According to the Cable News Network, between 60,000 and 80,000 children will cross the United States’ southern border this year. Many of these children are from regions torn by violence and are facing deportation back home. Immigration reform is crucial, but President Barack Obama is delaying it at least until after November. Why? Midterm elections are coming up.
The children pouring over the border are mostly from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, countries with areas of violence and disorder. According to The Guardian, many of the children are fleeing from street gangs as wellas domesticabuse,andmany are also seeking to be reunited with parents in the United States. The number of unaccompanied children traveling to the United States has increased over the past few years as a result of rumors about supposed imminent immigration reform. This includes the possibility of the passage of a national DREAM Act, which would allow some of the undocumented children currently in the United States to remain in the country. This issue is not yet resolved.
However, it’s not going to be resolved soon, because midterm elections seem to be a bigger priority than the immigration crisis. In November, elections will be held for positions in the Senate and House of Representatives, and the Democratic party needs to win seats to avoid stalemates between a Republican Congress and a Democratic president. The New York Times states that, “As Election Day [draws] closer, nervous Democratic senators…told White House officials that Mr. Obama’s actions could cost them victory. Those conversations culminated in the decision to delay immigration action.”
However, while Obama puts discussions on pause, children continue to pour into the country in hopes of being allowed to stay. I won’t take a side here on whether reforms should allow the children to stay or send them home; that’s a different debate. But there needs to be a definitive answer even if the decision is that the children must be sent home. It’s not fair for hopeful children to continue to cross the border only to be housed indefinitely until they are sent home.
Certainly midterms are important. The Democrats need to look at the big picture, and for Obama and Congress, it’s just a matter of postponing the reforms until a more convenient time. However, meanwhile detained children are waiting to hear their fates. Whether the answer is yes or no, these children deserve an answer.
So yes, you can put politics on pause. But you can’t put people’s lives on pause, and that’s important to remember.