Published July 11. 2014 4:00AM
The all-too-familiar name calling and finger pointing over the crisis unfolding at the Southwest border could be dismissed as typical political partisanship except for the fact that so many young would-be immigrants continue being victimized - not so much by the United States but by their own flawed Central American governments and, in many cases, by their well-meaning but misguided families.
President Barack Obama wisely refused to take the Republican bait of an inflammatory photo-op Wednesday and avoided visiting the Texas-Mexico border, where tens of thousands of unaccompanied and undocumented minors, driven by violence and poverty in their native El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, have for months been crossing illegally in the mistaken belief they would be taken in as U.S. citizens or refugees.
President Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency funds to seat more immigration judges, expand detention facilities, help care for the children and subsidize programs in Central America to discourage them from coming to the United States. The White House has said few young arrivals qualify for humanitarian aid that would keep them in this country, and therefore face deportation.
This newspaper supports the proposed expenditure, and also backs an immigration reform bill introduced by U.S. Sens. Christopher Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, both Connecticut Democrats who say it would help safeguard as many as 80,000 children expected to illegally enter the United States this fiscal year. Though the bill was approved by the Senate and has the support of President Obama, political observers give it little chance of passing in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.
As the midterm election approaches and potential presidential candidates are posturing for 2016, it's unlikely anything substantive will emerge from gridlocked Washington any time soon.
Sadly, also, there are no quick fixes for a crisis that has brought out the best and worst in American attitudes, ranging from compassion to xenophobia exhibited by angry protesters attempting to block buses carrying undocumented children to detention centers.
The best long-term solution would be to raise children only where conditions support population growth - but unfortunately, too few adopt that approach.