(Editorial / The Daily News – Thursday, July 17, 2014)
League City, Texas made The Wall Street Journal earlier this week — but not for what you might think.
In a front-page article outlining the current influx of child migrants (“Flood of Child Migrants Spurs State Backlash, July 14), The Wall Street Journal piece discussed how the federal government is scrambling to find temporary housing for thousands of children who are streaming across the Mexican border. Some communities, however, already are saying no before being asked to help relieve the current crisis.
“League City, Texas,” wrote The Wall Street Journal, “enacted an ordinance last week that prohibits local officials from cooperating with any federal requests to house undocumented immigrants in the community.”
While this may play well within the universe of political posturing, this is just the kind of thing that can come back to haunt a community.
Closed-door policies, particularly when they carry the face of children, reek of obstructionism and insensitivity. The people we know in League City, those we meet at local churches and grocery stores, do not seem to fit this definition.
Like it or not, the influx of children and young adults carries enough blame to go around to federal, state and local agencies. Immigration is one of the most appealing tenets of the United States — a place built as a beacon for those seeking a better life and future.
Yes, we have rules — and yes, the rules are being broken or circumvented by desperate families who are sending their children on dangerous and risky journeys with hopes of reaching our borders.
But, folks, this problem is now bigger than a simple immigration policy failure — this is now a full-blown humanitarian issue. These are, for God’s sake, children.
Legally, these immigrants are not treated as those from our border nations. Those illegally crossing the borders from Mexico and Canada can be returned within days — sometimes hours with minimal process. There is no legally identified or approved political crisis from which they can seek safe harbor from within our borders.
Today’s problem operates with an entirely different playbook — which we wrote, by the way. These children, rightly or wrongly, are defined differently under the laws that we created.
Seeking protection from difficult political circumstances requires a complicated and time-consuming process involving courts, temporary housing and judges. And with the volume of the current crisis, the system is going to be temporarily outstripped. The system will face huge delays in providing reasonable due process.
There is, simply put, no easy out for those wishing to “make this go away.”
Folks, this is approaching a crisis — one identified by the faces of desperate children. We, as a nation, do not want to be on the wrong end of this equation.
While we can rightly blame the federal government for failing to lead — or make any tangible reform — in the area of immigration, we cannot ignore that there are children on our doorstep.
Let’s put politics aside and find a way to take care of these children. The world and our maker are watching.
• Leonard Woolsey