For John, BLUF: Until we understand the root cause we can't fix this problem. Nothing to see here; just move along.
From The State House News Service, Reporter Andy Metzger gives us a look an MSNBC debate between former U.S. Senator Mo Cowan and State Rep. Marc Lombardo that touches on the issue of the Commonwealth absorbing some of the 53,000 or so border-crossing children.
Frankly, the debate continues to be superficial.
The fundamental question is, why are these children risking their lives to come to the United States?
- If this is a narrow issue, then perhaps we can absorb these children as refugees and make them part of the United States.
- If this is a major (and systemic) problem in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, as The [Lowell] Sun article suggests, then the problem requires a totally different response. Looking at possible options:
- The situation in those three countries, drug cartels, corrupt governments, lawlessness, require our intervention, under the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect. We need to go in and displace those Governments (or strengthen them against criminal forces). We will be landing the Marines.
- The situation is so bad that people should not be forced to live under such criminal conditions, but we don't see it as our place to intervene, so we need to provide refuge to all who want it, even if they are merely economic refugees. We need to provide ships and aircraft to evacuate to these shores some 27 million men, women and children (assuming some 10% of the population is criminal and shouldn't be admitted to the US.
- We could decide this is a problem so big we not only don't wish to cope with it, but we can't. Thus, we need to close the border and prevent any more refugees. This is a case of realizing that the problem is bigger than we can cope with and we owe it to our Citizens to not be involved. If Iraq and Afghanistan have taught us anything it should be that we can't solve all the world's problems.
Once we see the size of the problem we need to talk about cost. With 3142 Counties (or County like entities) in the United States, some 53,000 children can be apportioned out with 17 children per county. That should be easy enough to absorb, at least locally. However, that 17 goes up as the number of border crossers go up. Thus the importance of scoping the problem, as discussed above. What is the plan out of the Administration?
Who pays is an important issue.
- For our Governor to pass it off as a Federal issue is disingenuous.
- The Federal Government does not provide free money to the States, just as our Commonwealth doesn't provide free money to cities and towns. It all represents taxes paid by tax payers.
- Unlike our Commonwealth, the Federal Government can fund some things by printing money, but that is a tax on the future.
- When children come and stay (they are going to say, not just hover around for four months, as some suggest), they cost governments money and if adequate funds are not shared across political entities, some areas get hit harder than others. If all of Middlesex County's 17 children come to Lowell, and there is not Federal or State support, that is a direct tax on the tax paying Residents of Lowell.
- If a million children show up, that is 318 per County, or a dozen or so classrooms that have to be added. We need to avoid letting politicians tell us that it is just a few children per community. It is an increased burden and it is not a cheap burden. Most of those children will not be speaking english and some will have medical or developmental problems. Solutions will not come cheap.
Regards — Cliff