Month: April 2019

LaBoyteaux 2020–The Boarder, What to Do

Yesterday President Trump threatened to close the southern Boarder and has tried to leverage Congress to change our immigration laws.  Be clear that these laws have been on the books since 1951, the Immigration and Nationality Act which recognizes claims of Asylum.  Many administrations and both political parties made and carried out these laws.

What is new is the large number of refugees from Central America, specifically Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.  While large numbers of Mexican men came to the United States, some invited, in the past, we have not previously seen a refugee migration from Central America.

We are also seeing a seasonal surge in arrivals, which surely could have been foreseen, when it is possible to travel on foot through the desert.  Understanding life in the desert is part of understanding what is happening at the Boarder.

This is not a National Emergency, it is an issue that multiple administrations and Congress have addressed over many years.  The numbers are not as great as sometimes in past, but they are large numbers.

Most certainly I would have planned ahead for this situation and could have done so within existing law.  Doing what we can to improve economic conditions and public safety in these countries is a necessary step.  Cutting off the small amount of aid currently provided does not help and makes the problem worse.  Review the aid package to see it is being used correctly and see what more can be done.

At the Boarder, immediately increase the number of immigration judges to handle asylum cases.

Recognize that the people currently arriving from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are refugees from intolerable conditions in their home countries. This is not an “invasion”.  These people are desperate and mostly turning themselves in to immigration authorities on arrival but some also do not have a valid reason which is why we have immigration courts.

Allow and encourage refugees to apply for asylum at U.S. Embassies and Consulates in their home countries or in Mexico.

Not all immigrants need to be detained.  Particularly family units can be released on their own recognizance because their strong desire to make a successful asylum claim motivates showing up for a court date.

We recognize the historic humanitarian right to seek refuge from persecution.  I support a family based priority for legal immigration and recognize it has been the hard work of disadvantaged groups of immigrants who have made our country great.  I recognize the right of every person to due process.

Most certainly I could have foreseen and planned ahead for the current situation at our southern Boarder.  I would not cause great economic harm and disrupt the lives of U.S. citizens, nor Mexico, by closing the Boarder.

As I have written on this site in past, we need a secure Boarder, but cruelty is not the answer.  Leadership begins with understanding and compassion.













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