Unaccompanied Children

People have been asking how I feel about the flood of children coming across the border from Central America and the Governor’s offer to house some of them in Massachusetts.

Clearly, it’s a tragedy that so many children would be feel the need to run away from desperate home conditions to a strange land. Homeland Security’s FAQ document on the issue offers this explanation for the influx:

Several reasons contribute to the dramatic increase in children crossing alone, including poor economic conditions, violence in their home countries, in addition to the desire to be reunited with their families in the United States.

Morally, we absolutely have to take care of children who are here, but the surge of unaccompanied children raises deep concern, perhaps about our immigration policies, but more broadly about the stability of our hemisphere. The pressures creating this flow of children may get much more intense as the equatorial countries experience global warming.

As to Governor Patrick’s proposal to shelter some of these children in Massachusetts, the administration has stated that the costs of caring for the children will be borne by the federal government. In other words, bringing them here doesn’t increase the costs to us as taxpayers, since they are, under federal law, going to be cared for somewhere at our expense while their petitions for asylum are heard. The problem is not the Governor is bringing them here — in that respect, we are only doing our share by offering some local space.

This is not an issue that I am likely to be able to influence much as a state legislator, but I would certainly welcome people’s further perspectives as comments on this post.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

7 replies on “Unaccompanied Children”

  1. Mr. Brownsberger this statement above is a load of CRAP! The reason these “children” (and most are not what I would consider children as they are 15 and above) are not fleeing their homeland because of persecution. They are coming here because the DEMOCRATIC PARTY (by virtue of Barrack Hussein Obama) has communicated to them, “if you come you will not be sent back”. Many of these “kids” are gang members and are sworn to work for the drug cartels. Others are here to seek to get on our welfare roles.

    The BS that the democrats have been slinging about compassion is just that … BS!

    The Feds may (and I use that term lightly) pay while these kids are on a base. But these kids will be released into the population at some time. When they are released les than 10% of them ever show up for their hearings. WE THE PEOPLE OF MA will have to foot the bill for welfare, social services, education expenses etc.

    I am are glistered democrat, I swear if this happens I will work hard to see that every democrat is run out of office in this state!

    It is way past time that you people in government realize that you work for us! WE DO NOT WORK FOR YOU!

    Take heed Mr. Brownsberger!

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for bringing this up, Will. Please don’t mind the unhinged rant posted by “robert chandler”: he does not speak for me nor does he speak, I suspect, for anyone sane.

    For the sake of having a decent conversation, I will add my two cents:

    I was proud that our governor made the offer to help the children. To me, America is a nation of immigrants, as my grandparents once were. And if anyone deserves protection, it’s most definitely the children who are fleeing persecution at home.

    Although this is a national issue, and you are right that there is probably not much influence you have over it, but I think one thing that can be done is oversight: to make sure that the conditions are healthy and reasonable for the children, that we are not putting them in harm’s way while ostensibly keeping them safe.

    Immigration policy in this country is awful and needs reform. But again, that’s a different level of government that needs to shape up and face the facts.

  3. Thanks, Matt, I see it along the same line you do. But Robert Chandler is a constituent and among many who are contacting me to express sentiments along the opposite line.

    I think we’ll gain more perspective on who these really kids are after we go through the hearing process as required by federal law (and that is why we need to accommodate them for a period). Right now, our information is not good and we are characterizing them and their reasons for entering the country very much based on our own assumptions.

  4. Will,
    The vitriol of the first commenter notwithstanding, I suspect the majority of your constituents view the Governor’s offer for what it is: a morally sound, albeit politically risky decision. In other words: leadership. I also am confident that, no matter their views on this issue, the vast majority of your constituents favor a civil, reasoned discussion rather than a shouting match.

  5. Dear Will,

    This is a very difficult decision to make simply because of the precedent setting. Also how many are too much or too little? Of course we cannot turn our backs to these children but I would strongly advocate for a serious vetting process of any child coming here.

  6. Whatever the magic number of children we decide to allow into this country from Honduras, say 7,000, won’t stop number 7,001 through number 27,005 from coming as well.

    Our foot in the door policy is flawed.

    To escape the violence in Boston you don’t have to move to Nebraska. And to escape the violence in Honduras, you don’t need to come to Massachusetts.

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