By Joe Guzzardi
August 18, 2014
Less than a month ago, President Obama told Central American leaders from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras that most of the children, as he misleadingly referred to them, would eventually have to go home. Not many, Obama warned, would qualify for humanitarian relief or refugee status.
But that was then and this is now. In the latest abuse of taxpayer money, the government is taking special pains to make sure that many of the youths have comfortable, if not near- luxury housing: culturally sensitive music, special meals for the lactose intolerant, phone privileges to call long distance back home, English language instruction, flat-screen TVs as well as dental and medical treatment, often the first such care of their lives. Health and Human Services’ budget for unaccompanied minors ‘care has more than doubled from $306 million last year to $671 million so far in fiscal 2014.
Special illegal immigrant shelters have popped up throughout the U.S. But even though taxpayers fund the lodging, mum’s the word to inquiring community leaders. The federal government has steadfastly refused to reveal anything to anyone about where the minors might be placed, how long they’ll remain or when, if ever, their deportation processes will begin. HHS spokesman Kenneth J. Wolfe says he’s under strict congressional orders to keep all information confidential, pursuant to the obscure 1996 Flores Settlement Agreement.
Only a very small percentage of the 63,000 total Central Americans that have arrived unlawfully this year have been deported. The majority are family units, mostly mothers with their children. One of the first flights from the U.S. back to Central American had a mere 40 passengers. In the meantime, another wave of 30,000 is expected once the summer heat passes and weather conditions for crossing are more favorable. The American Immigration Lawyers Association has, predictably, injected itself into the mix. AILA along with 190 other pro-bono organizations have petitioned President Obama to reconsider his plan, dormant though it is, to deport the Central Americans.
According to Immigration Customs and Enforcement’s Weekly Departures and Detention Report compiled by its Statistical Tracking Unit, historical ICE deportation records show a sharp, steady decline in the number of under age 18 youths removed between 2008 and 2013. The Central American deported youths have declined despite a surge in number of arriving minors. The statistics indicate that most minors are motivated to come to the U.S. based on what they perceive as their high statistical chances are to remain, and not because they’re fleeing the violence or poverty which have prevailed in Central America for decades.
The Central American influx, its slow but steady infiltration into American neighborhoods and the Obama administration’s tacit approval of the invasion has left many citizens wondering what the next erosion of U.S. sovereignty might be. Generous Americans don’t object to providing illegal immigrants with comfortable housing as long as it’s a temporary, interim step before their return.
The U.S. owes nothing to illegal immigrants except a humane trip home. Our priorities, which the administration ignores, should but don’t include the 1.6 million homeless American children, the 50 million Americans who live in poverty or our 21 million deserving military veterans.
Goals that would improve American lives have, sad to say, never been high on the White House’s radar.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been nationally syndicated since 1987. Contact him at [email protected]