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Words from Winterbilt

The problem with our Border Security

Shannon Bohrer

(10/2014) It has been widely reported that there is a large number of young people entering the United States from the Mexican border. These people are not U. S. Citizens. They are illegal/undocumented, and there has been a political storm over this. One side generally accuses the President of not enforcing the law and encouraging the children to enter the country. The other side’s general perspective is that the children are victims of crime and are looking for asylum.

Like most complex problems we have in this country, we look at one event or part of the problem, and create a simple solution that is supposed to solve it. Building a wall 20 feet high, the length of our southern border, will not keep undocumented individuals and groups from entering the country. If we built a wall around the entire country it might slow the process down, but it would not stop it. However, talking about it seems to be good for politics, depending on your positon.

A not well known documented fact: As of 2014, the Obama administration had removed over 2 million immigrants, the highest number under any president. In fact the current administration has negative numbers, meaning they are deporting more illegal immigrants than are coming in. The current estimated number of illegal immigrants in this country is between 11 and 12 million, which is estimated to be lower than when this president took office.

Even with the negative numbers, the 60,000 children crossing over our border seems – well a little strange. We think of illegal immigrants as young people (not real young) and looking for work, but not children. And 60,000 children crossing our borders – is a problem, something we should be dealing with. Just exactly what we should do and what we can do is what we should be talking about.

Why would people enter the United States illegally? The majority, historically, come for employment. If where one lives there are no jobs or menial jobs that don’t pay enough to live on, you look elsewhere. We, The United States have a long history of hiring illegals and migrants. Literally, people come to the U.S. for a better life. They can work, earn money and live. As long as employers are willing to hire undocumented workers, we will have a problem with illegal immigration. If, there were consequences for the employers who hire undocumented workers, there would be fewer illegal immigrants.

The second reason we have people entering the United States illegally – is drugs. The demand for drugs is the fuel for criminals to bring their products here. To them, it is nothing more than a business decision. If you have something to sell, illegal or not, and there is a demand for the product then you have a market. And as with jobs, if we did not have such a high demand for drugs we would not have the drug dealers crossing the border.

Both of the above cases, which is really the central history of our illegal immigrant problem, is not the current situation we face. Why are children crossing our borders? Examining the problem we find that the children primarily come from three countries: El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. When the children are interviewed, they say they are leaving their home because of war, drugs and crime. As an example, Honduras has a population of about 8.6 million people and in 2012 they had 7,172 murders. If we had the same murder rate in the U.S., we would have around 288,000 murders each year. Currently, we have about 12,000 murders each year.

So, if the conditions in these three countries are so bad, why do they all come to America? The answer is they don’t. According to the U.N., the request for asylum from the same three countries to other nations including; Belize, Nicaragua and Mexico has also increased. From 2008 to 2013, the request for asylum to other Central American counties has been about sevenfold, which is similar to our increases in numbers.

Recently, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Sheldon Adelson, three very rich men, all criticized congress for not addressing the immigration problem. The three men say that congress is at fault and that the current immigration mess is in large part due to inaction by the congress. Of course if we want to blame congress, who elected them?

Since 2000, legal immigrants entering the United States number approximately 1 million per year. Of the 1 million legal immigrants, about 600,000 are already here in an "LPR" status. An "LPR" is a lawful permanent resident, recognized by the government, or someone who is not a citizen of the United States, but who is residing in the U.S. under legally recognized documentation. Student visas, Green card holders, etc., make up the LPRs. When I first found this information I believed it was a mistake, so I went to several other sources – and found it was correct.

Currently, there are just over 37 million legal immigrants residing in the United States. With a number like 37 million, maybe the illegal immigrant problem is not a major issue. Maybe the legal immigrant situation is an issue. The current immigration process allows foreign nationals with family in the United States, persons with special or needed work skills and refugees to enter the country. The process also gives priority from countries with low immigration rates to the U.S. Maybe, I am not saying, but just maybe - congress is not doing its’ job with the immigration laws. I am not rich and I can see it.

Another perspective is that the illegal immigration issue is not a problem, but a symptom of a larger problem. Refugees around the world are estimated to be over 50 million, and that is a low estimate. With an unstable world, the refugee problem will only increase. From our perspective with our problems, how – can the United States help stabilize Central America so the illegal immigrate problem won’t exist? Then maybe we should also ask - can that be done?

The illegal immigrant children are a problem, but they are also a symptom of larger problems. If you come home one day and find water on your floor that is leaking from the second floor, would you mop up the floor or go upstairs to find and fix the leak. We, the United States, like do a lot of political mopping.

"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."
         -Albert Einstein

Read other articles by Shannon Bohrer