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.