President Obama intends to seek more than $2 billion to assist in border control functions preventing the influx of immigrants entering the United States through the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. This aid could be considered a more difficult as recently Customs and Border Protection reviewed Use of Force in dealing with border control. the He is also seeking additional powers for the Department of Homeland Security to better deal with the growing number of children being apprehended without parents as they cross over the border. These additional functions would allow the Department of Homeland Security to fast track procedures to screen and deport immigrant children, rather than keep them in holding facilities for extended periods of time – a practice President Obama refers to as an “urgent humanitarian issue.” He is also asking for stiffer penalties for those caught smuggling these children. A letter has been penned and sent through to Congress – exact details, and hopefully a response, about these requests are expected to be explained in further detail after the July 7 recess.
The Current State of U.S. Border Control
Border Patrol in South Texas has been increasingly overwhelmed by the growing number of Central American immigrants fleeing gang violence and poverty in their home countries. These immigrants are more difficult to deport than their counterparts from Mexico, resulting in a lack of space in American holding facilities. The United States has only one family detention center (located in Pennsylvania) with another in the process of being built in New Mexico. Meanwhile over 52,000 unaccompanied minors have been apprehended since October alone. This number does not include those traveling with their families.
The GOP and Border Control
Recently, it has been written that the GOP is Losing Support from U.S. Hispanic Population. The GOP criticizes the administration’s policies, claiming that they have left the impression that they will lead to Central American women and children being allowed to stay in the United States, although the administration has made it clear that new arrivals will still be targeted for deportation. This hesitation, as well as Eric Cantor’s primary loss earlier this month, has greatly reduced the chances of major immigration reform in the coming months. Multiple major players have expressed their lack of optimism regarding the chances of a final agreement being made between the two parties.
How Border Control Effects Immigrant Children
The growing number of immigrants from Central American countries, as well as the growing number of unaccompanied children, perfectly highlights America’s great need for immigration reform. Regardless on a person’s stance on border control, holding women, children, and families in limited and increasingly cramped holding facilities is, as President Obama has stated, a “major humanitarian concern.” These children can be held for months without their families, in a country where they do not even speak the language. Even before reaching the United States, the journey itself is long and perilous; once here, their future is uncertain as they are slowly processed through the system. It is our government’s responsibility to reduce their suffering as much as possible – regardless of their citizenship status.
The Possible Future of U.S. Border Control
It is clear that change is needed. Facilities need to be expanded and updated, the process needs to be sped up and additional staffing is needed for Border Patrols and facilities. This will all cost money and require some sort of reform. It is clear that a more comprehensive reform is not imminent, and in the meantime, people are suffering. This is not an ideal solution, but definitely places a bandage over the growing problem.
Although this presidential move will serve as a short-term solution, both parties recognize the need for greater reform in the long run. On one hand, many of the women and children crossing are attempting to escape from severe gang violence, not to mention the extreme poverty of their home countries. We, as people, have a sort of moral responsibility to do what we can to help these people. On the other hand, many of the industries that immigrants normally work in (physical labor, agriculture, etc)are in great need of more workers. A more comprehensive solution would address both sides of these issues, to the greater good of the American economy and worldwide humanitarian efforts.
For additional information regarding this and other immigration reform topics, visit the blog section of this site
Beeraj Patel, Esq.
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