For two years, we heard all about the crisis at the border with so-called “unaccompanied minors” swarming into the country and into the welcoming arms of the Obama administration. Like the former president’s “Dreamers,” these children – many of whom were not children by any definition of the word – were supposed to be these helpless lost souls to whom the gracious United States owed mercy, care, and a stable home. Most of them were sent to live with their nearest relatives in the country, whether or not those relatives were also illegal immigrants.
Now it turns out that many of these kids were not only NOT kids, they were headed for welcoming arms, all right. The welcoming arms of the murderous gang known as MS-13. According to comments made by ICE Deputy Director Tom Homan, his department has successfully swept up 214 MS-13 gangsters into custody through an international operation. Disturbingly, though, nearly a third of those in custody were brought into the country through Obama’s “Unaccompanied Alien Children” policy.
193 illegal immigrants were among the gang members arrested, and many of them will be put on the fast track to deportation back to their home countries. Of that figure, 64 claimed to be children when the crossed the border, which allowed them access to federal aid under Obama’s policies. Not only that, they were released into the United States and, in many cases, virtually lost by the bungling federal immigration system. But since they were defined by the precious UAC category, it was really no big deal. They’re children! Or, at least, they claimed to be. Keep in mind that, under Obama, there were no screening processes in place to make sure these young men were actually under the age of 18. In many cases, of course, they weren’t.
“Definitely some UACs end up being bad people and enter the country to do bad things,” said Homan. “That’s why we asked for several policy changes in the requests we sent to the Hill.”
The Trump administration has made a point of prioritizing the prosecution and deportation of MS-13 gang members, but the problem will not truly be solved until we reform the Unaccompanied Alien Children policies that allow susceptible young men from El Salvador to stream into the country with nowhere to go but straight into the recruitment line.
In June, speaking to officials from ICE and the DOJ, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley put it bluntly: “No one takes responsibility for these children after they are placed with a sponsor,” he said. “Your agencies repeatedly pass the buck to each other. As a result, children are allowed to disappear. When these children disappear without any supervision, they are vulnerable to join dangerous gangs like MS-13.”
Lax, naïve immigration policies have gotten us into a right mess in this country, and we don’t envy the task ahead for the various agencies of the Trump administration. What we’ve seen thus far, however, has given us hope. We are, at least, no longer under the reign of a president trying to convince himself and his voters that everyone who crosses the border is bringing to America the pioneer spirit. Many of them are just bringing misery.