Wednesday, October 22, 2014

To solve the child immigration crisis, just give them part of California

Central American youngsters have taken Norte Americano politicos by surprise and are pouring across our border. Since they’re kids 18 and younger, it seems there’s not much we can do.

Posted on July 5, 2014 at 4:22 p.m.

Maybe we should give them a chunk of California.

At first I thought we should just give them New Mexico. I’d miss Santa Fe and the hot air balloon festival in Albuquerque. And it’d be a shame to give up the UFO museum in Roswell. But we’d probably be OK.

Losing New Mexico, though, would leave a heck of a hole in the map. It would be unattractive.

Clipping off the bottom of Texas is tempting. It’s plenty big so it should be able to spare some land. And the map would look fine if we just neatened it up a bit along Texas’ south side.

The best idea is probably to slip up along the western side of Arizona, then cut westward to the ocean and snip the bottom off of California. California is mostly a pain, anyway, so that would probably have the least public resistance.

We could declare the new area a protectorate, and bingo — the Central American teenage immigrant problem would be solved.

I’m just trying to help.

Central American youngsters have taken Norte Americano politicos by surprise and are pouring across our border. Since they’re kids 18 and younger, it seems there’s not much we can do.

By the way, I wonder how the overworked border folks know that someone is not over 18. Do these young-uns carry valid birth certificates? Or does the government employ professional age-guessers like the ones found at county fairs? I’m just asking.

We may finally have bipartisan agreement on something. Both sides of the aisle apparently agree we have a problem where a solution is almost incomprehensible.

The president is asking for money to house, ship, feed, investigate, and generally take care of this new wave of people. So far the number of new residents is 100,000 and growing.

Currently the money requested to address this situation is around $2 billion. But money is not the problem. We can always, as is our norm, print up a batch if we run out. The problem is what do we do with the money when we have it.

We need a plan. And no really good plan exists. Most kids who enter the U.S. illegally can be sent back quickly. But if an adult is not with them, and if they’re from a country that does not share our border (the term is “non-contiguous”), that’s not the case.

The road to this border disaster was paved with good intentions. The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act is a Bush-era law that was signed in 2008. Its intent was to protect kids from human trafficking.

But a part of the law dictates that children allegedly from non-contiguous countries must be treated entirely differently.

First, they must be handed over to the Department of Health and Human Services. Then they are seen by child welfare professionals. They must also be provided pro bono legal services. Home studies must be conducted to facilitate placement. And so on.

Obama said, "The problem is that under current law, once those kids come across the border, there's a system in which we're supposed to process them, take care of them, until we can send them back."

So, like I said, maybe we should give them a chunk of California.

Former Elkhart furniture store owner Richard Leib has served on planning committees in several industries. An avid auto fan, he raced in the 1972 coast-to-coast Cannonball Run. He has written on a wide range of subjects.

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