The Daily Progress published an Associated Press report that said Governor Rick Perry’s allegation that the illegal flow of children into the United States from Central America is a direct result of President Obama’s bad public relations policies. Perry’s solution seems to be to send the National Guard to the border to catch children who actually want to be caught in the first place! And why do all of these children want to be caught? Perhaps, it’s because of a federal Act approved by a bi-partisan Congress and signed into effect on Dec 23, 2008, by President George W. Bush. The Act named the “William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act” is worth reading before swallowing Mr. Perry’s accusations. This Act gave new protection to children entering America alone who were not coming from Mexico or Canada by prohibiting them from being quickly sent back to their country.
The Act required that:
(1) each child will be given an immigration hearing and allowed to consult with an advocate and perhaps have access to legal counsel;
(2) each child is to be turned over to the care of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to be placed in the least restrictive setting that is in the best interest of the child
(3) the Department of Health and Human Services must explore how to safely reunite the immigrant child with a family member if that child is to be sent back across the border.
I am waiting to hear Mr. Perry explain which of these steps he would eliminate to expedite the decision making process for each child. Determining child by child who is and is not a genuine refugee takes time.
Governor Perry’s claim that the current border problems were created just recently by the Obama Administration seem to misrepresent facts in other ways also. For example, America’s kindness to refugees is not new. It is known around the world. It’s part of who we are. Humanity was imbedded into the American fabric long before Obama came along. In fact Matthew 25:35-45 outlines how most Americans see themselves responding to world crisis. Perhaps Governor Perry should travel not to the border but to New York’s harbor to read again each word of Emma Lazarus’ sonnet which Americans chose to boldly post in New York harbor. The sonnet’s opening line, ”Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” Perhaps that is the public relations announcement that Governor Perry is now pinning on President Obama.