Hammering Away at Illegal Immigration from Central America

Renowned American psychologist Abraham Maslow once said, "I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail." In a nutshell, that pretty much sums up US immigration policy, specifically with regard to illegal immigration, and notably as it is being applied to the latest wave of migrants arriving from Central America. The Obama administration's answer to the problem is to send 'em back home where they belong.

Sure enough, it's the hammer approach... the same general tactic the US government often uses to try and deal with complex foreign policy issues whenever US political leaders and the American people become exasperated at their inability to find solutions. Think about it. You're confronted with a flood of illegal immigrants. What's the answer? Deport them. You're faced with uncooperative countries in the Middle East? Shoot 'em, bomb 'em.

The problem with hammering away at problems is that the method often fails and sometimes makes them worse -- as we're seeing in Iraq and we'll probably see in Afghanistan. It is also what is happening on the US southern border with the tens of thousands of migrants (mainly from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) which the Obama administration is now gearing up to deport en masse.

The administration will seek $2 billion in emergency funds from Congress to carry out these deportations. It should prepare to ask for billions of dollars more, because a large portion of the deported migrants will be back within weeks or months trying again to enter the US illegally. In many cases, these people have nothing to go back to except the threat of violence, primarily from organized gangs and drug traffickers, and even corrupt police officers. They are more refugees than migrants.

In a recent tweet, Mary Murray of NBC News wrote, "Every [deported] Honduran mom we spoke to today said they will try again to illegally cross into the US." Murray and fellow NBC correspondent Stephanie Gosk reported from an immigration center in San Pedro Sula, Honduras that nearly every mother they interviewed said they "would leave Honduras again until they were permanently in the United States." In the same article, Murray and Gosk reported, "One young woman who arrived Friday with nearly 200 others told NBC News she has tried to flee Honduras three times in an effort to reach her family in New York. Upon her arrival back to San Pedro Sula, she said she planned to turn around and try again."

So keep hammering away Mr. Obama. It is a more politically correct tactic. But, as you can see, it is not a solution to the problem, and it is a huge waste of money.

What Mr. Obama and all Americans must eventually come to terms with in the debate over illegal immigration is that the point is mainly not about what is legal or fair, but rather what is practical and just (the more compassionate version of the word). When people are running for their lives, holding them to such noble principles is, well... a cruel joke. Unfortunately, they just don't have that luxury, and the United States can no longer ignore this and continue simply reaching for the hammer.