Recently, there has been a rather remarkable discussion going on within the United States regarding immigration policy. This debate has achieved epic proportions, pushed the political rhetoric to a new low (seriously, calling people Nazi’s?) and led to ridiculous, childish and downright dangerous behavior. First, let’s all agree to calm down and agree that OF COURSE you should separate children from parents when people cross illegally at the southern border of the United States. I mean, what the heck are you people thinking, have you become completely unhinged and out of your mind? To an objective observer, the right course of action seems blaringly obvious. However, I will explain in detail why this is the only reasonable course of action.
So, before we dive into the meat of the subject, we need to all understand a little background. First up is really the status of immigrants that cross illegally over the border. Do the same laws and due process apply in such circumstances? While there is a legitimate Constitutional question here on whether illegal immigrants are really entitled to the same due process under the law, for the sake of this article, let’s all just assume that immigrants that cross illegally are entitled to the same rights of due process as citizens of the United States and therefore should also be subject to the same laws and treatment as United States citizens. Fair is fair, everybody gets equal treatment.
So, if everyone should be treated equally, the natural question that arises is, “How are United States parents and children treated?” Well, the short answer is that around 100,000 children of United States citizens are separated from their parents or responsible adults every year. That’s right, 100,000…which is like way more than 2,000 for those of you that are math geeks.
Professor Paul Chill of the University of Connecticut School of Law stated in a 2004 article that:
“According to statistics published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 100,000 children who were removed in 2001–more than one in three–were later found not to have been maltreated at all. And that is only the tip of the iceberg. Because definitions of maltreatment are extremely broad and substantiation standards low, it can be reasonably assumed that a significant number of other children who are found maltreated, and for whom perhaps some intervention–short of removal–is warranted, are nonetheless removed on an emergency basis.“
Now, when Mr. Chill mentions “extremely broad” and “standards low”, he is being extremely accurate. Consider the case of Debra Harrell, the working mother who was arrested for letting her 9-year-old spend summer days alone at a park crowded with families. Or the case of the widow who left four kids home alone for a few hours, only to have them taken by the state. Or perhaps that of Kim Brooks, whose nightmare began when she left her kid in the car while running a quick errand. In all of these cases, the state separated the children from their parents.
Where was the shock and dismay over these cases, and thousands others like them? Where were the cries of “Nazis!” or denying child protective services workers the right to eat at a restaurant or public shaming of said individuals? Not a peep.
So, I would submit to you that, were a parent or family to set out walking from an impoverished neighborhood in New York City bound for Texas (that’s about the same distance from Guatemala to Texas) with barely any food and water, subjecting their children to hunger, dehydration and crime that they probably wouldn’t make it out of New York state, let alone make it to Texas, before their children were ripped from their arms over cries of child endangerment.
But, let’s suppose that this family does succeed in making the arduous trek to Texas, all along the way subjecting their children to drug traffickers, local gangs, rape, murder, hunger and dehydration, and upon arriving find a local court house or other government facility and break-in, committing the offenses of trespassing and illegal breaking and entering. At this point, OF COURSE the parents would be separated from their children on the basis of child endangerment and after a potential year long stint and jail, the parents would likely be hard pressed to win back custody of their children…ever.
There would be no hue and cry over “Nazis” or stupid rhetoric and actions from anyone. Everyone would pretty much agree that those parents were irresponsible and put their children in a dangerous circumstance and had no right to continue being responsible for those children. People would pat the authorities and child protective service members on the back and say “Good job!”.
So, when you consider someone from Guatemala or other Central American country doing EXACTLY the same thing as our mythical family, OF COURSE you separate them from their children. They are putting those children in danger for crying out loud. And THAT is why what is going on today at the border is immigration idiocy.