The unaccompanied minor crisis: Republicans need to act fast

During the last few weeks we have witnessed the development of a humanitarian crisis at the U.S.- Mexico border, where thousands of vulnerable children—many as young as 5 years old—arrive at the border without relatives or adults.

These children are seeking refuge and protection from the violence in their native Central American countries, including El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.
Just a few days after the situation reached alarming levels, Republicans are already blaming President Obama for his decision to approve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Department of Homeland Security’s directive meant to alleviate deportations of “DREAMers”.
First of all, we must clarify that the thousands of children arriving at the border do not qualify for DACA. To be clear, the immigration program is only offered to minors that came to the U.S. before 2007.
Furthermore, Republicans should remember the Trafficking Victims Protection Act approved under President Bush, which was meant to deal with this sort of problem.

Under President Bush’s mandate, a series of laws were approved in Congress to combat human traffickingand provide these same children with additional protections that would get them out of harm’s way as soon as possible.
A large part of this process was codified by Congress under the 2002 National Security Strategy. In 2008, Congress added other protections under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.
Under these laws, border patrol is required to shelter these children (except those from Mexico), investigate them, and transfer them to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (under the Department of Health and Human Services). 
Depending on each individual case, some children may be able to stay in the U.S., although this only represents a small minority. This has led to the spread of rumors among Central American countries that if a child makes it to the border, they would be allowed to stay.
This is not true.  Parents should not put their children in such dangerous situations that require them to make such a long and perilous journey, especially when they are alone.
As a result, trying to politicize this situation and blame President Obama is frankly ridiculous and makes no sense.
Considering the magnitude of this humanitarian crisis, it is not time to play political games, much less use thousands of children who have risked so much crossing the border as a political tactic.
As a mother of two, I cannot image the pain that these parents must have felt when they sent their children on such a dangerous endeavor and the economic desperation that made them feel like there was no other way to give their children a better life.
Today, more than ever, the United State should increase its efforts to improve the economic situation, decrease violence, and implement an educational campaign in the region that would outline the legal options a person has to immigrate to the United States.
However, none of this will be possible without the support of our Republican colleagues. It is time for them to put political games aside and help find solutions to this urgent problem.
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