Using children as pawns: telling the whole truth

Democrats have a solution for illegal immigration: Abolish ICE. Representative Mark Pocan (D- Wisc.) recently introduced legislation that would abolish ICE, the US Customs and Enforcement agency; and six Democrat sponsors jumped on board. Looking at the recent protestor signs in Portland, this idea is taking off. Well, it's a novel idea. No police, no lawbreakers.

So, how did we get here? Caught between separating children from their parents or abolishing ICE? As a child therapist, I'm keenly aware of the trauma to children separated from their parents. And I don't support it.

But since the l990's, between 10,000 and 6,000 migrants, including children, have died miserable deaths along our southern border. Millions of families have separated as the parents came north to get better paid jobs and provide wealthy Americans with an abundant stream of cheap labor: nannies, landscapers, housecleaners, etc. The negative impact on children and family structure of migrating providers is well documented by academics, and many children have been abandoned entirely by fathers who started new families in America.

Prior to President Obama's "catch and release" policies, most illegal migrants were young men, who, if caught, faced incarceration until their cases were heard. But the number of children brought to the border exploded when people realized that with a child, they would be released into the interior with an appointment for a future hearing, many of which were simply ignored. In addition, these policies created business opportunities for drug gangs who moved into smuggling children, and using children to carry drugs.

So, where was public shock and moral outrage on behalf of children all these years?

To his credit, President Obama's Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson said on FOX news June 25th: "We cant have 'catch and release', and in my three years we deported and repatriated more than a million people".

Immigrant advocates and main stream media tell us that migrants are coming north because of violence in their countries. And its true that Honduras has a high murder rate, which is rapidly declining. But if safety were the primary issue, then migrants could obtain asylum in Mexico, and they wouldn't ditch their court orders, which allow them to make their asylum case in our courts. A recent UN report indicates that the overwhelming majority of migrants are not driven north by fears of violence. Most come for economic opportunity. But news coverage has latched on to the "desperately fleeing violence" narrative, which dovetails nicely with the "Trump is Hitler" meme and open border enthusiasm. Make no mistake, there are legitimate asylum claims, but we're also dealing with massive fraud, as migrants are tutored in how to game the system.

We could largely eliminate those who are simply looking for a better paid job by mandating E-verify for all employers, the electronic system for verifying work authorization. This legislation would end the jobs magnet and discourage many parents from risking their children's lives, as well as their own. But Congress won't pass it.

Although the recently defeated Republican immigration bill, Chairman Goodlatte's Securing merica's Future Act, included E-verify, along with a modest reduction in legal immigration, and legalization without citizenship for DACA recipients, House Democrats unanimously voted against it. How come? One reason: The Goodlatte bill was labeled "hardline", "draconian "right wing", "toxic" a "poison pill", and supporters were called "immigration hawks". So much for impartial journalism. How could any self respecting Dem vote for a bill with those labels? But were those labels fair? A CBS/Washington Post poll indicates that 79% of Americans want E-verify, and 86% want legalization and renewable work permits for Dreamers. Almost exactly the Goodlatte bill. Polliquin's vote reflected the public's opinion.

But Dems would rather defeat legalization for DACA recipients than support a Republican bill that would have reduced the incentives for illegal migration. Dems want the soap opera to continue.

And so we're left with Trump's bone headed efforts to discourage illegal migration by separating parents and children. Not only is it cruel, it's terrible optics for Trump, and Dems love it. But let's not mistake their outrage for anything resembling a true compassion for children.