New solution to border crisis: Send U.S. officials to Honduras to give kids refugee status?
posted at 5:21 pm on July 24, 2014 by Allahpundit
A foolproof plan to ease pressure on the border that’s currently being considered by the White House. Why force kids to make a dangerous trip through Mexico only to end up as illegal immigrants in the United States when we could go to them, grant them legal status, and send them north to America ourselves? It’s so crazy it just. might. work.
Minor footnote: Federal law doesn’t allow refugee status to be granted for fear of street gangs, only for fear of racial/religious/political persecution, but oh well. Legal details never stopped Obama before.
If approved, the plan would direct the government to screen thousands of children and youths in Honduras to see if they can enter the United States as refugees or on emergency humanitarian grounds. It would be the first American refugee effort in a nation reachable by land to the United States, the White House said, putting the violence in Honduras on the level of humanitarian emergencies in Haiti and Vietnam, where such programs have been conducted in the past amid war and major crises…
The proposal, prepared by several federal agencies, says the pilot program under consideration would cost up to $47 million over two years, assuming 5,000 applied and about 1,750 people were accepted. If successful, it would be adopted in Guatemala and El Salvador as well…
Children would be interviewed by American immigration employees trained to deal with minors, and a resettlement center would be set up in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, with assistance from international organizations like the International Organization for Migration…
[T]he draft proposal suggested that 35 to 50 percent of the applicants in Honduras could be considered for relief, a figure the White House said was inflated. The early draft, the White House said, was the most generous and least likely of the options the administration is considering. How many people are accepted is critical, because refugees qualify for public assistance upon arrival in the United States.
The theory, I guess, is that illegal immigration will be reduced if you move the “permiso” to the migrants’ own country. Convince them that they have a chance of being given safe passage to the U.S. and they’ll stay put and take their chances with the refugee system. Or will they? How many times would the average parent and child accept being either wait-listed or denied refugee status before they said “screw it” and went north to the U.S. anyway? Twice, maybe? Nearly everyone who applies and is rejected will immigrate illegally to the U.S., I assume. The demand is there, there’s a supply of coyotes willing to bring them north — QED. Meanwhile, once word gets out that the Americans are willing to take some kids from Honduras on humanitarian grounds, other would-be illegals will naturally assume that the feds will be more lenient with them if they decide to come north and enter the U.S. without a “permiso.” Remember, one of the apparent causes of the border crisis is a misunderstanding in Central America involving DACA: When the feds extended the program in June of this year for DREAMers who were already here and already enrolled in the program, some migrants apparently took that to mean that newly arrived DREAMers would also be allowed to enroll. There’s lots of misinformation out there about U.S. immigration law, much of it no doubt spread by traffickers who want to drum up business. If this plan is adopted, we’re essentially going to be advertising in Honduras that, yes, permisos are now available right in your own backyard. How’s that likely to work out in a country that poorly understands our law and that’s already a hotbed of illegal immigration?
The next step, logically, should be to expand this policy to places like Iraq and Syria where there really are lots of refugees as that term is traditionally understood, but since Iraqis and Syrians lack the sort of massive political constituency in the U.S. that Latino voters represent for Central Americans, I assume they’ll be SOL. Or do I assume too much? The Honduras proposal is really the logical endgame of hard-left support for amnesty: If you want to start absorbing foreign populations, it’s silly and even mean to force them to make difficult journeys north and then play hide and seek with the Border Patrol to earn their prize. Why not go to where they are and start handing out visas and bus tickets? If Obama tries this idea, the pressure on him to expand the number of visas granted annually from 1,750 to many times that number will be instant and intense, precisely because this is a game of mass population absorption, not token gestures to a handful of the local citizens. In fact, this may even be the beginning of a new Orwellian transformation in the terminology used for this subject. First it was “aliens,” then it became “illegal immigrants,” then it became “undocumented immigrants” (or “undocumented Americans” for true Newspeak devotees), and maybe now we’ll see a concerted movement to dub all illegals “refugees,” even if they don’t qualify by law. It’s a short progressive leap from handing out asylum to people fleeing general street violence to fleeing “economic violence” or whatever. Why not them too? Why not everyone?