Under existing law, with the stroke of a pen, President Obama could solve the current crisis of the Central American children coming to America without visas. He could, and should, declare most or all of them to be refugees under Section 207(b) of the Immigration & Nationality Act, 8 U.S. Code Sec.1157(b).
That statute gives any president the power to determine that an "emergency refugee situation is justified by grave humanitarian concerns" and to admit a limited number of refugees per year.
We've done this before: "From December 1960 to October 1962, more than fourteen thousand Cuban youths arrived alone in the United States. What is now known as Operation Pedro Pan was the largest recorded exodus of Unaccompanied minors in the Western Hemisphere." Most of the children were granted visa waivers by the State Department, at the request of Father Bryan Walsh, Director of Miami's Catholic Welfare Bureau.
During World War II, of course, an even larger children's exodus was organized by the British government in response to Hitler's bombing of London. "Called Operation Pied Piper, millions of people, most of them children, were shipped to rural areas in Britain as well as overseas to Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. Almost 3 million people were evacuated during the first four days of the operation, making it the biggest and most concentrated population movement in British history."
If these numbers scare you, remember that between 1845 and 1855, when the population of the USA was much smaller, we managed to assimilate more than 1.5 million Irish who were fleeing starvation from the Potato Famine.
But even though several thousand Central American kids are but a drop in the historical bucket, President Obama won't lift a finger to help them. In fact, he has decided to "send the message that you can't just show up on the border, plead for asylum or refugee status, and hope to get it."
Refugees -- and that's what these kids are -- need and deserve our help, not the selfish and shameful "protests" in Murrietta, California, and not the Presidential cold shoulder.
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