Why are we allowing government representative and political pundits to use innocent children as pawns in the perpetual political blame game?

Desperate families from Central America are illegally sending children unaccompanied by parents to the southern U.S. border at a rate of more than 1,000 per day — roughly 55,000 children since October.

Citizens in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras live with the threat of drug-gang violence and even death on a daily basis. Human traffickers are preying on these poor, anguished people who are willing to do anything to help their children escape to the U.S. Wouldn’t you?

This is not somebody else’s problem, nor is it a partisan problem. This is an American problem. The time to act is now. Young lives are hanging in the balance.

The Homeland Security Act of 2002 and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act in 2008 have set forth the process and protections for how the United States legally handles unaccompanied child immigrants, but it isn’t very flexible. This lack of flexibility only exacerbates the problem the Obama administration and Congress in facing in deciding how to handle this issue with prudence and compassion without trampling important immigration laws.

Officials say it may take up to two years to process the unaccompanied, illegal immigrant children already in the country.  

This delay is due in part to the overload the U.S. Border Patrol is dealing with. Not only are the agency’s hands full dealing with adults trying to enter the country illegally, now they’re tasked with trying to handle processing the huge migration of unaccompanied children, stretching their resources to the brink. We need to put additional manpower and money on this problem promptly. We need to find any family members these children have that are already in the U.S. and get these children placed as fast as possible. We are dealing with a refugee crisis on our southern border and it is our obligation as a country to care for these innocent children.

Recently, more than 200 unaccompanied immigrant children arrived in Nebraska to live with relatives or sponsors. This was all done without notice or coordination with the local or state government. Communication is not only a good idea it’s imperative to solving this crisis. Government agencies, President Obama, and Congress cannot handle this alone, and they cannot handle this in silence. We must all work together openly. It will take federal, state, and local government agencies and non-profit organizations working in unison, and pooling resources, manpower, and knowledge openly to address the problem responsibly and appropriately.

We are a country of immigrants that was built through innovation. Let’s show the world that we can handle a humanitarian crisis with a tough yet compassionate approach.

This is not a partisan issue; it’s an American issue. We must act now.  

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