lies down to get some rest at a center that provides assistance to newly arrived migrant families with children in McAllen, Texas. (AP Photo / Rebecca Blackwell)

A Central American girl lies down to get some rest at a center that provides assistance to newly arrived migrant families with children in McAllen, Texas. (AP Photo / Rebecca Blackwell)

Opponents of tighter border control often cast the debate as one about compassion: Either you’re for letting people enter our country any which way because that’s the compassionate thing to do, or you’re a jerk/bigot/misanthrope for wanting to keep them out. This argument is an actual example of an often misused phrase, “begging the question”: It starts from the unproven assumption that letting immigrants flood into our country is in their best interests. It’s compassionate because it’s compassionate.

That’s hardly the case, as a deeply troubling Senate report on the Central American children who have crossed the southern border since 2011. A six-month investigation led by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, found many of these children were taken in by human traffickers and abusive adults because of the failures of federal agencies. Portman’s report detailed only a few dozen cases. But it found such systemic issues — for instance, in more than 95 percent of cases from 2013 to 2015, according to the report, federal officials failed to meet the sponsors of child immigrants or visit the homes where they were to live before placing children — that these likely are only the tip of the iceberg. The examples it did detail are bad enough, as you can see in these summaries by the Washington Post:

“For example, one Guatemalan boy planned to live with his uncle in Virginia. But when the uncle refused to take the boy, he ended up with another sponsor, who forced him to work nearly 12 hours a day to repay a $6,500 smuggling debt, which the sponsor later increased to $10,900, the report said.

“A boy from El Salvador was released to his father even though he told a caseworker that his father had a history of beating him, including hitting him with an electrical cord. In September, the boy alerted authorities that his father was forcing him to work for little or no pay, the report said; a post-release service worker later found the boy was being kept in a basement and given little food. …

“One defendant, Aroldo Castillo-Serrano, 33, used associates to file false applications with the government agency tasked with caring for the children, and bring them to Ohio, where he kept them in squalid conditions in a trailer park and forced them to work 12-hour days, at least six days a week, for little pay. Castillo-Serrano has pleaded guilty to labor-trafficking charges and awaits sentencing in the Northern District of Ohio in Toledo.

“The FBI raided the trailer park in December 2014, rescuing the boys, but the Senate investigation says federal officials could have discovered the scheme far sooner.

“In August 2014, a child-welfare caseworker attempted to visit one of the children, who had been approved for post-release services because of reported mental-health problems, according to the report.

“The caseworker went to the address listed for the child, but the person who answered the door said the child didn’t live there, the report added. When the caseworker finally found the child’s sponsor, the sponsor blocked the caseworker from talking to the child. Instead of investigating further, the caseworker closed the child’s case file …”

These are hardly the scenarios portrayed by those who, in the name of compassion, rail against others urging caution or limits. One of the many reasons for controlling the flow of immigrants into our country is to ensure there are sufficient resources and opportunities to allow them to find the better life they seek — and not these kinds of abuses.

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26 comments
Wascatlady
Wascatlady

The title of this seems straight out of 1984 (the book).  Doublespeak!  Kill to liberate!  Freedom is confinement!

lvg
lvg

This is a bunch of over-simplistic hogwash that is typical of GOP approach on immigration. There are multiple problems that are at the root of the illegal immigration problem in the US.Cons only consider it a problem because a Democrat is President. It was George Bush who encouraged unaccompanied children from Central America to obtain sanctuary in the US with passage of immigration laws giving them due process rights if abused or in fear of gangs or drug lords. Bigger problem is foreigners on visas overstaying their visit, phony marriages to obtain green cards and anchor baby laws. Typically unaccompanied children cannot arrive as immigrants without sponsors. There are thousands of stories I can tell you about unaccompanied Jewish children let in as an act of mercy during World War II and all were cared for properly within the Jewish community. So Kyle is basically condemning George W for being a compassionate conservative with no clue what he was doing with his immigration policies.Rate of illegal immigrants has significantly decreased under Obama.

 Seehttp://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jul/20/number-of-illegals-levels-off-fewer-crossing-mexic/?page=all



xxxzzz
xxxzzz

Our politicians need to have compassion for those who hired them and pay them-American citizens.

Starik
Starik

@xxxzzz No, because many of our immigrants, with or without the proper paperwork, have founded successful small businesses.

xxxzzz
xxxzzz

@Starik @xxxzzz So politicians should NOT have compassion for American citizens?????  What's good for American citizens should be the priority of Congress and the president.

Starik
Starik

@xxxzzz @Starik Nope; American citizenship is just a status... doesn't mean much, especially since Nixon did away with the draft. No duties, entitlements. Our prisons and jails are full of American Citizens.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Yeah, with the tens of thousands of kids that have come, let's highlight a half dozen abuses and say we are against their being admitted because this has happened a few times.  By that reasoning, we should quit having DFACS enter into helping US children, because quite a few have ended up dead because DFACS placed them with foster parents who killed them! I mean, let's make them stay in the countries where they had no education, and easily could have been killed or raped, AS THE COMPASSIONATE THING TO DO! 'Cause we are trying to "help" them!


Sometimes I think you are just messing with us, Kyle.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

@Wascatlady

Wascatlady has taken in exactly zero of these poor immigrant children that she wants more of.  

Her solution is to raise someone else's taxes.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Lil_Barry_Bailout @Wascatlady No, she has just taught them, and provided needed clothes and school materials for them.  She has also marshaled additional private help  for them, and has, since retirement, volunteered her time to work with them.


BTW, I don't want "more of them."  I want them to live in a world where they don't have to flee the things happening in their own countries, and be separated from their families.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Wascatlady Did you read the part about not meeting the sponsors or visiting the homes the children would live in, in more than 95% of cases? These are just the examples they could detail. With systemic failures like that, there are bound to be more.

Starik
Starik

@Kyle_Wingfield @Wascatlady If you have a country that is a desirable place to migrate to, with plenty of available low skilled/hard work jobs that pay much more than the jobs at home, and there's no legal way to immigrate, you get courageous people immigrating anyway.  Our failed immigration system is the root of the problem.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Kyle_Wingfield @Wascatlady Many of their "sponsors" are family members who have been here a while,not legally,working hard to take care of their families,and keeping their heads down.Out of their mercy they take in nephews or children of their cousins, so the kids have a chance.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Should there be any limit on the number of immigrants we will take in?

WhiteRedOne
WhiteRedOne

'Give me your tired, your poor;

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teaming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me.

I lift my lamp beside the golden door."


The children of America are suffering because we dither and discuss. It's disgusting.

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

The argument isn't about compassion, it's about being pragmatic. There is no way we can stop it. People wanting to stop immigration by building a wall or more enforcement are living a dream and your team is the main ones pushing that hogwash.

Since your teams only solution is complete removal and stoppage of immigrants, which is impossible, then nothing gets done.

Your team is as much of the problem as anyone. If Republicans wanted more money to stop immigrants from being abused, Democrats would certainly help. The problem is that the Republican who does that would get voted out immediately...

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

If you think Republicans' only immigration proposal is complete removal, then you are pretty ignorant.

Educate yourself, and then perhaps you'll look less foolish.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

The compassionate's road to hell. 

micjag
micjag

Trump just can't lose, gotta love it. 

Starik
Starik

We need to rethink the immigration system, that's for sure. We need immigrants who have skills that will improve the USA - and that includes scientists and farm laborers. If a Mexican or Central American farm worker wants to come to the US to work it's impossible to do that legally under the current immigration laws, which haven't changed significantly since the 1960s.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

@Starik We need to educate young AMERICAN CITIZENS to be scientists, and give them the opportunity to grow in their chosen fields and careers. And not with public funding. 

Starik
Starik

@DawgDadII @Starik If you'll look around, you'll see that the people who would make the best parents produce few kids.  The worst parents tend to reproduce like rabbits. We need immigrants to continue our society, intelligent and hardworking people. Too many citizens are neither.

Caius
Caius

"...controlling the flow..."

This is the key.  And unfortunately controlling anything is not something government is any good at doing.