Border kids: Self-serving interests fuel Congress' failure on issue.

7/15/2014

The sad circumstances surrounding immigrant children brought still more proof of the need for federal immigration policy reform, and as soon as possible.

The sad circumstances surrounding immigrant children brought still more proof of the need for federal immigration policy reform, and as soon as possible.

Earlier this month, protesters showed up at a border patrol facility in Murrieta, Calif., to angrily block buses filled with detained women and children being transported from overcrowded facilities in Texas.

The ugly scene came just before the Fourth of July holiday. As the nation prepared to mark its celebration of independence from foreign tyranny, American protesters cheered and jeered the immigrants fleeing violence in their own land, and forced the buses to go elsewhere.

The protesters and other hard-liners on immigration no doubt saw this year's flood of more than 50,000 children and teens — mostly from Central America, and many unaccompanied by adults — as cause to ship every youngster back to their country of origin as soon as possible.

Others who understand the plight of those who'd head here to escape danger rightly consider the influx of children a humanitarian crisis, and more proof of the need for Congress to quickly pursue comprehensive immigration reform — a realistic blend of border control, enforcement and an orderly, understandable process for immigrants to become citizens.

But extreme partisanship has all but destroyed chances of fixing a broken immigration system anytime soon.

President Obama recently proposed $3.7 billion in emergency funding to improve border security, hire more judges for deportation hearings and improve housing for youngsters already in custody — a reasonable way to address the crisis and set the stage for meaningful immigration policy reform. But, key Republicans deemed the plan too expensive.

Even U.S. House Speaker John Boehner's earlier request of GOP colleagues to set aside ideology for the sake of compromise hasn't produced results. It's no surprise to know many in his party would rather balk at problem-solving that could in some way help the Obama administration achieve progress on the issue.

Meanwhile, many innocent children who have done nothing wrong are caught in the middle. At a time they need compassion, federal lawmakers would rather use them as political pawns to further their own self-serving agendas.

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