By Printus LeBlanc
The mainstream media and the left seem to have forgotten about the border, probably because they read the polls on illegal immigration, the problem still persists. Not only does it persist, it is getting worse. Children have become the accessory of choice for human smugglers, and the left and mainstream media don’t seem to have a problem with it. Their latest tirades against the President show they will stop at nothing to import votes — even putting children in danger.
Border Patrol agents on the Mexican border are reporting on a disturbing trend. Children have become a commodity to be traded like baseball cards. Human smugglers know the loopholes in the U.S. immigration system better than Congress. The principal loophole used by the smugglers is the 1997 “Flores Agreement.” The agreement is at the center of the current debacle on the southern border.
The most glaring fallacy pushed by the left and mainstream media is that every child in federal custody was ripped from their arms of their parents. This is patently false. The vast majority of children the federal government is housing are what is known as unaccompanied minors (UAC). When the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen stated in a White House press conference of the 12,000 children in federal custody, 10,000 were UACs. Meaning parents are giving their children to human smugglers.
When someone comes into the country illegally, they are committing a crime, regardless if they have children or not. They are detained for committing the crime and begin the processing for deportation. This is where the Flores Agreement comes in. The agreement does not allow the federal government to hold children longer than 20 days. Because the process can take months, people with children are often let go immediately and told to return for a court date. Obviously, they never show, and this is known as “catch and release.”
Because the smugglers know coming across the border with children will likely get their cargo released and have started taking extraordinary measures.
What happens when any commodity becomes scarce? It becomes more valuable and people are willing to break the law to get the scarce resource. Unfortunately, the resource is children. In the first five months of 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has documented 191 fraudulent family claims. In all of 2017, there were only 46 cases, a 400 percent increase so far and it’s only July.
According to Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Raul Ortiz, the threat to the children is real, stating, “we really are concerned, especially for those tender-age children because quite often they can’t communicate that they’re not with a family member.” The asinine immigration policies of the U.S. have led to an increase in child abductions. One might think the left and mainstream media would care about that, but it doesn’t look like it.
Ortiz is right. The children are in danger and a recent event in Arizona shows the danger. Smugglers abandoned a child in the middle of the Arizona desert, leaving the 6-year-old boy to the elements and wild animals. The temperature at the time was 103 degrees. Border Patrol found the child and rendered aid. He was eventually turned over to the Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement. They saved his life.
President Trump is right about U.S. immigration laws. Current policy set by the Flores decision encourages lawlessness and reward people that kidnap children. It puts children’s lives in danger. The only reason the smuggling works is because past administrations and Congress have allowed it to continue. It is amazing the left and the mainstream media continue to push for policies regardless of the damage done, as long as they get the votes in the end.
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Printus LeBlanc is the Legislative Director at Americans for Limited Government.