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Steve Lunetta: The crisis with illegal immigrant kids

Posted: July 10, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 10, 2014 2:00 a.m.

I have written in this column in the past that I support illegal immigration. This position has earned me the ire of my fellow conservatives.

I believe that we should open our doors to all immigrants, give them a green card, create a strong system for moving them from the border to areas they need to go, and remove the fear from the immigrant community.

This will cause all “honest” immigrants (which are 99.99 percent of those folks) to work with us and make the “dishonest” ones try to sneak across the border.

That will make it much easier to identify the criminals, drug runners and terrorists. Good folks will not fear us.

We will be safer, more secure, give hope to many, and enjoy the fruits of inexpensive labor.

Unfortunately, an unforeseen development has arisen. Many unaccompanied children from Central American countries are attempting to cross the border in record numbers.

The Border Patrol reports about 52,000 apprehensions have been made so far. The total may be far greater by year end.

The Florida Times-Union reports that 75 percent of the children entering are from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. They are fleeing poverty and gang influence.

The AP says that many Salvadorans are fleeing a gang called “Sombra Negra” or “Black Shadow,” which appears to be involved in the “killing of teens in gang-controlled neighborhoods.”

Central American parents are making the incredibly difficult choice to send their kids on an arduous, 1,000-mile journey through Mexico to escape the problems in their home country.

I can only imagine the anguish that these parents feel.

It appears that drug cartels are complicit in trafficking of children. As many as one-third of the girls are raped during the journey, and many wind up in the sex trade.

That is, if they reach the border at all.

Part of the problem is a law signed by George W. Bush that precludes the repatriation of children from Central American countries. This law, as many that come out of Washington, has severe unintended consequences that were not foreseen at the time of their passage.

President Obama has tried to stem the flow with statements such as “do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they’ll get sent back.

“More importantly, they may not make it.” In retrospect, this was a very odd statement.

The Obama administration knew about the coming surge in minor children crossing borders as early as January.

Reports have circulated that the Border Patrol was ordered to prepare for this surge early this year.

Border security has broken down. The Border Patrol is so overwhelmed that uniformed officers have been removed from the field to care for the children.

The cartels and criminals know this and are penetrating our borders with impunity.

What happens if one of these unopposed crossers is a terrorist? Or a team of terrorists? These people are not stupid and will gladly take advantage of the administration’s gross mismanagement of the situation.

And for our liberal friends, yes, Republicans are complicit in this mess due to the Bush repatriation legislation.

So what should we do? Short term, we must do the humanitarian thing and house/feed/protect these kids. Allow churches, synagogues, and other humanitarian groups to help.

But, ultimately, these kids must be returned to families in Central America.

Why? Simple reason. If we do not return them, we encourage more of the same behavior of parents to endanger their children by future crossings.

If parents see children returned to other families in Central America, they will realize that it is a fruitless venture and will stop doing it.

Of course, this will cause families to look hard at their own communities and ask questions of their leadership:

Why is gang violence allowed in our town?

Why is drug trafficking ignored and even encouraged? Why is our community unsafe?

This may cause positive change.

Let’s also be honest. The bad guys are taking advantage of this. The opportunity to slip in a terrorist team right now is tremendous. Drugs can flow across the border nearly unimpeded.

Criminals with long histories can walk into San Diego with impunity.

President Obama must act to protect these kids, protect future kids, protect our borders, and protect our nation.

To do otherwise is simply irresponsible.

Steve Lunetta is a resident of Santa Clarita. He can be reached at



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