JISHOU, HUNAN — As another example of the tenuous hold The Gateway Pundit has on accuracy, check out this xenophobic, scaremongering headline:
BREAKING: HHS Has Released 30,340 Unaccompanied Illegal Minors Across US This Year
So breaking!! that it’s been going on for the last six months, but to continue with the post.
According to the Office of Refugee Resettlement 30,340 illegal children were secretly released to sponsors across the United States in the first six months of this year.
I’ve got some problems with the term “illegal children,” but let’s focus on the “secretly released to sponsors” aspect of this story.
First of all, it’s not a secret if the ORR announces it’s happened. And second, by law, the government is prohibited from revealing the precise whereabouts of minor children. So, in that respect, there is some secrecy.
Who are these sponsors? From the ORR website:
We try to place the child with a parent, and if that is not possible, with a relative, and if that is not possible, with a family friend. We do not restrict placements based on the immigration status of the parent or other sponsor. All sponsors receive a background check that includes a public records name and address check to search for criminal history; review of any criminal history the sponsor self-reports during the reunification process; and through interviews with the child. If the sponsor is not a parent or legal guardian of the child, a fingerprint check is also conducted.
Oh, and the kids are not released until they get a clean bill of health, so they’re not carrying plague or TB or ebola as some kind of Typhoid Marys. [Seriously, some people really believe these kids are major threats to the health of the nation.]
The secrecy bit seems to refer to one incident in Iowa referred to by one article published elsewhere. But Hoft has a bad habit of declaring major trends on the basis of one data point.
His post concludes:
And, it is widely known that HHS is not notifying state agencies when dumping the children in their state.
“Widely known” — as in “nobody knew about this until I wrote these very words widely known.”
“Dumping” — as in driving the kids across the state line, and pushing them out the door? As in dropping the kids off at the state child welfare office with a name tag that says, “Please take care of little Enrique. We can’t do it. Kthxbai, The US ORR”?
Not hardly, Jim. One hundred thirty-eight children were being brought to Iowa to meet their sponsors (see above). That’s not exactly dumping.
As for not notifying state agencies, the law requires the states be notified, so I rather suspect Hoft and his source material are playing fast and loose with reality. Somebody official has to know they’re coming, but the public does not have to.
Think about it: does the Department of Corrections in your area send out a news bulletin every time a prisoner is bused somewhere? So, why should the ORR notify the Iowa press, “Oh, we’re sending a busload of immigrant children your way. Be sure to notify the hordes of raving xenophobic lunatics to greet them when they arrive.”
Hoft’s evidence for the statement is limited to one article, and the jaw-dropping insensitivity of Iowa’s Republican governor, who may be even as clueless as Jim Hoft. He swears no one told anyone in his state the kids were coming.
(Factoid: the population of Iowa is a hair over 3 million. The number of unaccompanied minor immigrants assigned to Iowa is 139. That’s one kid for every 21,600 Iowans. Iowa must pretty hard up if 21,600 people can’t handle adding one kid to the fold.)
But you know, this is latest outrage among the conservatives. While unaccompanied children have been crossing the Mexican border into the USA for years, suddenly it’s become a Thing, a Horrible Thing, an Normandy-like invasion of disease-ridden juvenile criminals, and it’s all the fault of President Barack Obama.
Except it isn’t. Obama and the Executive branch are obeying a law signed by the previous president, a Republican from Texas. Maybe you remember him.
Republicans in Congress are quick to point the finger at the Obama administration. Two years ago, the administration decided to defer deporting young immigrants who met certain criteria and have lived in the states continuously since June 2007. But, as usual with partisan rhetoric, they are missing half of the debate.
In 2008, Congress passed the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), which the Senate passed by unanimous consent, and was signed by President George W. Bush. Though the law’s main intent deals with human trafficking, it does contain a section that deals with children arriving in the U.S. illegally unaccompanied by an adult.
Children from Mexico are returned immediately, as they would be if they were an adult apprehended illegally entering the U.S. However, children from a non-contiguous nation, such as those in Central America, have a different process.
The children must be turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services which is in charge of their care, finds them safe housing, and apprises them of their legal rights as their immigration cases are decided. Deportation proceedings can take time as immigration courts are generally backed up.
In addition, laws regarding the apprehension and processing of children arriving without immigration papers have been on the books since at least 1997, when President Bill Clinton was in office.
So really, all this sudden outrage about 60,000 kids trickling in from Central America is a toxic combination of bigotry, xenophobia, Obama Derangement Syndrome and unbridled fear, whipped up by demagogues like blogger Jim Hoft and radio personalities like Rush Limbaugh.
The population of the USA is 315 million, and we can’t handle 60,000 children? What is wrong with these people?