Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Denver Post: Compassion and strength at the U.S. border
The Denver Post
First Published Jul 09 2014 11:03 am • Last Updated Jul 09 2014 11:03 am

The images of children who have crossed into the U.S. illegally are heart-rending portraits of desperation.

Yet, they also are vividly illustrative of how a well-intentioned law can result in an unintended dilemma.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

President Obama announced Tuesday he is seeking $3.7 billion to deal with what he appropriately calls a humanitarian crisis. But the president also must buck the left wing of his party and seek changes to speed up and ease deportations.

One should not come without the other.

The approximately 50,000 unaccompanied minors who have been caught this year illegally crossing the U.S. southern border are doing so for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the protection offered by a 2008 law.

Passed by unanimous consent in both chambers of Congress and signed by then-President George W. Bush, it was intended to address child victims of sex trafficking. The law laid out exactly how such children were to be treated, and how they might seek asylum. The process, which could include hearings before immigration courts, often takes years.

The full story behind the wave of kids seeking protection under a law enacted five years ago is a matter of debate, but surely violence and poverty in their home countries are contributing factors.

And we have no small amount of sympathy for them. Some of the money the president has requested will be used to ensure humane treatment of detainees, and we’re glad to see that.

However, policymakers should not allow the improper use of the 2008 law to substitute for comprehensive immigration reform addressing these children and others who want to come here. This situation is a stark example as to why change is needed.

In the meantime, lawmakers should pass legislation streamlining the process of returning these children to their home countries as both a matter of principle and as a deterrent to others contemplating the dangerous journey.

story continues below
story continues below

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.