Following the earlier flood of children coming across our southern border earlier this year, there were a number of pundits who seemed to feel that the situation would serve as a benison for liberal immigration reform advocates. After all, who could fail to empathize with the plight of children? (As an aside, am I the only one who reads anything about this story today and feels like it was ages ago, given the deluge of other pressing stories since then?) But the situation has not gone away. The children are still here in large numbers and the government is yet to formulate a long term plan.

Most of what we’ve heard thus far involves millions of dollars for lawyers to represent them, private facilities to keep them in and public schools to enroll them for education.But how is the public feeling about it at this point? According to some of the most recent polling, not all that great.

Voters overwhelmingly reject extending legal protections to the new illegal immigrant children who surged across the U.S.-Mexico border this year, according to a new Rasmussen Reports poll released Wednesday.

Less than a third of voters say they want illegal immigrant children to be housed in their home states, and 53 percent said the children shouldn’t be allowed to attend taxpayer-supported public schools.

The Supreme Court has ruled that all children, regardless of legal status, are entitled to primary and secondary education in public schools, leaving some districts to face a surge of children with poor or nonexistent English language skills and other psychological trauma issues.

It may be easy for amnesty advocates to point to these numbers as evidence of a lack of sympathy or some form of ugly American indifference. In reality though, this is nothing more than an instinct for self preservation. This is the difficult part of the conversation, but one which the poll would indicate that a large number of Americans realize as well.

There are many, many children around the world living in difficult conditions and facing a host of dangers. It would be great if we could save them all… and the fact is that America probably does more than most other nations in the world combined to reach out through charitable work – both private and public – to help where we can. But at the same time, nobody could expect us to enact a policy where we open the door and bring all the children of the world here. The burden would simply crush us and snuff out our ability to care for any of them, to say nothing of our own.

This episode where massive numbers of children arrived gave us a taste of that scenario. When you’re talking about one or two children at a time needing a home, our hearts go out to them and we do what we can. But open borders can and will quickly exhaust not only our resources but the general good will to provide help. America can’t sustain that sort of a flood. We all know it, and it’s time that national policy reflected this sad reality.