Before Making Your Mind Up on the Current Immigrant Children Crisis, Take a Look at These Stunning Statistics

denver-povertyBy now most people have heard about the thousands of immigrant children who have flooded our border.  It’s clearly been an emotional issue for people on both sides of the argument.

But I learned a long time ago that emotion shouldn’t dictate how we assess the best way for something to be dealt with.

When I’m assessing how I feel about something I usually try to take a step back for a moment and look at a bigger picture.  Because it’s easy to make quick, knee-jerk reactions to particular events, but that emotion can easily lead us astray.

Right now many liberals I’ve seen make comments about the immigration crisis have supported simply letting all these kids stay here because they’ve determined this isn’t about immigration, it’s about human rights.

Okay.  I get that.  Nobody likes to see children suffering.

But where’s the line drawn?  Because I can promise you if we said right now, “These tens of thousands of children can stay” we’d have 200,000 more at our borders within the next several years.

Do we let them in too?  And what about children who aren’t fortunate enough to live in countries close enough to migrate here?  Take Africa or Asia for instance.  Do we just say to them, “Sorry, too bad, you should have been born closer and then we’d help you out”?

Besides, haven’t liberals often opposed going to war to “liberate people” from dictatorships?  Couldn’t it be argued that by freeing children from a dictatorship that we’re in fact acting in the best interests of human rights?

At what point do you say, “Okay, well that child’s human rights aren’t as important as this one’s”?  

And I know I’m going to get slammed for saying some of this, but that’s fine.  I’m not saying we shouldn’t do something to help these children, I’m just saying that I don’t think the position of, “It’s a human rights crisis, we have to take these kids in” is exactly the most sound solution to this issue.

Take for instance these stunning statistics on child poverty:

By the way, those are all stats about children already living in the United States.

So we have millions of children already in the United States who are living in poverty, homeless or without families at all – but we’re going to take in tens of thousands more from other countries?  Is that really fair to those children?  Because I’ve seen quite a few stories of Americans volunteering to take some of these kids in, which is great. But my question is, why aren’t these people that quick to take in one of the 397,122 children we already have living here without permanent families?

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Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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  • Brian Purcell

    Yours is an interesting argument of “charity begins at home,”
    and you’re indeed correct that we have seriously neglected our own at risk
    youth here at home. I also agree we
    cannot take in every person from an impoverished country that wants to come here
    but we cannot also ignore them, especially since it is our own foreign policy that
    is largely to blame for the political problems that are the essence of systemic
    income inequality in Central America.

    Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador have all been
    targets of US military intervention when popular protests arose from the people
    seeking more equitable conditions. These
    were all put down by the US for fear that it would adversely affect American
    business interests (see United Fruit Company) or it was another Communist Domino. (Costa Rica put its own house in order by
    eliminating its military and spending on education and healthcare- something
    which did not seem to bother the US) In short, we prevented Central America
    from democratizing.

    Since the Monroe Doctrine, the US has laid claim to all of
    the Americas. If we’re going to do that,
    why don’t we make some efforts to improve the standards of living in countries
    that send children to our shores out of desperation? Europe was able to prop up their poorer
    nations to create the European Union and we should be doing the same. Let’s use
    the money we would spend turning back these children at the borders and focus
    on creating living conditions that prevent the exodus in the first place.

  • Brian

    So the US holds no responsibility to take care of the children whose lives it ruined by installing business-friendly dictators that caused the violence that makes them flee their country?
    Your solution is “work with these countries to improve conditions”. We already tried that. It resulted in apathetic, business-friendly dictators willing to murder innocents to make sure they stay in power. How do we work with that without creating another Venezuela or Cuba?
    If the only solution you can come up with is “send them back”, you have solved absolutely nothing. You have merely delayed the problem and made things a bit harder for children that already have it worse than America’s impoverished and homeless children. Even worse, the conditions these third world children live in were all caused by American foreign policy.

  • Matthew Reece

    The children must be sent back in the present and turned away in the future. Additionally, all foreign aid and military interventionism must stop. Further, the War on Drugs must end. Only then will the roots of the problem be struck.

  • MLR

    Allen, supposedly I’ve been diagnosed as a “bleeding-heart” but even I agree with you. I wish the “anti-choice” crowd cared as much about the children already here as they do of a fertilized egg. Those stats you mentioned above are shameful and children (our children) in the greatest country on earth should not be living in those conditions.

  • kansas

    This is kind of shameful in my opinion. The statistics you cite really do more to show that this country needs to change it’s priorities at home, not that we need to ignore more kids than we already are ignoring. And by the way, doing the right thing is always, always harder, more expensive, more burdensome and it requires more of ourselves. Two wrongs don;t make a right. We shouldn’t be turning our backs on ANY child, regardless of where they were born, in the US or abroad. What you seem to be indicating is that since we’re already turning our backs on our own kids, it’s only fair to turn our backs on these other kids as well. How about we work toward a future where all kids have a fair chance?

  • Mischievious

    I don’t see what the debate is about here. These are starving, impoverished children who have no where else to go and many of whom already have family in the US and a potential home to live in because of that. Everyone who posted here is here because of the same kind of immigration from Europe to the US. People don’t want to live in a violent and dangerous place and want safety. People just need to stop having kids altogether really.

  • Caroline Reznicek

    I have a slightly different take on these children at our border. I am speaking as a mother of 5 now grown children.
    If I were living in a country such as these children are coming from, my first
    priority would be to hide my children to keep them safe, and find some way to
    get them out of harms way and into a safe place that I would not have to
    worry about them. Once this was done, it would “free” my mind enough to rise up against my oppressors and fight to free my country in any way possible without the worry of my children being harmed. If I survived, I would want to have my children back if the situation was again stable. The only way that the people can take over in a bad situation is to band together and fight like Hell.
    You cant do that if you are worrying about your children.
    I am one of these people who would love to take in some of these children,
    but I would hope that they would have a home with their parents to go back to someday. Many do not have a home now and many will not have one in the future, but many will be able to go home. They deserve at least temporary asylum. That is WHAT my AMERICA is and it is WHY my AMERICA is!
    No, we cant take care of every child world wide but we CAN take care of those who cry on our door step. Would you turn away a child who wanted a piece of bread and was crying at your door?
    Yes, I AM a bleeding heart AMERICAN, and I wouldnt want to be or feel any
    other way.
    As for the children living in poverty or homeless in our own country already,
    we all know the system needs fixing and I am not going into that issue, except to say that there is so much red tape (a lot of which IS necessary) to trying to foster or adopt children here. And unless you have a lot of money to give lawyers, etc. it is a daunting task.
    So…should we let the border children stay?? ABSOLUTELY YES!
    Should we try to intervene in other countries protests and wars? NO!
    Let them fight it out for themselves just as this country had to do for its own
    We have gained no successes whenever we have sent in troops to help. Aid
    (food, water, medical,etc.) is confiscated for private gain and when we try to
    put our own favorite guy in charge, it always ends in more hate and fighting. I
    am in favor of a strong military, but it should only be used as a defense of THIS nation, not as an intervention into other countries fights.
    So let those children who have relatives who want them, living in the USA go
    to those relatives.
    Let those children who have a friend who is willing to take them in, go to that
    Make sure other folks who are willing to help are “safe” people, and LET them help.
    Cut through some of the red tape to be able to foster or adopt all children.
    Make sure the rest have some caring place to be taken care of. Yes it is pricey to care for them, but it is a lot less than sending troops, etc to fight in other countries. It is also a lot less expensive than trying to cope with the emotional trauma that these kids would have to deal with. They need to feel safe. They need to feel wanted. They need to feel useful and they need to feel LOVE. Can we give those things to them?

  • Xana

    In Europe, unaccompanied minors are not usually sent back to most countries (some exceptions exist) because the best interest of the child is considered paramount. Notice Europe is geographically quite near Africa, and can be reached by land from Asia, however, there are not millions of children waiting “to jump the fence”.
    What do you suppose is the difference between the situation in Europe and the situation in the US for you to predict an avalanche of unaccompanied minors to your southern borders, which has not occured under similar circumstances in Europe?