Guest Editorial: "Two immigration problems"

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Since October over 57,000 children have been brought into the United States illegally, most from Central America by profiteering smugglers misrepresenting a 2008 U.S. immigration law to the parents who fear for their children's safety.

This is a crisis for those children.  And while they are here because of lax border control which is part of an American immigration policy that woefully needs reform, the two issues are not the same.

Our nation's immigration problem is how to deal with the 11 million people already living here illegally.  The 420,000 who were arrested last year as they attempted to enter the U.S. illegally was the lowest since 1973.

These 57,000 children need to be treated as children first, then as illegal immigrants.  The 2008 law requires that they be given a hearing and not be summarily deported.  Until Congress changes that law, we must abide by it.

Don't confuse these two immigration issues.  Yes, we must correct the 11 million consequences of a bad immigration policy and secure our borders.  But right now we have a moral obligation to treat these children with compassion until their fates are decided.

That means spending money and housing them in someone's back yard.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.