The Newnan Times-Herald


Solutions available for children from abroad

  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Jul. 11, 2018 - 10:37 PM

I love you, Joe Butcher, but…

It is always a pleasure to read your opinions, especially since I consider myself a friend and colleague.

However, immigration is a complex issue, and perhaps there is another way to view the parents who bring their children across the U.S. Border.

Immigration law is exceedingly complex and involves a multitude of governmental agencies. Individuals who present themselves at a U.S. Port of Entry and request asylum are not “immigrants.” Rather, they are asylum seekers and are categorized as “refugees.”

Are they abusive parents, as you pointed out? I don’t know. Their choices are to remain at home with their children and risk having them hurt or killed in the gang violence in their home country – or – risk walking through miles of treacherous desert in the hope of reaching a country that will accept them and provide a chance for a peaceful and productive life – or – be forever on the run from authorities of all countries.

It’s a Sophie’s choice. None of the options is a good one. What IS criminal is:

•Having a backlog of 700,000 asylum cases and not enough judges to hear them. My own father came through Ellis Island and was united with his sponsor within a week of landing in America. If they could do it then, why can’t we do it now?

•Paying a private company over $500 million/year to take care of the children who have been taken away from their parents. Babysitting at $500 million a year!

•Keeping children locked away in cages.

•Paying private companies to perform expedited DNA testing to determine which children go to which parents.

•Incarcerating parents hundreds or thousands of miles from their children with no visitation. Even convicted criminals get visitation.

So what is the solution to the refugee issue? First, we could fund additional judicial positions to clear the backlog. Second, we could work with Central American countries to rid them of the drug lords and gangs so their populace would stay home. Third, accept that asylum-seekers are not criminals and stop separating them from their children until their cases are heard. Fourth, encourage NGO’s to foster refugee families once they’ve been cleared to give them support as they acclimate to America.

Finally, the most important thing is to demand more of our representatives in Washington. They seem to spend more time trying to keep their jobs than actually performing their job duties. Compromise takes strength and courage, except in Washington, where it is seen as a weakness.

November is coming soon. It’s time to make a difference at the ballot box.

So, Joe, we both agree that there are criminals in this picture – you blame the parents, while I blame the politicians who are failing to deal with the reality of the situation. At least we agree on something.

After all, the start of compromise is finding that “agreement” as the first step.

Elise M. Farnham