Immigration

Porous Borders Incentivize Bad Parenting

Government-enforced helicopter parenting at home, blind eyes to children at the border.

Arnold Ahlert · Jul. 2, 2018

The American Left has some curious ideas about what constitutes proper parenting.

Only four years ago the media disseminated a number of stories about government intervention against “irresponsible” parents. In August 2104, a Florida mother who let her seven-year-old son walk less than half a mile from their home to a park to play was charged with child neglect. A 46-year-old single mother working as a McDonald’s shift manager spent 17 days in jail for allowing her nine-year-old daughter to play unsupervised at a nearby park. And a year later in Maryland, a couple who let their two children, ages 10 and six, walk home alone from a neighborhood park were “found responsible for unsubstantiated child neglect” according to the state’s Child Protective Services.

This coverage precipitated a discussion about what was dubbed “free range” parenting in general and, more specifically, about the struggles low-income and/or single parents face regarding what to do with their children during the summer months when they still have to work and school is not in session.

Boston College psychology professor emeritus Peter Gray, author of “Free to Learn,” has little use for a mindset revealed by a Reason/Rupe poll. It showed that 68% of parents believe it should be illegal for kids nine years old and under to play at a park unsupervised, and 43% of parents believe the same prohibition should apply to 12-year-olds. Gray asserts, “I doubt there has ever been a human culture, anywhere, anytime, that underestimates children’s abilities more than we North Americans do today.”

Columnist Steve Berman emphasized the hypocrisy of what amounted to government-enforced helicopter parenting. He asks, “Are we really raising our kids in a safe space bubble, while we remember riding our bikes all hours until sunset, or until we got hungry and came home?”

Undoubtedly. Why? The most persuasive answer is technology. Despite the fact that parents who want to are now capable of tracking their children 24/7, they are also besieged by “a global, always-on news cycle, as well as increased connectivity on social media platforms, which recycles ‘over and over again’ kidnappings, rape and other threatening incidents,” Dr. Gail Saltz, professor of psychology at New York Presbyterian Hospital, explains.

Thus it doesn’t matter that crime rates have fallen significantly.

What does matter? Over-protected and over-indulged children “become adults who see no problem censoring people with whom they don’t agree, seeking segregation from others who are too different from themselves to bother relating to, and asserting that they are the best of the best in all things,” Berman asserts. “In other words, we could be raising a generation of Big Brother-loving powder puff despots.”

Given this context, it remains rather remarkable how sanguine many of those same parents — abetted by the Leftmedia, the Democrat Party and immigration activist groups — remain with regard to the flood of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) dispersed throughout the United States in recent years. In 2014, when that flood was dubbed the “border surge” by the same Leftmedia, columnist Victor Davis Hanson posed a telling question. “What sort of callous parents simply send their children as pawns northward without escort, in selfish hopes of soon winning for themselves either remittances or eventual passage to the U.S?” he wondered.

Maybe the kind of parent who has gotten the subtle-as-a-sledgehammer message that what amounted to human trafficking was enabled by the Obama administration. That reality was revealed at a 2014 Senate hearing when Mark Greenberg, Health and Human Services Acting Assistant Secretary for the Administration for Children and Families, admitted that even if the Obama administration knew it was releasing UACs to other illegal aliens, they would do so based on the “totality of the circumstances.” When pressed by then-Sen. Tom Coburn, Greenburg further admitted that the “totality” of refusing to inquire about the status of those taking custody of the UACs was HHS policy.

How did those UACs get here? Many of them rode “La Bestia,” a.k.a. “the beast” — the Mexican freight trains these children rode on top of to get though that nation into ours. Thousands of them were killed or gravely injured, and those that made it were inevitably besieged by traffickers, thieves and corrupt Mexican policemen and soldiers. Moreover, most of the female children are raped during the journey, which is the “price” often demanded for transport by traffickers. In fact, a 2010 report from the leftist group Amnesty International states, “According to some experts, the prevalence of rape is such that people smugglers may require women to have a contraceptive injection prior to the journey as a precaution.”

Regardless, the media-orchestrated outrage generated by the Trump administration’s decision to separate children from their alleged parents (one of the reasons the policy was implemented was to determine exactly that), led the president to usurp existing law and reunite them. And despite that orchestrated hype, a Rasmussen poll released on June 21 revealed that when families were arrested and separated for attempting to enter America illegally, 54% of the public held the illegal alien parents more accountable than the American government, compared to only 35% who held the government more accountable.

Even worse for those who promote an open borders agenda masquerading as “compassion,” 54% of those surveyed also agreed with Trump’s assertion that America “will not be a migrant camp” or a “refugee-holding facility.”

Yet unless Congress acts, those are empty assertions. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), asylum requires one to be physically present in the United States in order to obtain it. Yet there’s a giant loophole in the requirement. “You may apply for asylum status regardless of how you arrived in the United States or your current immigration status,” the website states.

If the Ruling Class were genuinely interested in eliminating the incentive behind the flood of border-busters and visa over-stayers that have precipitated a staggering 1,700% increase in asylum claims over the last decade, the simplest of laws would suffice going forward:

Anyone in America illegally will automatically be disqualified from receiving asylum.

Just putting a bill like that up for a vote would provide the American public with laser-like insight regarding which members of Congress are interested in dis-incentivizing rampant law-breaking and which members are not.

The alternative? The continued congressional collaboration with the encouragement of despicable parenting choices, along with the rank hypocrisy of taking the Trump administration to task for attempting to mitigate the flood of UACs that amount to a whopping 83% of the children held by the Department of Homeland Security, enabled (read: encouraged) by previous administrations.

And while the current progressive-incited hand-wringing continues, it’s worth remembering a very inconvenient reality: For at least five months in 2009, Democrats had complete control of Congress and the White House, including a filibuster- proof, 60 seat Senate majority. What did they do about fixing the nation’s immigration problem?

Absolutely nothing.

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