Civil Affairs: Refugees


Thousands of children, fleeing violence and deplorable conditions in their home countries, escape their own countries and arrive at the periphery of this one. They freely turn themselves in to the proper authorities, not seeking to evade the law but rather face the direct consequences of their own action. These children are convinced that even perpetual detention is preferable to the egregious state of affairs from which they came, in Central America.

Under normal circumstances, this humanitarian crisis would be treated exactly for what it is. Resources would be spent trying to assuage the suffering of these migrants, and ensuring that they are cared for, with all their needs met. Instead, partisan squabbles have bled over into this issue, with Democrats using the opportunity to score points with pro-Immigration Reform. More seriously, the Republicans have attempted to placate Tea Party concerns by adopting a hardline stance on this topic, threatening deportations for unaccompanied refugee children and eviscerating any semblance of humanity on the matter.

This cruelty came to a head today when Governor Rick Perry announced he was deploying approximately 1000 members of the Texas National Guard to the border region. The Washington Post has the full story on this topic, including the revelation that Perry wants his State Guard to patrol the border personally, a serious dereliction of duty and usurpation of the Federal Border Patrol’s responsibility. This much did not surprise me, what surprised me was the muted reaction from many of the serious rank-and-file in the Texas Democratic establishment.

“If the federal government won’t act, Texas must and will,” Wendy Davis, a State Senator and the Democratic nominee for Governor, said. “However, we should be deploying additional deputy sheriffs to the border like local law enforcement is calling for.”

Notice that Davis did not necessarily criticize the rapid buildup at the border, a stark departure from most of her contemporaries and colleagues on the slate. State Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D-Bexar County), the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor, took a different approach.

“To strictly militarize the border won’t help us meet this unique humanitarian challenge,” Van de Putte said. Similar points of view were also echoed by State Senators Sylvia Garica (D-Harris County) and Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso County), as well as a few prominent State Representatives.

They are children. Say that again….out loud. Jockeying these poor kids around like some sort of partisan political football is not constructive, nor does it assist us in solving the obvious humanitarian crisis. Van de Putte and others get that, but evidently, Davis does not. This issue should specifically transcend whatever our simplistic policy disagreements on immigration reform and the like may be. I, for example, believe in largely open borders for all those willing to wait in line at a designated crossing and provide identification. I assume that most in politics would not take such an audacious stand on the topic, but I should share their opinion on this issue nonetheless.

It does not truly matter if you think these refugee’s adult parents, for example, should be allowed expeditious entry into this country with ease. The refugees are still figuratively knocking at our doors without shelter or the means to obtain it. It is our moral duty to absorb all such migrants.

But even humoring some of Perry or Davis’ points, what should this increased presence along the border do to assuage the humanitarian crisis in the Valley? Stand on one side of the Rio Grande with semiautomatic guns? I fail to see how one can adequately intimidate away these children, who are already freely turning themselves into the authorities.

This issue, perhaps more than any other domestic issue this summer, deserves a brave response from our political leaders, not muted and impotent replies. This is not mundane policy, these are people’s lives.

Brains & Eggs and Dos Centavos have more.


One thought on “Civil Affairs: Refugees

  1. Empty platitudes from someone who has never spent a night at a ‘free’ hospital watching American children and veterans and the mentally ill wait for care that will never arrive, stood in line for a bus so you could start the first leg of a 2.5 hour journey of transfers to get to your job and then turn around and begin the 2.5 journey of transfers to get home, worked in any aspect of juvenile justice, spend any time with abused children at any level (in their homes, in the juvenile justice system, or in the prison system which is where they end up), gone and viewed the ‘educational’ system in any middle to lower range American public school, spend time in a primarily welfare-paid-for housing project, done a ride-along with police dealing with domestic violence and its direct impact on children, etc., etc. etc.

    We are at a breaking point in America where the promise can’t even begin to be delivered and the people are tired of ‘hope and change’ because even the most unintelligent can see through the smoke and mirrors and the emperors are just naked clowns. MILLIONS of children are dying in Africa and in a horrible way, India is FULL of starving and diseased babies and children dying slow wretched deaths, and worldwide murder, rape, and pure evil plaques children (the most defenseless of all humans) at rates you can’t even comprehend. And America is not immune to this plague and in addition to the lip service we pay to taking care of children we are failing the mentally ill, seniors, and veterans. We are not even close to having fulfilled promises to our own and you speak of taking care of all children as if we have done our job and have a plethora of resources to take care of others and that sir is an insult to those suffering.

    We are broke, our systems are not working, our substructure (roads, bridges, borders) are failing, our people are sick (mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) and still you people think that empty words cover a reality that should scare you. Abstract this problem and define it logically and you will see we–America–fail. We have failed. We are failing. We have a weak system, we are broke, and our leadership is hypocritical and egotistical. If you were betting on America the guys in Vegas would tell you the odds are we won’t make it.

    Real leadership means facing hard problems with real answers. But this means knowing what the problems are and most people have no clue. Like Mr. Obama, if you never worked a day in your life you don’t know what working means and what American workers face. If you have never helped out at a lower income school, like Mr. Obama, than you don’t know what students are facing and thus you cannot fix it. And you reaching out a helping hand to everyone is the ultimate in hypocrisy because we don’t have the ability to help our own or the desire and you obviously don’t know that or you wouldn’t have made that statement.

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