Whenever a politician is asked about the immigration in this country, the standard reply one gets is that the system is broken.
Recently there have been several senators and representatives touring facilities on the southern border to assess the influx of immigrants, especially children, from Central America and Mexico. Even our own congressman, U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal, was there, and he characterized the situation as a crisis with respect to the way the youngsters are housed and detained.
If he is complaining about the congestion and facilities where children are kept, he should go straight to the source: the Obama and Biden administrations, which were the architects and builders of the metal cages to house the children.
Now, one wonders about what created this situation. Are these children really deciding on their own that they want to travel long distances under perilous conditions, or is this the result of the worst type of human trafficking?
This is happening at a time when our country and the entire world are fighting a war against the coronavirus. Many countries in Latin America and the world have closed their borders and taken draconian measures to curb the propagation of the deadly virus. Our own government has instituted extreme measures on our own citizens to stop the contagious spread of the virus.
But when it comes to children (without documentation nobody can ascertain their real age, and the majority claim to be 16 or 17 years old) invading the border nothing is done.
There are no protective measures to prevent those carrying the virus from entering the southern border, and thousands have already been released into the general population. In one facility, a trial test was run and out of approximately 700 children more than 100 were found carrying the virus. This percentage is about 10 times greater than that found in most countries in the world.
If one analyses the entire process from the time the youngsters leave their countries and travel around 1,000 miles to reach our southern border, one realizes that this is not a broken system. It is a well-organized and planned process.
The typical process starts with some individual or family living in our country and in most cases having entered the country illegally contacting either relatives, friends or acquaintances in a Central American country or Mexico and proposing to have children of their relatives or others sent to U.S. so that here they can benefit from free schooling, welfare, medical care, housing and other benefits.
The normal reply is “I would like to send my children, but I cannot afford the coyote fees (normally around $9,000 per head).” The person initiating the contact then assures the other party that he or she can plan with the coyote and pay the fee.
And on top of that, they will care for the children once they reach the U.S. They know that is a business for them because once the children arrive in the U.S., they are delivered to the person who sponsored them. The investment (coyote fee) will be recovered in a short time, because of all the benefits the child receives, housing, food, medical care, schooling, and other welfare benefits paid to the sponsor.
The deal is made, the coyotes are contacted; the children travel sometimes more than 1,000 miles in dangerous conditions.
The coyotes work with the different cartels and officials in the countries through which they travel to let them through and sometimes provide help. The children arrive in this country prepared with addresses of so-called relatives or sponsors and eventually are delivered to those locations.
The sponsors of the child or children then start collecting all the benefits allocated to the minors. Since the amount they collect greatly exceeds their expenses, they soon recover their investment and start generating a new income for years.
The sponsors normally repeat the cycle again with other children. Who pays for the expenses? Certainly, the U.S. taxpayers. And who suffers the most? The economy and educational system.
The additional social expenses, just in education, are tremendous. These children require instructors and translators, and their presence serves to downgrade tremendously the quality of education.
The fact that U.S. children have been away from classrooms for more than a year because of the coronavirus has created a tremendous set back on their education. It takes extra time for them to regain academic standards.
On top of that, our government is adding to the school system thousands of immigrant children, who do not speak English and often have not received rudimentary education in their home countries.
This is a major disruption of the school systems, which must accept the surge of immigrants and thus affect the future of all children in the system. Many feel that this generation will be handicapped for years. The quality of education in California, for instance, is inversely proportional to the influx and number of these children.
Just analyze the school systems that have received the largest number of children that have entered the country under illegal conditions, and you will find that they have the worst performance records in the country.
To slow down and eventually solve this problem, the government must screen the so-called sponsors and relatives which are to receive and raise the children in our country. These individuals, before receiving any child, should prove that they are financially capable to take care of the newcomers’ needs, for health issues, schooling, welfare as well as social issues.
In addition, these individuals should sign an affidavit that they are responsible for the welfare and actions of the minors for at least five years and will not apply for any public benefits. These are the same conditions which sponsors for a person legally immigrating in this country must meet. So, again one must ask if this a humanitarian issue, or is it perhaps human trafficking that is perpetuated on minors from other countries?
The author lives in Santa Barbara.