Night after night we are bombarded with stories on TV concerning the Southwest border, now inundated with kids, apparently fled their homes in Central America requesting entry to the United States as Refugees. Who can look at these kids without compassion? What is to come from this new exodus?
Years ago, in the 1970s, I worked as a staff researcher for the US House Joint Select Committee on Population. The Committee members and their staffs were from both sides of the aisle. Although I was hired by a Conservative Republican, I was at the apex of my über liberal period. Assigned to the Immigration task force, I argued with everyone, especially my big boss, whose name I won’t drop, but he is one of the leading experts on Immigration. Like me, he was a Demographer, however, while my Master’s degree came from Georgetown, he was a Rhodes scholar.
One evening, and I can’t remember how it happened, he and I were alone in his office, everyone else having departed for the day. We got into a long lengthy discussion about US immigration, both legal and illegal. The long and the short of it was he convinced me mathematically, that the United states cannot absorb the world’s excess population. So, the country must be selective about who can come to these United States. We must follow rules.
Mr Obama opened the floodgates when he broke he rules a few months ago, via his “Dream Act.” Now the Southwest border is inundated with other people’s children who want to enter the US without playing by the rules. If they are allowed to stay, and if history is a clue, they will manage to stay, the Federal government won’t deal with the fallout, states and localities will.
This is the problem with Washington, from the perspective of many localities. The federal government issues a policy, and the repercussions hit the states, cities, towns, etc.
Recall that many states and localities are already struggling financially. If you have forgotten this fact, think of Detroit. So where will the money for these kids come from? Property taxes? Local sales taxes? The federal government is struggling to pay its own bills. The ACA isn’t fully funded. The Army is downsizing to cut costs, leaving thousands unemployed. The VA can’t take care of those who remain.
You can’t give what you don’t have.
Imagine you have a full house and are struggling to feed and clothe your own children. Your aging parent lives with you. Your local community is struggling to find the funds to restore or rebuild your local school. But your community is on the skids from the last housing crises. Property tax rates are soaring, but the value of property is dropping, so the funds are scarce. You can’t move, because you can’t sell. Your job is threatened because your source of employment is failing. A dismal situation right? But this example is the type of community where immigrants, both legal and illegal often flock. (you don’t think these kids will end up in gated communities do you?) And it is the type of community where federal funds should be directed if they existed, but they don’t.
Not without robbing Peter to pay Paul.
You can’t give what you don’t have. So what are you willing to sacrifice?