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Thread: The astonishing cost and impact of an open border

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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    The astonishing cost and impact of an open border

    The astonishing cost and impact of an open border

    August 9, 2014 By Frederick Hunt 0 Comments
    Photo by Eric Gay-PoolGetty Images

    America’s southern border is being overrun with children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, at a frightening pace. The Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC’s) have catapulted to a rate of 9,000 monthly according to Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) data, which does not include those children that are accompanied by an adult.

    The estimates from varying agencies report up to 65,000 UAC’s in FY2014 ending on Sept 30. At the current rate of border crossings, FY2015 could bring in another 90,000.

    The rate of increase has made startling jumps since April of this year. The causes for this are divided into push or pull factors. Home country poverty, violence, unemployment and increasing gang activities are the list of most of the push factors. The general appeal of the American dream has driven much of the influx, or pull factors, however, something additional has fanned the flames most recently.

    Changes in the Immigration laws to reflect a more humanitarian treatment to those trying to gain entry to our country have softened the restraints for entry as exemplified by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008 which affects asylum claims, trafficking victim protections and eligibility for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. An additional initiative, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was added by the administration in 2012, which provided an extended period of two years for certain children before a hearing to determine their status. Those actions along with legalization provisions in proposed Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR), which included reference specifically to the unaccompanied child arrivals, have created the perception for many, that if children could get to America, they could stay.

    Our current laws treat immigrants from contiguous countries (Mexico and Canada) differently. Citizens of those countries intercepted at our borders can be turned directly over to the Mexican or Canadian authorities and sent back home. Not so with Central America, they are treated according to much looser requirements as found in these new sets of laws.

    The administration has decried the perception of open borders for these UAC’s and others and tried to quell the increasing tide of children, but a new industry has been born bringing children from the three non-contiguous neighbors to the south, to our borders, where they turn themselves into the Border Patrol, or whichever entity intercepts or greets them.

    It is written in our laws, specifically the TVPRA, that a UAC “be promptly placed in the least restrictive setting that is in the best interest of the child.” The Homeland Security Act (HSA) of 2002 requires the ORR to develop a plan to ensure the timely appointment of legal counsel for each UAC and ensure that additional legal and custodial responsibilities are appropriately provided.

    Much of this is appropriate procedure and safeguards as long as there are facilities and personnel to provide them. At 9,000 UAC per month, that is 300 new arrivals every day to a system that has no room or assigned personnel. Border Patrol Agents are often put in the position of providing personal services for the comfort and wellbeing of these children.

    The program is being met with substantial pushback from many of the towns, cities and states to which these children are transported by bus or plane. The costs to provide all of the services required for these children are an added burden to communities and states that have strained budgets already.

    The question most frequently asked is why don’t we secure the border? And, there is no rational reason forthcoming from the administration, which leads to speculation in many directions, most of which are not flattering.

    At the same time, there is a “humanitarian” flag being waved by those in favor of loosening enforcement of even these programs. Just this past Wednesday, August 6, Joe Biden joined this bandwagon by stating,
    These are not somebody else’s kids, these are our kids.
    At the time, Biden was addressing attorneys and legal groups who met to discuss how the Central American immigrants should be represented. This populist movement has attracted many officials and celebrities who believe America should be the haven for not only this new wave of “refugees,” but for downtrodden children anywhere. This open border concept is humanitarian, but financially foolish if not fatal for the economy.

    The recent request by the administration for $3.7 billion for relief of the current chaos on the border was met with substantial objection by both democrats and republicans alike. The most common objections were to incorporate into any such bill a securing of the border requirement and a modification of some of the legislation that has precipitated the problem. No matter what objections there are that this was not meant to be, it has legitimately been interpreted by the Central American countries as “If you can get to America, you can stay.” The legal aspects notwithstanding, photos of children of all ages being herded on any form of transportation to be deported back to their strife torn homeland is political suicide. The practical fact is that most of these new guests in our country are going to stay.

    The president’s request for $3.7 billion as a supplemental appropriation for FY2014 was made up of $1.8 billion HHS’s Refugee and Entrant Assistance program for care of the UAC’s, $433 billion for CBP (Customs and Border Protection), $1.1 billion for transportation and enforcement and removal costs and for expanding enforcement efforts in the primary sending countries,$64 million for DOJ to fund additional immigration judges, attorneys, and court personnel, $300 million for repatriation and reintegration support and media campaigns in Central America. Without dissecting this request it is likely a reasonable estimate for an emergency response to the current chaos on the border.

    The administration’s intransigence in facing the issues of securing the border and modifying some of the enabling legislation as part of this appropriation request has stymied it in the Congress, who are now on a five week vacation. If people can accept that funding in the $3 to $4 billion range is necessary for the accepting and processing of this burgeoning crowd of children and adults through the southern border and into some form of shelter and care in this country, then they must also make some estimate of the continuing cost of the UAC’s support for as long as they may stay.

    Texas put out a rather comprehensive report in January 2014: “The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on Texans.” Without going through the methods and assumptions for costs in this report, it provides a template for making some reasonable estimates for the major categories of cost which are:

    Category of Cost Est. cost in $/yr/UAC
    Education $11,000
    Healthcare $3,600
    Public Assistance $3,600
    Law Enforcement $600
    General Government Assistance $300
    Bilingual Education Support $1,800
    Total $20,900
    Table 1. Estimate of cost per year for each UAC

    There can be legitimate discussion regarding the value for any of the above categories, but the cost of education came directly from the Bureau of Census data for 2010. That estimate could be higher for 2014 and beyond, but is satisfactory for the general concept of the costs involved. Using a figure of $20,000 per year per UAC is not unreasonable. Currently there are approximately 100,000 UAC’s in the system, which comes to $2 billion a year. However, without securing the border, the estimates for next year hover near an additional 100,000 UAC’s. That would mean for FY2015 there must be appropriated nearly $4 billion for continuing costs and very likely another $2 billion for the additional processing costs associated with those categories in the president’s appropriation request for FY 2014.

    All told, the cost for the border crisis has leapt to almost $6 billion/yr and climbing. It is not clear how this will be handled. It is not a program that can be cancelled by decree. It is happening now and the only hope for diminishing the flow is for more border security and modification of the legislation that is encouraging this migration.

    The leverage that is causing this stymie is the need and promise of major immigration reform, which appears to be a Mexican standoff between parties, with border security and amnesty being the crucial issues. Compromises offered by either side are summarily rejected, which in normal times may be how our system works. But, the chaos on the borders cannot wait for that play to unfold. Currently, funds are being redirected from other agencies’ FY2014 budgets to handle the most severe emergencies, but the programs being cut back are not of a nature that they can be stolen from for long.

    This legislative gridlock cannot stand. The humanitarians must understand that marching more children into this cauldron does not help. The picture of Border Patrol agents changing diapers and feeding children is an open invitation for unimpeded border crossings by groups interested in more than becoming Americans. With the increasing threats to attack the homeland from aspiring terrorists groups around the world, the chaos on the border becomes much more than a domestic squabble about feeding and clothing UAC’s.


  2. #2
    Senior Member vistalad's Avatar
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    Young foreigners pour in, while support for our own foster children typically terms out at age 18. And photos reveal that many of these "children" are actually teens and young adults who will be competing with the poorest Americans for entry level jobs.

    If 'Bama were actually trying to help these "children", it could be done in their home countries for pennies on the dollar. Let's face it, this is just another example of 'Bama thumbing his nose at the American people.
    Amelrican first in this magnificent country

    American jobs for American workers

    Fair trade, not free trade
    Newmexican likes this.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Heart of Dixie
    Ecclesiastes 10:2
    (NIV) - "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left."

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