Turn them back

I rarely read the Boston Globe anymore as it is simply a shill for the Democratic party. Today's propoganda had two headline stories about illegal immigrant children who were making incredible sacrifices to get to the U.S.. One was an 18-year-old girl who was sold into prostitution by her Mexican-cartel-member family at age 13. I went through a couple boxes of Kleenex (r) hearing this sad tale.

Last night, I was driving around and heard CBS News report another breathless story about a poor immigrant child with perfect English who was taken to the U.S. illegally by his parents, lived here for a while, and then he and his family were deported. Now he is back in Honduras where his father has been killed because he was a target for gangs after having opened up a shop with his U.S.-earned wealth. (Perhaps if we hadn't allowed that family across the border in the first place, the father would be alive today?)

The mainstream media has gotten its marching orders and is working overtime to sell the story. All these poor children need is to come to the United States and become citizens, right? After all, how heartless can we be to hear these stories of plight and "do nothing."

Our Governor Patrick can't take it anymore. Comparing this to the Nazi holocaust when the U.S. turned back a ship of Jewish refugees, Patrick has agreed to take 1,000 "children" and house them on Massachusetts air force bases for several months and then we will see what happens.

Anecdotally, it is hard to say no to someone who wants help. But this is exactly why we have countries and borders. If we allow everyone who "deserves" to come to the U.S. to get in, we will end up with millions of extra people that we can't afford and haven't asked for.

There is a way to allow immigrants to come to the U.S. legally. Congress sets quotas for new immigrants and there is a process. Why the process takes so long and costs so much isn't my department. Perhaps we can ask our President and Congress and whatever agency deals with this to speed things up so that people who follow the rules and the law can be admitted legally at a reasonable rate.

Instead, our political leaders in Washington have allowed this crisis to accelerate because it serves the long-term political agenda of many of the leaders in the Democratic Party. They seem to see no distinction between a needy U.S. citizen and a needy Honduran citizen.

President Obama wants no limits to his power. If Congress won't act, then he will use his pen and phone to do what he thinks is right. In most of society, ignoring the law like that is considered illegal. When Vladamir Putin ignores international laws and the treaties he has signed and lies about it, he is theoretically hit with sanctions and punished. But when Obama does it, his supporters cheer. Maybe this is why Obama has not taken firmer steps against Russian aggression. He thinks Putin is just using his pen and phone.

If you are a Democrat and you voted for Obama and you are now upset by the sorry state of affairs in the U.S. and overseas, just remember what the Democrats said as they enacted Obamacare: "Elections have consequences."

Having so many illegal aliens under threat of arrest and deportation in the U.S. is a recipe for disaster. It makes these people "shadow" residents who are much easier to exploit and may also turn to crime because they can't earn money legally. There are many costs to our society, from free healthcare (emergency-room visits) to various welfare benefits to things like higher car insurance rates to protect against the uninsured.

I don't think the typical Democratic voter thinks about these things and reasons out the implications of a perpetually open border. They probably feel that "immigrants are good" and "all of our families at one time were immigrants" and therefore it's not a big problem. And then we have the "mainstream media" trying to submit as many anecdotes as they can to convince Americans that all of these immigrants are just people in need, and shouldn't we be generous and give them help?

No one should be surprised that the majority of these kids invited to come to Massachusetts by Gov. Patrick will eventually be settled in our state and get public assistance. As someone said recently "all states have become border states." And with this influx of illegal immigrants will come an increase in disease, crime, poverty, welfare, and higher costs for healthcare, police, social services, education, etc.

Obama seems confused and is sending all sorts of mixed signals about this influx of humanity streaming across our border, but he's been pushing to allow illegal immigrants the rights of and a path towards citizenship for years. He has signed executive orders to start to implement his immigration goals and philosophy. In 2012, he decided that children would be given a reprieve from deportation for at least two years, and there were lines at "help centers" across the country. http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/15/us/immigration-deferred-deportation/. Do you think this got back to the residents of Central America?


When you have a successful free market economy, you achieve growth and stability and eventually wealth. The United States has proven this. Unfortunately, this then makes you a place where others wish to come. There are so many other countries where there is economic and political instability or lack of freedom that these foreigners see the United States as a great place to try to move to. They are smart to want to come here, of course, but we can't and shouldn't take in more than we want to, as expressed through our laws.

We get to choose who emigrates here. Those who come sharing the same philosophy and values are welcomed. Those who have skills that we need are invited. Even those who want to work hard at jobs most Americans don't want to do should be allowed to work and then travel home. Congress makes these rules and our border patrol should be enforcing them.

So it is simply a given and undebatable that those who wish to come to the U.S. illegally should be turned away at the border and sent back home. The alternative is to open the borders, ignore the laws, and open ourselves up to a host of unintended consequences too numerous to list.

If we had secure borders, and a reasonable quota policy, and rules that we expected immigrants to follow, a lot of this nonsense would stop. Let me give you a simple example.

Before this recent crisis, there were stories about the need for migrant workers to pick crops in California. So we setup our secure border and we tell people that anyone who is allowed to come and pick crops will be allowed into the country if they have a work permit and a place to go. Farms could have agents setup in Mexico that process this paperwork. Every worker is fingerprinted who is being given a work visa.

Then they come, work and leave when the work is done. Those that do not leave are put on a list which would require their deportation and being barred from reentry for life. So if they wish to stay illegally, they will never have the opportunity to come here to work again. You get one chance to act legally and if you overstay your welcome, and are caught, you may never return.

The loss of that future income stream would compel probably 95% of the workers to follow the rules. And if the program is consistent and workers know they will be unable to return if they break the law, their motivation to stay illegally would be much lower. (Now, of course, no one thinks they will be deported so they risk it. And if they are, they will just make the journey back again.)

So instead of arguing that our legal immigration quotas are too low and trying to pass an increase through Congress, the President and his allies have created a situation that is now out of control, and illegals are streaming into the country supported by the media who keep referring to them as "children" when most are adults. But the children and their parents are coming here because we have encouraged them to do so. Why else would it be happening all of a sudden and in such numbers? That can't be a coincidence.

I know it is hard to say No to the child with a bleak future in El Salvador or Guatamala. There are children all over the planet who could benefit from coming to the U.S. with our wealth and freedoms. But the way to do this is through a controlled process and perhaps a lottery in which we decide how many we want and can handle and we accept that number and no more.

And the others, as painful as it may be, must be turned away. We cannot accept every illegal immigrant who manages to find a way to reach our border and sneak across.

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2008 law only part of the story

I did a little research, reading an article in the New York Times on this law and the controversy surrounding it today. Here is the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/08/us/immigrant-surge-rooted-in-law-to-cu...

Evidently, about 50,000 unaccompanied minors have crossed the border with this law that says they can't just be deported without a more rigorous process than what happens with children in the same situation from Mexico (or Canada).

This is clearly an "unintended consequence" issue. Congress never wanted to treat children from Central America differently; they just assumed that any unaccompanied minor must be a victim of human trafficking to travel so far without their parents.

The article does not blame this 2008 law for the recent flow of child refugees six years later, although it may be partly to blame. It seems more likely to me that President Obama's decision not to deport minors which was done two years ago is a better fit.

While this law would not prevent the deportation of children, it does establish a process that we should follow. But do not confuse this with "rights" that these children have. They are not citizens.

By some estimates, there have been several hundred thousands of illegal immigrants that have come in the last year or two. Only the unaccompanied minor children are covered by this law.

Allen Nitschelm has lived in Acton since 1998 and writes about fiscal issues at the
local and state level. He is a former member of the town's Finance Committee
and is an Associate Publisher of Acton Forum.

Yes, Enforce the law

One of the last pieces of legislation signed into law by President Bush was the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008. This law was unanimously approved by both the House and the Senate.

Among other things, this legislation created special protected status for minor illegal aliens originating from countries that are not contiguous to the United States (i.e. south of Mexico) and directs the Health and Human Services Administration to take charge of these protected minors until such as time as they can receive an appropriate review of the circumstances that brought them to the border, the conditions they would face if returned home, the legal status of any relatives residing in the US, etc. Unaccompanied Mexican minors, in contrast, are still typically turned over to Mexican authorities.

The surge in children arriving at the border is the result of a number of different factors such as rising violence from narcotic trafficking in countries such as Honduras and Guatemala, continued crushing poverty in the wake of the financial crisis and, perhaps most importantly, misleading information about US immigration policy being spread by the very human trafficking operations that bring many of these children north.

It seems highly unlikely that the flow of children to our southern border is going to stop anytime soon and the bi-partisan law of the land demands that we care for them until we can figure out what to do with them. As you say, we cannot selectively decide which laws we will obey so until Congress actually takes up immigration reform in a serious manner there is little that the President or anyone else can do regarding this particular situation. Turning them back, as you suggest, is not an option.


Trafficking victims law?

Hi Michael,

I'm not a lawyer so whatever steps are legally required should be taken. We agree. But I would not lift a finger to do anything more than what we are required to do and the goal is to repatriate these illegal immigrants (children and adults) back to their country of origin as quickly as possible.

That being said, the law (based on its title) was clearly designed to deal with a different situation than what we are presented with today. "Trafficking victims" has to do, I presume, with unaccompanied minors who have been sold as sex slaves, migrant workers, or something similar. And, again this is my assumption, the law was meant to apply to a child here and a child there, not 50,000+ in a mass migration. Am I wrong?

Furthermore, I have read that there are several pending bills to change the language so that children from Central America will be dealt the same way as children from Mexico and Canada. This implies that Congress passed a law with unintended consequences that some seek to fix.

My guess is that no one envisioned a mass migration of children across countries like we have seen, and because of that, the trafficking law was passed to solve a completely different problem.

Now that you have shown a great expertise in this area, let me ask you a question. If we must keep the children because of this trafficking law, what about the adults? Can they be turned back lawfully, or is there some other law that would prevent that as well? Just asking...

Thanks for your informed input!


Allen Nitschelm has lived in Acton since 1998 and writes about fiscal issues at the
local and state level. He is a former member of the town's Finance Committee
and is an Associate Publisher of Acton Forum.

Not a Lawyer Either


I'm not a lawyer either but I am pretty sure that the law in question applies only to minors from non-contiguous countries. I have not read about any particular increase in adults from these same countries trying to enter the country but, yes, I believe they would be deported through the existing process. For what it is worth, total deportations are up substantially under the Obama administration but some of this increase may be due to changes in the way deportations are classified and counted.

Also, I have no idea what Congress intended with this law (most of them don't seem to even read the bills they pass) but there is a very real human trafficking component to this story. Many of these children are brought to our border by so-called coyote human smugglers, typically paid by relatives already here in the U.S. and they reportedly charge anywhere from several thousand to as much as ten thousand dollars per child, with a cut of the profit going to the various drug cartels to purchase safe passage. With more than 50,000 children arriving just this year, it is easy to see how this can add up to tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars for the smugglers.


Please be fair

Hi Michael,

You say you have "no idea" what Congress intended with this law. Seriously?

Since when does Congress pass something unanimously? If you've done any research at all, which I think you have, then you know full well that this was a law to stop the exploitation of children by human traffickers.

Had Congress known that this would create a loophole allowing unaccompanied minors to be given further protections if they got across the border, and not as a law designed to stop human trafficking, then I'm sure it would have been written differently (and many Republicans would have objected to it if it wasn't.)

I agree that there are some children who are being exploited, but not in the way you imagine. "Coyotes" are paid for their transportation service, and kids are NOT doing the paying. Something else clearly is going on.

I think you are being disingenuous if you are trying to make the claim that this law was really meant to address the situation at hand. This is a clear case of "unintended consequences." Please admit it.

According to Breitbart, the majority of these kids are teenagers and have already been sent to live with "relatives" although no one has checked if they are in fact related or if the "relatives" are also illegally in the country.

And I have read that there are over 200,000 illegals that have come in recently, four times the estimated number of "children."


Allen Nitschelm has lived in Acton since 1998 and writes about fiscal issues at the
local and state level. He is a former member of the town's Finance Committee
and is an Associate Publisher of Acton Forum.

Patch Comment (3)

Patch does not allow for multiple comment posts, so I am putting the responses here.


Catherine Meeks July 23, 2014 at 07:38 am
I'm no psychologist but I see a very angry person with unresolved issues!


Allen Nitschelm
Hi Catherine, Honestly, no. Please don't mistake passion for anger.

But I do appreciate the personal attack. Why is it that so many posters here are interested in impugning the reputation or motives of someone when they disagree with the argument?

Allen Nitschelm has lived in Acton since 1998 and writes about fiscal issues at the
local and state level. He is a former member of the town's Finance Committee
and is an Associate Publisher of Acton Forum.

Patch Comment (2)

The Patch Comment section is apparently not working properly, so I have copied some Patch comments and will list my replies below. Allen.


Carol Zeroual July 22, 2014 at 09:06 AM

You sound like a pretty heartless person, must be Republican. BTW, your relatives were once poor immigrants, too.


Carol Zeroual July 22, 2014 at 02:55 PM

Allen, aren't we so fortunate to live here. Isn't it nice to be one of the fortunate ones living in a country where the brutality, corruption, and uncontrolled gang violence aren't part of our daily lives? Where there is not the constant threat of violence? We are very fortunate, indeed....

Allen Nitschelm has lived in Acton since 1998 and writes about fiscal issues at the
local and state level. He is a former member of the town's Finance Committee
and is an Associate Publisher of Acton Forum.

Response to Patch Comment (2)


I don't normally respond to ad hominen attacks because they are usually made by people who can't argue points logically so they must resort to other methods.

But I agree with you that America is a great place and we are all fortunate to be living here. It is a shame that we can't wave a magic wand and bring peace, love, and prosperity to all corners of the globe simultaneously and immediately. But we can't.

So as a society, we have a right to self-preservation, we have a right to be fair to members, and we have a right to decide to help others. The process we use to accomplish all this is democracy. That process has created an immigration system that allows thousands of people to move to the U.S. each year and eventually become citizens. We help many people, but not all of them.

You are arguing that our whole system should be put at risk, or perhaps worse, that people who believe in the law and democracy should have those beliefs thrown out the window, so we can illegally accept, feed, clothe, educate, and give other benefits to non-citizens who are citizens of another country and who break our laws to take advantage of our big heart and our wealth.

Somebody has to say "no" to this. And then there are others who will say "yes" to everyone regardless of the costs, even if those costs are unknown and perhaps too great to bear.

You have a right to say "yes" but you don't have a right to do so outside of our political system. Your "yes" translates into votes for people that agree with you and when those people get the majority of votes from all Americans, they will get elected and be able to enact laws that you would support.

In the meantime, unless you believe in allowing unlawful behavior by our elected officials, we should all agree that the law should be followed.

If you don't, then the next time that someone else wants a law broken which you would like enforced, who is going to stand up and object? Or are you going to decide unilaterally which laws we shall follow and which we won't?

Allen Nitschelm has lived in Acton since 1998 and writes about fiscal issues at the
local and state level. He is a former member of the town's Finance Committee
and is an Associate Publisher of Acton Forum.

Patch Comment (1)

The Acton Patch website appears to have a glitch in accepting comments, so I am going to reprint some of the posted comments with my reply.

KarenL July 22, 2014 at 01:03 PM
Dear Allen, it is interesting that you start off with the announcement of the Boston Globe for its Democrat Party bias. Would it then not be fair, to announce your bias? That being that you despise President Obama and all he stands for. That you blame him for all things that go wrong in this country. That you feel to your core that he can do nothing right. Why not state this? Or better yet, why not try a fair and balanced fact filled opinion? This is sorely missed in this opinion and many other articles in the press. Trying to balance a bias with an opposing bias just doesn't add anything or change anything. (I observe the widening of the gap between biases.) Think of the good you could do and the void you could fill. ps. If your ancestors arrived before 1882 and were not Chinese, convicts, slaves, or prostitutes, then there were not the border restrictions that there are today.

Allen Nitschelm has lived in Acton since 1998 and writes about fiscal issues at the
local and state level. He is a former member of the town's Finance Committee
and is an Associate Publisher of Acton Forum.

Reply to KarenL on Patch

Dear Karen,

Thanks for your post.

The Boston Globe is the major journalistic media group in the Boston market. It's news articles and news operation should be "unbiased" and its political views should be contained solely on the editorial pages. Unfortunately, the Globe fails in this regard. Its news coverage is quite slanted on a number of levels.

My blog and my website are not "journalistic" enterprises. We have no paid staff and don't even have freelance reporters. My blog content is "my opinion only." I make no claim that the pieces I write are unbiased.

So it is unfair of you to compare the two.

Second, I despise President Obama because of his actions and policies. It is not personal. He is a socialist, he lied repeatedly to the American people, he is bending and breaking the law to achieve his goals, he has put our country at risk through over-spending and debt, and his foreign policy has been a total disaster and has made the world a much more dangerous place. Other than that, he's a great guy.

Third, my ancestors arrived over a hundred years ago, some on the Mayflower. There were some immigration laws back then (Ellis Island turned back many would-be emigrants for public health reasons and perhaps other reasons as well) but even if there weren't, that wouldn't give current emigrants the justification of ignoring our laws. That is totally illogical.

It would be like saying that you could travel at any speed on the highway because 50 or 100 years ago, there were no speed limits.

Allen Nitschelm has lived in Acton since 1998 and writes about fiscal issues at the
local and state level. He is a former member of the town's Finance Committee
and is an Associate Publisher of Acton Forum.

Open borders is a better solution

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) recently had an editorial (In Praise of Huddled Masses (Cont'd)) on the US immigration policy (http://online.wsj.com/articles/gordon-crovitz-in-praise-of-huddled-masse...). The WSJ would be difficult to characterize as a liberal paper.
This editorial was at total variance with the nonsense that you present in your blog post. In particular, your economic impact assessment appears to be based mostly on hear-say/opinion and has been refuted by numerous assessments based on looking at real numbers.
The primary opposition to immigration reform has been businesses that are able to more readily exploit workers who are “illegals”.
The WSJ editorial concluded with a summary that is worth repeating:
"America, above all, is a nation founded upon optimism. . . . The issue is not what we offer the teeming masses, but what they offer us: their hands, their minds, their spirit, and above all the chance to be true to our own past and our own future."

Walt Tetschner

Are you kidding me?

You seriously believe that "open borders is a better solution?"

So we should just have one big hemisphere and allow total freedom of movement from all other countries to the U.S.?

Boatloads of people from the southern hemisphere would just be the start of our problems. What about people who can cobble together enough money for a plane ride from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, or wherever? Pretty soon, the things that make America different and special would be long gone.

As far as the Wall Street Journal reference goes, they have long been proponents of more legal immigration. The link you reference is one columnist's opinion. From a "business" standpoint, there are many reasons to support more immigration because you have more buyers and more workers. I believe the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is like-minded.

I don't believe it is their policy to open up the borders. They may support giving amnesty to those already in the country, but in my view, we did that 20 years ago as a one-time program and we should not repeat it.

I completely agree that we could have more LEGAL immigration. But illegal immigration has so many unintended consequences that it should be stopped.

But open borders? No way, no how.

Allen Nitschelm has lived in Acton since 1998 and writes about fiscal issues at the
local and state level. He is a former member of the town's Finance Committee
and is an Associate Publisher of Acton Forum.


Let's see, why don't we cut the salaries and perks of all politicians and apply the millions saved to assisting those who are in need? We lack the energy. Why don't we recycle more of our waste and pay a little more for recycled/recyclable products? We lack the energy. Why don't we assist those who are less fortunate by volunteering a day or two a week? We lack the energy.

Is it energy we lack or compassion? A country of our size and wealth can easily accept 100,000 child immigrants and yet we hesitate. We send our children to foreign lands to die for nothing but politics. Can't we take in people of true need so they might live?

Can we take in the truly needy?

Hi Doug,

Sure we can. Most countries are members of the U.N., and if there is a humanitarian disaster, I would be in favor of an international solution in which each country takes in X% of immigrants.

But that's just my opinion. Perhaps others would continue to object. That's why we have a democracy and elected representatives. If opinions about immigration have changed, then we should change the law.

If there isn't the will (or the votes) to change the law, then it doesn't get changed.

Either way, the "system" is working as designed and we should allow immigration according to the law. Anything else is anti-democratic.

Now, if you are arguing that President Obama should ignore the laws and the Constitution and do whatever the hell he wants, then he is your man, because that is what he is doing. It must be comforting for him to know that he is so wise and powerful that he can unilaterally make these decisions that run contrary to our Constitution. What a guy.

And by your argument, I assume you support this unlawful behavior. Fine.

What happens when he decides to come after you? Let's say you are collecting social security and Obama decides that we can no longer afford to pay lawful benefits, so he will just cut them. Don't come crying to me or your Congressman that this behavior is illegal, unlawful, unjustified, etc.

You can't support the illegal acts of our President just when you happen to agree with him. Either we have a system where the President is subject to the laws, or one in which Presidential power and authority is supreme and Congress takes a backseat. Is that the country you want?

Allen Nitschelm has lived in Acton since 1998 and writes about fiscal issues at the
local and state level. He is a former member of the town's Finance Committee
and is an Associate Publisher of Acton Forum.