Alright, so apparently it took tens of thousands of kids showing up all alone in our country, having traveled thousands of miles through incredible obstacles to get us to collectively pay attention to immigration policy for more than 5 minutes. There’s screaming on both sides: they’re kids, many of them little, and they need our protection; they’re here illegally and we need to send them back to their [incredibly impoverished and unsafe] homes as quickly as possible before they bring crime and disease for crying out loud, due process be damned.
Let’s be clear on this. Immigration policy is broken. Further, our current system for asylum and naturalization is so complicated that any solution that does not involve radical simplification is no solution at all. That simplification needs to include a reduced amount of paperwork, written in a way that it can be filled out in some cases without the help of expensive lawyers. That simplification needs to eliminate limits on the numbers of immigrants that can come from specific regions and get work permits — unrealistically low limits that even the Senate knows need to go. Maybe it doesn’t need to be so simple that a little kid can navigate the system, but certainly an adult who knows how to read should be able to get started.
Of course that’s only one piece of the puzzle — the part the most helps the kids right now. In the long term, we as a nation have to stop doing things that increase poverty and gang violence in Central and South America. That will make it safer for other children to stay in their homelands with their families rather than come thousands of miles to a strange land that only offers the faintest hope of a better life.
We also need to remember that children aren’t the only ones who illegally come to the United States because no matter how bad conditions are here, it’s better than at home. Conditions are bad here for undocumented immigrants because the byzantine rules for work permits means they work in low wage, low skill, long hours, sometimes blatantly illegal, non-existent protections for workers jobs — the so-called “Jobs Americans Won’t Do [because we foolishly want minimum wage and a safe workplace]”. The employers who exploit these willing workers (and put law abiding businesses at a competitive disadvantage) must face consequences: fines, inspections, jail for the people who sign off on breaking the law.
This is not a complete solution. However, it’s how we “stop digging the hole” we’re trapped in.
In Closing: “The beatings will continue until morale improves”; the latest attempts to undermine your privacy (and indeed, your access) online, and bonus NSA links; the rich get richer and the poor get poorer yet again; “This isn’t about your health. It’s about control.”; great, because it turns out we’re gonna need some new bridges soon! (I saw a picture of the set-up last week and it’s truly impressive); and Remember Come November. Oh, and vote in the damned primaries so we at least have decent candidates!