On Sunday, March 21, 2010, in the New York Times' "Week in Review section," Thomas L. Friedman, one of my heroes, wrote about the virtues of legal immigration in the U.S. As an example of its success he cited attending the 2010 Intel Science Talent Search dinner award ceremony, in Washington D.C. where he met many talented children, mostly from Asia and India, who had competed to win the one-hundred thousand dollars science award. For him it was a perfect example of "the magic that happens when you mix energetic, high aspiring people with a democratic system and free markets."
I agree that if the U.S. expects to attract and retain "the magic" born of innovation and necessity, the government must be prepared to draw first rate intellectual and skilled immigrants. There is no question. The first wave of Cuban migration in the late 1950s and early 1960s was another example of his sound argument. "However," he says "It must be done in an orderly fashion." In 1939, another hero echoed similar words only referring to a slightly different subject. That man David Sarnoff, a Russian Jewish immigrant from Minsk went on to create and mass market American television; a medium so novel in 1939 that its power to transform a person's life and the world was still unrecognized.
The argument that Friedman illustrates brings to mind the darker side of the immigration issue: child trafficking in America. On Thursday, March 25th, an open hearing will take place in Washington D.C. at the House of Representatives sponsored by Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. The issue at hand will be child trafficking. The witnesses testifying on the panel, though impressive, are only capable of bringing to the table their work experience in the field of child trafficking and at best conservative and negligible statistics.
In order to undertake the darker side of the immigration issue such as child trafficking, the government must now create (without having accurate data in place), a sustainable budget and measurement system that collates factual data and statistics. Secondly, it must allow the media i.e. the networks, to create an open forum and dialogue in which to deliberate the issue just like they have done so on other issues such as health care. None of this can happen without the contribution from ICE, Border Patrol, local, state and federal police agencies, NGOs, and all other government organizations working together to eradicate child sexual slavery in America.
As I cited in a previous Huffington Post blog titled "Congress Confirms over 100,000 American Slaves," the children who are sexually enslaved in America are not only increasingly U.S. born girls, they are immigrant and undocumented children who did not ask to be brought into the U.S. in the first place.
Last week, my friend the consummate Ambassador from Mexico, Arturo Sarukhan, disagreed with American officials who claimed that illegal immigration from Mexico poses a national security risk. Ambassador Sarukhan went on to say that undocumented workers are, "a challenge to the rule of law but immigrants are not a threat to the national security of the United States." He is partially correct.
The issue remains. Illegal migrants such as the child traffickers, coyotes, handlers and mules crossing from Mexico to the United States indeed pose a national security threat. And for one very simple reason: these particular undocumented immigrants (child traffickers, coyotes, handlers and mules), all work for one employer, the Mexican drug cartels. And the goal of that employer is simply to make money in the U.S. market in whatever manner possible, selling whatever commodity they need to sell be those: weapons, drugs or children.
And if you dare take this argument one step further you can safely conclude that a good percentage of those trafficked children by the time they turn of age -- if not dead or addicted -- will end up as the next generation's mules, handlers and coyotes.