Deportation vs. Asylum: What's Your Take on the Border Crisis?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Roughly 57,000 minors from Central America have crossed the border into the US since October. Some policy-makers say they should be deported as quickly as possible. Others say they should be welcomed as refugees. What do you think about the tone used by policy-makers and the status of these young immigrants?

Comments [50]

peter rosamilia from Jersey City, NJ

The crisis on the border is just another example of the Monroe Doctrine jumping up and biting us on the backside. We wanted control of the hemisphere and now we have deal with it's problems. The neglect we have shown towards Central America stands in contrast to the efforts we put forth in order to control it.

Jul. 22 2014 10:26 AM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

Thanks to Bob Ortega and his staff at the Arizona Republic for their reporting, and being one of the few news sources to offer actual historical context and ground-truthing rather than simply diving into unsubstantiated rhetoric. (Thanks Louie Gohmert.)

Listen to Mr. Ortega here:

The US, not uncommonly, is implicated in the current instability in Central American as we have meddled over the years. (Let's begin with US support of right-wing death squads in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras through Iran-Contra.)

Jul. 17 2014 05:12 PM

Just think of the possibilities, with no minimum wage rather than hiring some little Mexican person who will probably talk trash about you in Spanish and can't lift more than one laundry bag at a time you could hire a big strong American black guy! Or even better you could find the descendants of once proud European steel workers or cowboys and force them to do your petty chores around the house! You just have to have a little imagination and suddenly dominating little brown people just isn't as satisfying anymore! Go big, peonize American citizens instead!

Jul. 17 2014 04:54 PM

Why don't we just cancel the minimum wage, then you guys won't have to important servants anymore, you can just employ poor Americans for 50 dollars a day instead. Problem solved.

Jul. 17 2014 04:35 PM
Colin from Brooklyn

@Kim from NJ, what you said about these children from Central America is exactly what was said about immigrants from Italy, Ireland and Eastern Europe.

Jul. 17 2014 03:48 PM
Kim from NJ

They are fleeing violence?? OK. They will be violent themselves. They have learned how to deal with situations by using violence.They cut peoples heads off in Mexico!!! They are putting these kids from very rural areas in public school with our kids. I am sure MS13 is thrilled to have so many new recruits. They are already making so much money smuggling these "kids" over the border. America is done.

Jul. 17 2014 03:15 PM
Laila Poje from New York

Although not relevant to the discussion today, it seems that Mr. Lehrer could not help but insert some "asides" which just confirm, if not well known already, his ideology. Now he thinks Iran and Hamas are an "existential threat" to America? Have I got it wrong? He also announced a discussion about the relationship between Hamas and Israel for tomorrow. I am not hopeful that the discussion will be factual and unbiased. I am also wondering why Mr. Lehrer, who interviews authors about their books all the time, has yet to invite Mr. Miko Peled to his show. I believe it is because he does not want to hear what Mr. Peled has to say and more important, he does not want his listeners to hear it. Thank you

Jul. 17 2014 01:45 PM
Ed from Larchmont

Also it's an existential threat - not only because of too many people to check for diseases - but while the authorities are working with children people from the Middle East can cross over into the U.S.

Jul. 17 2014 12:50 PM
roseellen from jackson heights

About Syrian children I heard on the media both US government officials and "humanitarian" workers state with unequivocal conviction that until a child is vaccinated he /she cannot leave Syria. Doesn't matter the bombs falling on them. the torture prisons Assad employs, the chemical weapons he uses, the food shortages, nothing. So some children no matter their plight, are expendable and some not.[let Allah sort it out our politicians say and the people agree]. It's all political.
The sudden crisis of Central American children at the border is the result of a deliberate policy to Hispanicize the US. Show us masses of suffering children coming over the border at once, and of course as humans we want and have to help. Both left and right now feel a moral obligation not only to help these children but to help the Central Americans countries with their economic/social problems. Hence billions going to this purpose. The result is that one day these right wing central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras will become US territories. THAT is the long term intent of la Raza ,now active in media, government and at policy levels. This crisis of children at the border paves the way for a natural and accepted unfolding of that goal.

Jul. 17 2014 12:27 PM

Oh come on. The only ones making those claims are the same politicos selling us a multitude of false bills of goods. That is not an argument for insanity. We have segments on this very program about pollution, resource exhaustion, lack of jobs, scarce housing, gang problems, collapse of social safety nets, lack of educational resources, blah, blah, week after week, but somehow having 10's of millions of uneducated, un-vaccinated, and nameless poor flood the country does not pose a problem? At the very least, the fact that we have no histories of who these people are when they enter and disappear into the ether in the world we live in doesn't concern you?

Jul. 17 2014 12:03 PM
Abel from Brooklyn

We can either make the claim that we are an exceptional nation because of our compassion, strength, and resources, or we can turn away thousands of desperate minors because we "can't afford to keep them here" and anyway their "problems aren't ours". The United States can't claim to be the most exemplary democratic society ever while the president is trying to sweep the problem under the rug and many congressional leaders spew vicious and hysterical rhetoric.

Jul. 17 2014 11:52 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ Inquisigal from Brooklyn


Jul. 17 2014 11:45 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ Amy from Manhattan


An example of a legit asylum application might be made, for instance, by a Shri Lankan Tamil who is being persecuted by the Sinhalese majority. He/She belongs to a social (ethnic) group and the government is arguably both unwilling and unable to protect him/her.

Jul. 17 2014 11:38 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

"Fleeing from gangs who gaurantee a death sentence" is not a good enough argument to take in these kids. This is clearly a complicated issue, due more nuance than both the extreme right and extreme left are offering. But in a country that is still very poorly taking care of its poor population, a broken mental health system, and a problematic education system, I feel vaguely uncomfortable with thrusting public funds toward anyone who is suffering circumstances similar to some of our own, legal citizens. People in my own neighborhood get pressure from gangs, and guns are still prevalent on the streets. Will those on the extreme left automatically willing to take in a wave of immigrants consider our already taxed public services and health care?

Jul. 17 2014 11:38 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Immigration law includes asylum, refugee status, & the right to a hearing to determine a person's eligibility for both. So it's illegal to just send people (of whatever age) back without a hearing. Gov't. officials who are advocating this should make sure immigration courts have enough money & judges so there isn't a backlog & people aren't waiting years to have their status determined.

Jul. 17 2014 11:37 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To IllFG

I lived in Israel for ten years and had to come back because the Left wing Jews who were in control in Israel helped Arabs more with affirmative action but could care less about Jewish immigrants from America. In fact, they rob American Jews who they believed all to be rich. Basically its like the liberals in the US today. They care more about these people knocking at the border than they do for people deep in trouble right here and now. I would go back anyway but I'm too old now and don't have the money. An apartment in Israel is more expensive than one in Manhattan because there is no room. The Arabs in the Galilee own half the private land in Israel Most people don't even know that Arabs own half the private real estate in ISrael.

Jul. 17 2014 11:35 AM
Carl from Nj from NJ

SOLUTION: Each child should declare that they are CORPORATIONS (extra points for being 'closely held). this will ensure a gold-plated welcome mat, invitations to political luncheons, tax breaks, etc. AND, complete freedom to influence elections, healthcare policies, etc.

Jul. 17 2014 11:35 AM
Atticus from Manhattan

We need to decriminalization druģs. The high profit caused by prohibition is what finances the gangs from which these kids flee.

Labrador has it upside down. They flee because they are being raped and murdered. The risks of the journey are less than the risk of staying.

And for once Rand Paul has it right, Nobody doesn't use drugs because they are illegal. Criminalization protects no one.

But it does set up the present situation.

Jul. 17 2014 11:34 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

As badly as I feel for these children, it is simply not feasible for the US (or any sovereign nation) to take in unlimited numbers of immigrants, illegal or otherwise. There must be a way for us to return them to their home countries and earmark part of our normal international aid to those countries for social services care of these children.

You know that on airplanes, when they give emergency information to passengers, they always specify that adults put on their own oxygen masks before putting oxygen masks on children in their care. That's because one is not equipped to care for others if one is not equipped to care for oneself. That applies to the US and immigrants. We have so many people who are citizens and legal residents of this country who are in dire financial straits, living on the streets and/or shelters, that we are not in a position to help so many others until we get our own house in order.

Jul. 17 2014 11:34 AM
David from Manhattan

The Republican response is so hypocritical and repulsive. So while US was in Iraq and refugees flooded into Jordan, Syria,Turkey, those poor host countries took those refugees in as much as they could. And now that we have refugees in our own country, the richest and most powerful country in the history of the world, we are pissed, upset and just can't have it. Send them right back!

Another maddening fact, the ones who are most vocal about sending the kids back, are supposedly the most religious. What happened to your Christianity?!

These drugs wars come from the drugs that feed America's insatiable appetite for drugs. America privatizes the "pleasure" of drugs, while socializing, passing the costs of drugs (the violence and destabilization) onto the poor and onto other countries. We are responsible.

Jul. 17 2014 11:31 AM
Ed from l

Someone suggested unused military bases.

Jul. 17 2014 11:30 AM
Anonymous from nowhere in Texas!

"Don't mess with Texas" My eyeball, this is nuts!! Someone down at patrol is getting paid off!

Jul. 17 2014 11:28 AM
steve from brooklyn

If I were an anti-Obama activist, I would put out the word south of the border that the U.S. is letting kids in free. This seems like a no-brainer. 57,000 kids show up in a wave, somebody is driving that. If it were simply that the war on drugs or economic trends is pushing immigration, why so many all of a sudden? Karl Rove, anyone?

Jul. 17 2014 11:28 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

THE DANGER IS THE LEGAL PRECEDENT. Is nobody listening? Even the people who want these kids to stay admit "gang violence" is the reason they're fleeing and since we know that that IS NOT a legitimate reason to seek asylum why are we dithering about sending them back?

The reason is because if these kids are allowed to stay the system will be bent and a new precedent will be established... and that precedent will be used to further loosen asylum laws which will result in a whole NEW WAVE of asylum seekers... why can't anybody see what is right in front of their face?

Jul. 17 2014 11:28 AM
Amy from Manhattan

If Central American children are being targeted on the basis of their age, could that be considered an "immutable characteristic" for legal purposes?

Jul. 17 2014 11:28 AM

If we don't send people back to their home country (to fight for a better life), who will be left to over-throw the current government and make their homeland legitimate???

Jul. 17 2014 11:27 AM

Where is US diplomatic pressure on the home countries to control this? to make sure parents understand that children are abused, raped, and die on the way to the US and will likely be sent back? If the US can't pressure the government and/or the government is incapable of handling this, then they are a failed state. Maybe the international community needs to step in - is this being addressed at the UN?

My heart breaks for the poor children who are sent on this journey, but we need to balance humanitarian and human compassion with good public policy and avoiding unintended consequences.

Jul. 17 2014 11:27 AM

Ugh. We could have accepted the entire population of Cuba back then and it wouldn't compare to a years worth of immigration today.

Jul. 17 2014 11:27 AM
Carl from NJ from New Jersey

I agree with several of the comments on the air and here on site that we need to step-up to take care of these children -- not treat them as criminals and drains on our system. As was mentioned, there are millions of refugees all over the world that are given refuge in many countries that are far less economically stable than ours. Our politicians are behaving like bullies (imprisonment & guns) and crybabies (we can't possibly pay for this, can't be responsible, etc..). Whatever happened to the attitude being a light for the world, where is the 'can do' attitude? Our efforts to 'solve' this should include doing something in Central Americas to stop the source, but we should not just blame them and hide behind legal language. It all comes down to money and ensuring that the poor/non-county-club population does not grow.

Jul. 17 2014 11:27 AM
Mark from Jersey Shore

We are completely responsible for the situation. An insatiable desire for drugs is raising the risk/reward ratio to a level where the drug trade is a completely viable option. Legalize all drugs, regulate and tax them, and the profits diminish with crime rates to follow. Druggies are always going to get their fix, and it would be far cheaper to deal with addiction than what we're doing now.

Jul. 17 2014 11:27 AM

The caller acts like the majority of illegal entrants follow the law and show up to court. How many do? 1% if that. They quickly disperse, steal identities or find sanctuary cities.

Jul. 17 2014 11:26 AM

We have a political class that bends over backwards for non-constituents, while doing nothing for actual citizens. For what? To build a new base to enhance their own power? This is sickening.

Jul. 17 2014 11:22 AM

@jgarbuz from Queens - its never too late for you to go to israel, and stay there ;)

Jul. 17 2014 11:16 AM

let them all stay in texas. they have tons of space and believe that they are doing so well they should leave the union. after all, someone has to cook all the food to feed the LARGE texan, lol.

Jul. 17 2014 11:15 AM
carol from Berkeley

I don't care for the two choices of titles: refugees vs invaders but
if I had to choose I would say invaders. I am a progressive Democrat
interest in providing medical, educational, social welfare in general
for our legal citizens. If we provide all of these services to illegal
invaders which technically they are why not to the girls who are
being threatened to be raped in Africa? Why not invite them to come here?
What about the other children in the world who are living in danger?
This makes no sense.
We pay for medical, educational, therapy, lodging, food for these
young adults (not most would I call children.)
We should be paying for all of these for the unemployed in this country
who are legal.

Jul. 17 2014 11:15 AM
pliny from soho

Jews in Germany were persecuted by the government
Christians in the Arab counties are being wiped out by government policies
gays in Uganda are condemned to death by the government
these are people who deserve refugee status
not people who want a nice education
and a leg up

Jul. 17 2014 11:14 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Ilse Melamid

I was born to Holocaust survivors in a GErman DP camp right after the war, and we were waiting to go to Palestine.But I was born with health problems, and both my parents had lost their first children to the Nazis. Finally Truman let us come to America.But had there not been fighting with the Arabs ,we would have gone to Israel.

I feel bad for those kids who were sent by their parents to pull this off. But unlike the Jews in 1939 or even in 1946, they have a country. They have Nicaragua and Honduras and Guatemala. Its unfortunate those countries are in turmoil and have so much crime and terror going on, but the same is true all over the Middle East and Africa. Can the US take in every single person who is in danger in the world? Do we want to become as densely populated as Japan or China?

We should try to do more to alleviate the pressures that are stifling peace and prosperity in those countries, but the US cannot take in everyone in danger.
During WWII the US only took in 1000 Jews and kept them in Oswego. Frankly if most Jews had gone to Palestine between 1920 and 1938 there would have been no Holocaust at all.

Jul. 17 2014 11:13 AM

If the problems are so bad, if they cannot afford to raise, feed, educate , etc. their own children, why are people having children in such large numbers in these countries???

Jul. 17 2014 11:13 AM
Ana Manrique from New York City

The deportation of gang members to Central America in the 90s and 2000's is behind the flood of children coming across the border. Many of these gang members had no ties to the country of their parents, but they were armed and organized. Just researching the prison population of these countries show how dire the situation is. Central America was not ready to deal with the level of violence we were exporting. I don't hear enough about the gang deportation policy.
If I was scared that my child may have to join a gang or be killed in the most of sadistic ways, I may also chose to send my son to the US. I hope that my family will never be in that position.

Jul. 17 2014 11:12 AM
Ed from Larchmont

It's clear that we have to take care, at least for now, of the children who have come here. But it's also clear that the number of children coming here has to be stopped: in southern California half the hospitals have closed (bankrupt). And they are being sent around the country without any health testing. One rancher has counted 260 children dead on his ranch, the traffickers told them to walk north, the city was nearby, and it wasn't. They estimate 90,000 this year and 140,000 next year. (And notice that a large group taking care of these children at this moment is the Catholic Church.)

Jul. 17 2014 11:10 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

Gang violence does not a refugee make, the UNHCR is very clear on this and it is based on the 1951 Convention:

"The 1951 Convention protects refugees.It defines a refugee as a person who
is outside his or her country of nationality or habitual residence; has a
well-founded fear of being persecuted because of his or her RACE, RELIGION,
NATIONALITY, membership of a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail him—or herself of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution."

Obviously the only category that could apply to these kids is "membership in a PARTICULAR social group". But "kids" are found in EVERY social group, which is to say no group in particular.

Granting asylum to these kids is UNLAWFUL. We all know it. A recent Gallup poll shows this immigration issue to be the MOST important to the American people and they are not, obviously, in favor:

SO WHO BENEFITS? Why is Brian lehrer and nearly every other MSM source in collusion with Democratic politicians trying to create a NEW precedent for allowing illegal immigrants into the country... geee, I wonder...

Jul. 17 2014 11:10 AM
Tyrone from Bronx

At what point to you feel you'd like to check illegal immigration? At 500 million population? A billion? When rampant disease become a problem? With billions in the world, what is your limit? When we exhaust our own resources and become a 3rd world nation?

Jul. 17 2014 11:08 AM
Joe from nearby

"Existential threat"??

Puh-lease, goober Gohmert, stop being hysterical. The sky is not falling- it's just kids fleeing murderous narco-terrorists!

Jul. 17 2014 11:04 AM
ilse melamid from Manhattan

I am one of the ten thousand children saved by means of the Kindertransports from Europe in 1938 and 1939. The majority of us never saw our parents again, exterminated by the Nazis. We were shipped to England in an orderly way, with guarantee of costs to be borne by private funds. We mostly thrived and became engaged citizens of our new countries.
The immigrant children from middle America believe themselves to be refugees and we must provide for them as such.

Assessment of their eligibility to stay has to be legally and humainly determined; they should be assured of 'due process' and to carry this out it is imperitive that the President's call for adequare funding of legal personnel not be hostage to Washington gridlock.

In the meantime it is very important to keep tabs on them, not to let them get dispersed to unidentified persons and places. We should start their English language training and basic education immediately. I think there are enough NGOs who could handle this.

Jul. 17 2014 10:49 AM

So, how many Palestinian refugees will Israel be taking in?

Jul. 17 2014 10:29 AM
Nathan from Hoboken, NJ

So let me get this right - our elected leaders and their corporate overlords have made it possible for money and ideas move around without any borders (or very little) but people cannot because that is somehow a problem? This seems absolutely hypocritical to me. We should have open borders (with minimum hinderance).

After this, people need to realize that WE created this problem: deportation of criminal without any warning of their criminality to the target nation, the war on drug users and the people of other nations that make drugs, our meddling in central america in the 80's.

When you create a mess, you clean it up. These are people and elected leaders who think anything else are absouly delusional.

Jul. 17 2014 10:03 AM

I see this as just another cost of the drug war

The real humanitarian crisis is in Central America not Texas.

Jul. 17 2014 09:56 AM
JOHN from office

GOP and Tea Party solution:

IF WE DON'T FEED THEM THEY WIL SELF DEPORT!!! that is the solution!

Lets starve THEM, not house THEM, not educate THEM, then they will leave. We were all THEM once, the Jews, the Irish, the wops, the kykes, the polocks. Ben Franklin considered the German immigrants in the 1700's sub-human.

Question, if THEY leave who will fight our wars, clean our houses, wipe our butts? Brian's kids? The children of the upper westside, upper eastside?

Jul. 17 2014 09:00 AM
JB from Westchester

What bothers me so so much is that this situation is only seen as a "humanitarian crisis" AFTER these children are in America. Where is the international or Mexican or American outcry while these kids are still in Mexico facing all that is making their parents want to send them away? Clearly there is something terribly terribly wrong going on - drugs guns gangs corruption... If Americans are going to be forced to spend money to correct the results of problems in another country, perhaps we should just go ahead and spend the money IN that country.

Jul. 17 2014 08:54 AM

I think someone should organize people from Newark and Chicago to travel down to the border and claim refugee status.

Jul. 17 2014 08:38 AM

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