Mary O’Grady: A Modest Proposal for Migrant Children

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By Mary Anastasia O’Grady

Our leaders want to protect you from a dangerous journey. Listen to Hillary. Stay home.

Unaccompanied migrant children are shown at a Department of Health and Human Services facility in south Texas on June 14.

Dear Central American Parents,

It has come to our attention that it has become fashionable in your countries to export your children to the U.S. We’re not sure how many unaccompanied minors are sneaking over the U.S.-Mexico border without being detected. But we hear that the numbers of those apprehended by law enforcement have shot up in recent months.

A June 13 policy paper by Muzaffar Chishti and Faye Hipsman at The Migration Policy Institute cites Border Patrol data: In fiscal year 2011 only 16,067 minors traveling without adults were apprehended entering the country from Mexico. In 2012, the number caught illegally entering the country was 24,481 and in 2013, 38,833. Eight months of fiscal year 2014 have yielded 47,017 detentions of unaccompanied children. Most are Central American.

“If the influx continues apace—and it shows no signs of slowing—the administration predicts that by the end of the fiscal year on September 30, totals could reach 90,000,” the authors write.

We are writing to tell you to stop moving your children into our country. Don’t you know that way of thinking is so 19th and 20th century? Sure, many of our grandparents traveled as unaccompanied children from abroad with instructions to connect with relatives in this country. Their parents wanted them to have a shot at a better life. But now that we’re here, we’ve gone off that idea.

We’re happy to trade with you. Our country is the world’s largest consumer of illegal drugs, many of which come to us through Central America. We pay good money, in cash, for them.

We understand that all those billions of dollars, going into the pockets of drug dealers, build well-armed, organized-crime networks that overwhelm your elected governments and institutions. We have heard that the extortion, kidnapping and gang violence that have blossomed—as drug capos branched out into other lines of work—have made survival in your countries an iffy proposition. We read the 2011 World Bank study that found that “narco trafficking ranks as the top cause for the rising crime rates and violence levels in Central America, a reflection in part of the sheer volume of narcotics flows through the area—90 percent of U.S.-bound drugs.”

But really, there is not much we can do about it. We’ve been trying to kick our drug habits for years and it’s just too darn hard.

Our plan for the U.S. war on drugs was that it should be fought in your countries. We remember Al Capone. That was so bad for Chicago. But we can’t stomach humanitarian crises either, and we can’t bear to see one that we played such a big role in creating, now brought to our door step.

Don’t you know how dangerous it is for teenagers to go around without their parents? In our country humans are dependent children well into their 20s. We would worry, if we were you, that your offspring might not be wearing their seat belts or that they could be eating trans fats during the long trip.

Hillary Clinton told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour last week that the children “should be sent back as soon as it can be determined who responsible adults in their families are.” (Psst, Hillary: Those adults are here!)

Of course, as always, she is thinking of the children: “Just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay. . . . We don’t want to send a message that is contrary to our laws, or we’ll encourage more children to make that dangerous journey.”

See? Even Hillary thinks it’s dangerous. You, on the other hand, seem to think that the risks of growing up in drug-war-torn Central America are greater than the risks of making a run for it across Mexico. You should listen to Hillary. She always puts people before politics.

Your problem is that you elect bad leaders, not like us. Ours know how to negotiate with the Taliban. You should learn from us.

You also have to realize, as the late development economist Peter Bauer wryly observed, that the way government uses per-capita gross domestic product to measure wealth, more cows make us richer but more children make us poorer. Thus your exports make our economy look even worse than it already is.

For the record, we like children. We do not advocate a Swiftian solution. But your little crumb-snatchers are showing up here with dirty hands and faces. When they grow up they’re going to steal our children’s jobs. We’ll never bring down Obama-era unemployment rates.

The pie is only so big. That’s why President Obama wants to slice it equally for everyone. If more of you start nibbling there will be less for us. So back off.


Dedicated Opponents of People Exports from the South

P.S. Know any gardeners? The natives are so expensive and you don’t need to speak English to water a tree. Send recommendations, no questions asked.

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