Monday, September 8, 2014

Letter to the President

Several weeks ago there was a feeding frenzy by the local newspaper. They pitted Republican Congressman Mike Turner against Democratic Mayor Nan Whaley over the issue of immigration reform and the need to accommodate  illegal aliens under the age of 18 coming to the U.S. illegally. Rather than point fingers and name call, I sent a letter to the president proposing a very simple solution. That was to issue a North American Intercontinental Passport that grant Canadians, Mexicans and U.S. Citizens the ability to travel anywhere in North America and a system to permit working in adjacent countries. Charge an additional $20 for passports and use the money to secure, along with Mexico and Canada, the southern Mexico border which is a narrower border to patrol. I did get a reply. It is the typical political rhetoric that one would expect from a staff member to the White House but I wanted to share it with you. I also felt that you should know how I deal with problem solving. Instead of writing to complain about the comments an elected official makes publicly, I offer "out of the box" solutions. Would this work? Possibly. The real question is "What would it cost to try?"
Dear Gary:
Thank you for writing.  I am deeply concerned about the unaccompanied migrant children arriving at our border.  This is an urgent situation, and it underscores the need to drop the politics, respond quickly and effectively, and fix our broken immigration system once and for all.
My Administration continues to address this situation with an aggressive, coordinated Federal response on both sides of the border.  We’re making sure we have sufficient facilities to appropriately house and process those who cross our border illegally.  We’re also working with Central American leaders to publicize the dangers of the journey and to reinforce that apprehended migrants are ultimately returned to their home countries in keeping with the law.  However, it is our legal and moral obligation to treat unaccompanied children with care and compassion while they’re in our custody.  
Since the beginning of July, we have seen some initial signs of progress along our Southwest border—thanks in part to my Administration’s response.  We are not declaring victory, and we must continue our intensive efforts on both sides of the border.  We will keep taking aggressive steps to surge resources to our Southwest border, deter both adults and children from this dangerous journey, increase capacity for enforcement and removal proceedings, and quickly and safely return unlawful migrants who do not qualify for humanitarian relief to their home countries.  And I’ve asked Congress to provide the funding these efforts need.  
In the long run, though, the best way to truly address this problem is to fix our broken immigration system through comprehensive legislation like the bipartisan bill passed by the Senate last year.  It would have strengthened our border security, equipped us with better technology, and bolstered the resources and personnel vital for an efficient removal process—including additional Border Patrol agents, asylum officers, immigration judges, and access to legal counsel.  It would have also combated transnational crime and cracked down on criminal networks.
Again, I appreciate your perspective.  I am working diligently to bring an end to this situation, and we intend to do the right thing by these children.  But I have repeatedly made clear that parents need to know this is an incredibly dangerous situation, and they should not put their children in the hands of criminals.
Barack Obama

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