Jul. 22, 2014

Illegal Minors Come as International Adoption Is Stymied

Obama has helped cause the current flood of illegal minors, but he’s not the only reason.

The Obama administration was warned in early 2012 of a pending flood of illegal minors across the southern border. And yet they did nothing because it was a “local problem.” It’s a crisis of the administration’s making because they could exploit the flood for political gain. But the crisis isn’t only of Barack Obama’s making. Guatemala, for example, is now closed for international adoption, leaving many desperate children to cross borders illegally instead.

In 2011, just 4,000 Central American children came to the U.S. illegally. By 2013, that number had jumped to 21,000, and this year there could be 90,000 by the end of September. Yet the White House insists the number is now falling – thanks to their valiant efforts, of course. According to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, the administration’s “response and efforts to work with Central American leaders to publicize the dangers of the journey,” as well as louder deportation warnings, “have all played a part.”

Earnest didn’t mention the part played by the administration’s lawless actions via Obama’s 2012 executive amnesty for “DREAMers.”

But again, this isn’t all Obama’s doing. Fewer international adoptions may play a role. Reason reports, “Until 2007, more than 5,000 Guatemalan children were adopted by parents from other countries each year. Under pressure from groups like Unicef [the United Nations Children’s Fund], however, Guatemala shut down intercountry adoptions.” The U.S. State Department was key in this decision, too, pressuring Guatemala to comply with the United Nations’ Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, which makes adoption more difficult.

Reason also notes, “[T]he Guatemalan government shut down international adoptions, created a centrally controlled adoption agency and nationalized the orphanage system. The plan was to promote in-country adoptions, but that plan hasn’t worked. Last year, only 35 children were adopted by Guatemalan families.” El Salvador and Honduras, the other two Central American nations most illegal minors are leaving, also have difficult adoption processes.

This is a world-wide problem, too. World Magazine reports, “International adoption has dropped 69 percent in the last decade, from 22,991 in 2004 to 7,092 in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of State. The decline is not for lack of orphans, or of parents who want to adopt them, but is instead a result of a complex web of international diplomacy and regulations.”

The Obama administration isn’t exactly friendly toward adoption, either. According to National Review’s David French, “In 2012, the IRS requested additional information from 90 percent of returns claiming the adoption tax credit and went on to actually audit 69 percent.” Adoptive families tend to be middle class, conservative and Christian, adding a possible political dimension to this otherwise inexplicable targeting.

Guatemala’s closure doesn’t neatly fit with the surge in border crossing in the U.S., but it does precede it. Correlation does not equal causation. And there are certainly other things driving people out of Central America – the drugs and violence coming from Venezuela, for example.

It’s a perverse effect of adoption policy changes that these kids are no longer adopted by loving families – they’re left to perhaps cross the border illegally and end up in a government shelter before eventually being processed through bureaucracy and courts. This can’t possibly explain every border crossing, or maybe even most, but isn’t it interesting that leftist do-gooders aiming to protect children from fraudulent adoptions have seemingly contributed to a preventable crisis?

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