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The Thorny Question of Teen Immigration

Juan Osuna at the Senate hearing July 9 regarding the southern border
Juan Osuna at the Senate hearing July 9 regarding the southern border
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

On the one hand, we have the Statue of Liberty with her arm stretched forward, beckoning all to come to her. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Millions of Americans can trace their ancestry to Ellis Island, the famous immigrant processing center that allowed people to leave the hardships and political unrest of their homeland and come to where the promised land was, a bright and shining land unlike any other, filled with opportunities as far as the eye could see. Was life easy? Never, but still they came.

On the other hand, we have protesters meeting the buses in Murrieta, California. They object to the waves of Central Americans, many of whom are women and children seeking safety from the terrible places from which they flee.

How many of these protesters can trace their lineage to a boat or a plane that crossed the Atlantic and allowed their ancestors to start a new life? How quickly we forget what America was supposed to offer.

Is it the fault of these tens of thousands of immigrants that they are following what millions have done before? Why is it that we are so slow to act and process applications for them so they can be here, legally, as others have done for decades? The president has chosen to go fundraising, instead of meeting the challenge. The White House stance is to try to work out solutions with the other nations from where the immigrants are coming. While this is all fine and good, it does not address those teens, children, and women already here.

So which America are we going to be? Are we going to set up temporary immigration centers to process these refugees and get them even six-month “green cards”? So far, the answer seems to be to put these teens and children in huge holding centers while politicians grumble and gnash their teeth. In the meantime, nothing gets done.

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