July Editorial Winner

Open arms from open minds

Doug Vice, Drumright Gusher

We find ourselves with a humanitarian crisis on our hands. Nearly 60,000 illegal immigrant children have unlawfully entered the country since October of last year, and Federal officials expect at least 150,000 more next year.
We as a nation have seen problems with illegal immigration for a long time, but this presents a new and unique challenge in the form of a never-before-seen surge of unaccompanied minors.
We have a small handful of options, or combination of options, all of which are simple in thought if complex in repercussion.
We may open our arms and welcome these children into the country, finding homes for them if able but otherwise paying to take care of them until they’re of an appropriate age to self-care and become productive citizens. We may tighten security and return them from whence they came, recognizing that they’re not our responsibility and any amnesty-like acceptance could lead to greater problems down the road.
These options or any other similar options address this problem as if it itself is the problem.
What if it isn’t? What if it’s a symptom of the real problem?
It’s the opinion of your humble columnist that we must pursue the former option. We are to care for these children as if they were any other American abandoned child to be cared for by the state. And it’s not an opinion borne of a sense of “Think of the children! Don’t be heartless!” or any such sentiment.
It’s because it is our fault they are here to begin with. They are our responsibility.
In 1973, President Nixon began what we now know as the War on Drugs, a modernday prohibition on all recreational use of controlled substances as determined by the Drug Enforcement Administration founded the same year. This caused an entire set of industries with imports valued today at $64 billion annually to now be regarded as outside of the law.
And when your industry continues to operate after it is deemed outside of the law, your business practices grow progressively more cut-throat. Literally.
These children’s families did not opt to send their children here for no reason.
These children are primarily fleeing non-Mexican countries such as Honduras or El
Salvador, countries that have seen enormous rises in gang and car tel-related violence and corruption largely as the result of a well-intentioned decades-long war on drugs.
Countless acts of murder, torture, extortion, political coercion, human trafficking, and other violent crimes have come at the hands of businesses that remain enormously profitable due to continued demand for their services, for good or ill.
In 2005, for every $1,000 worth of enforcement costs on the part of the DEA, $3,456 worth of illegal drugs were removed from or prevented from appearing on American streets.
Not bad – if you ignore that they failed to stop the next $463,781 worth of drugs from appearing in the U.S. That’s a 345.6% efficiency rate in production/cost, but a less than 1% actual effect on the drug trade.
There can be no doubt. This war has caused far more harm than good.
Add in decades of overwhelming poverty in these nations, and you have a recipe for desperation. Desperation will cause you to perform acts you never thought you would in order to survive. For instance, fleeing your home into a safer nation where you are not allowed to emigrate.
We find ourselves in a scenario where, while looking at the dozens of thousands of displaced children and wondering what to do about them, we must also look in the mirror and wonder what we can do to prevent this again.
When you have a bad roof that leaks when it rains, your long-term solution isn’t to keep emptying buckets for as long as you live there.
You fix the roof.
If you want to solve long-term immigration problems from countries burdened by crime and poverty, then do what you can to relieve crime and poverty.
Let’s start by ending the War on Drugs. For more reasons than this, but it’s a good start.

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