Enough Blame to Go Around

The current crisis at our southern border illustrates the cause of our broken immigration system, and why there is little hope it will get any better.

Although border patrol agents had been reporting an increase in unaccompanied minors crossing into this country since 2012, there seems to be a substantial surge this year. The projected number of unaccompanied children entering the country illegally this year is over 70,000 — up from under 40,000 last year. Apprehension of these minors is also up — 90% from this time last year.

What is happening is that parents from Central America, under the impression that there is lax enforcement of immigration laws in the USA particularly in regard to children, are paying smugglers $10,000 a head to smuggle their children into the country. The increase in these crossings is not something the Border Patrol is equipped to deal with, and it has led to a situation some have called a humanitarian crisis.

Predictably, all the political characters have taken to finger-pointing and assigning blame. Republicans fault President Obama and the Democrats, saying that the lack of attention being paid to border security and lax enforcement of current immigration laws have created the circumstances leading to the crisis.

Democrats, on the other hand, point out that the Republicans in the House of Representatives have yet to take action on the immigration reform bill which passed the Senate last year.

There is a well-known tale of two quarreling neighbors who came to the town arbitrator to settle their dispute. After the first person presented his case the arbitrator stroked his beard and said, “You’re right.” The second person then presented his version of events, to which the arbitrator responded, “You’re right.”

“Huh?” said a surprised onlooker.  “You just told both parties, who disagree with each other, that they’re right!”

“You know,” the arbitrator replied, “you’re also right!”

Both the Republicans and the Democrats are right. Their inability to come to any sort of agreement on a pressing issue of our time, the broken immigration system, has led to this crisis. There is plenty of blame to go around, and both sides can share it. And unless both parties realize that they need to put solving this problem above partisan politics, we can only expect more of these crises to occur.