Relocation of Illegal Immigrant Minors Stirs Negative Reaction

By:  Warren Mass
Relocation of Illegal Immigrant Minors Stirs Negative Reaction

The increasing number of unaccompanied children illegally crossing the U.S. border into Texas has created a dilemma for federal officials, who have sought to relocate the children to facilities across the country pending processing.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials are transferring these minors to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement to be housed in shelters, some on military bases and others elsewhere.

However, the transfer of these unaccompanied children to local facilities is sometimes met with strong resistance and protests. A group of protesters staged a demonstration near a Border Patrol processing station in Murrieta, Riverside County, California on July 1. The protests resulted in three buses carrying 140 illegal immigrants to the station being diverted to another Customs and Border Protection facility in San Ysidro, located on the border just north of Tijuana, Mexico.

The immigrants bound for Murrieta were first flown from Texas to San Diego, as is typical for such relocations. Nearly 1,000 unaccompanied minors had been sent from overflowing facilities in southern Texas to a warehouse building in Nogales, Arizona. Other places where the unaccompanied children are housed include Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and Naval Base Ventura County near Oxnard, California.

As the immigration crisis worsened and cast more doubt on the Obama administration’s ability to handle the unmanageable tide of illegal border crossers, on July 14 the administration finally took a very small step at doing what it logically should have been doing all along — deporting the illegal immigrants. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that about 40 illegal immigrants were placed on a plane in Roswell, New Mexico, and flown to Honduras.

Comparing the relative air distances between Rio Grande International Airport in Harlingen, Texas, to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and San Diego (where the Murrieta-bound aliens were flown) immediately indicates the illogic of flying these unaccompanied minors to locations within the United States.  

From Harlingen to Tegucigalpa is 1,080 miles. Yet, the air distance from Harlingen to San Diego is 1,260 miles. So why is our government flying these illegal immigrants a long distance within the United States, then busing them to facilities where U.S. taxpayers must pay to feed and house them, only to release them into the general population pending a hearing which they might not even attend?

Why not simply fly these illegal immigrants back to their country of origin in Central America (which is closer) and be done with it? 

In addition to the great expense of transporting and processing these illegal immigrants, many of whom disappear into the general population, the reaction from potential host locations is often negative.

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Photos of protestors against illegal immigration: AP Images

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