Using the sensational terms “refugee” and “illegal immigrant” to describe the flood of unaccompanied children walking into Texas is disingenuous. It’s time to stop the dishonest discourse.
We all have empathy for the plight of the children, and adults, who have been lulled across the border with false promises. We all deplore the conditions they are fleeing. But the fact is that Guatamala, Honduras and El Salvador are no worse than probably 50 other countries around the world. Sierra Leone civil war, anyone?
Using the term “refugee” is not only legally incorrect, but also terribly misleading in conjunction with the sympathetic pleas for children fleeing bad circumstances. And use of the term “illegal immigrant” is an oxymoron and similarly misleading. Those people are simply illegal aliens under the law. To say “illegal” immigrant is to demean the effort and law-abiding dedication of immigrants who became such by following our laws and processes.
There are many ways to obtain U.S. citizenship. Here is one of my favorite.
But I digress.
Crashing a country’s sovereign border is illegal, and such person is an alien (i.e. from a foreign country), thus an illegal alien as opposed to those persons with resident alien status (which is a legal immigration status). Illegal entry does not a refugee make.
A more learned discussion on whether the UnAccompanied Children (UAC) are refugees is taken from a recent judicial source:
UAC are persons under the age of 18 who have no lawful immigration status in the United
States, and for whom there is no parent or legal guardian in the United States available to provide care and physical custody.1 UAC are not refugees despite the fact that the UAC crossing the border are often referred to as such. “Refugee” is an official, legal immigration status2 that is granted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Only Citizenship and Immigration Services can declare a UAC as a refugee or a victim of human trafficking. State courts do not have this authority.
— Memo written by Hon. Robin Sage and Hon. Dean Rucker, Jurists in Residence, Texas Supreme Court Childrens’ Commission, July 21, 2014.
We need honest debate on these matters. It is intellectually dishonest to use blatantly incorrect terms for sympathy and persuasion and attempt to justify using them because there is a worthy end. Aiding children is a worthy end. Doing so by couching them as refugees or simply undocumented aliens when they are neither, is intellectually dishonest. Crying out to help them because of the conditions they are fleeing when those same conditions, or worse, impact 100’s of millions of children worldwide who don’t happen to be right under our nose is, likewise, intellectually dishonest.
It is a problem on our border, but one that will impact the entire U.S. It appears that citizens not in border states are finally realizing that it’s their border as well. Job one should be to secure the border, not use intellectually dishonest terms and arguments to plea to our humanitarian values. We hear the administration and Progressive democrats deflect complaints about the lack of border security by responding that the problem is that the House Republicans failed to allow passage of comprehensive immigration reform. Those two issues have nothing to do with one another other than the immigration “reform” sought by the Progressives is simply amnesty. Amnesty “fixes” the border problem by legalizing the illegal entry by the 12 million here and the 50,000 plus children who have recently crashed our border. The argument is another intellectually dishonest deflection from the real issue of securing our borders.
As a side note, my hometown of Marble Falls has recently passed a resolution declaring a desire not to house UACs. KVUE video article on resolution