Muftic: Immigration crisis is a shame
July 17, 2014
The border mess of 50,000 children and families escaping violence in Central America is a matter of shame. It is shameful enough that young children are spit at by hate-faced demonstrators waiving American flags. That sets a terrible example to the rest of the world about how to deal with their own ethnic and religious conflicts and refugee crises. It is a shame, too, that the GOP is making inhumane proposals.
Clear and simple: The children should be treated as refugees, not criminals, whether they have been trafficked or were motivated to flee to the U.S. by misinformation and lack of understanding of our laws. That is the purpose of the president's request for $3.7 billion, to add more border agents to patrol and judges and staff to process, to provide humanitarian detention, and to launch a public campaign to educate Central American parents that their children will not qualify for citizenship and will face deportation.
The GOP seems determined to continue adding to the perception they are anti-Latino. Now they are quibbling over the amount and proposing changing or violating current laws by advocating putting refugees on the next plane back home. This approach is both an inhumane shame and a sham. It would deprive these children of a process that sorts out who is worthy of asylum, subjecting some to dangerous conditions at home again, opening up once again the ability of human traffickers to avoid scrutiny by destroying any ability to determine who is a victim. Making any appropriations conditioned solely on "first securing the borders" does not address the current crisis.
In 2012, 75 percent of Colorado's 480,000 registered Latinos and 70 percent nationwide, swung key states blue, including Colorado. Hispanics understood that the real culprit is the Republican-dominated House of Representatives, which has refused to pass any proposed comprehensive legislation.
Those few Hispanics and Democrats who attack the president for doing too much or too little should be careful that they do not inadvertently encourage Latinos to sit out elections. The election of more anti-immigrant GOP members to Congress in 2014 or the election of a Republican president in 2016 would just put comprehensive immigration reform on ice for years.
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