Korobov: Change our approach to immigration


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The summer of 2014 was not an ordinary one at the southern border of the United States; the Border Patrol apprehended more than 66,000 unaccompanied children. The phenomenon demonstrated a staggering 88 percent increase from the previous year. After our best and brightest in the government thought long and hard, they came up with a spectacular solution: flying the children in for free.

A new State Department initiative called the Central American Minors Program “provides some children a safe, legal, and orderly alternative to embarking on the dangerous journey, alone, to the U.S..” The program solely targets children under 21 in the countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Parents in the United States who are permanent residents or illegal immigrants who were granted deportation exemptions based on Obama’s recent executive action may apply to have their children flown in.

Technically, the children should fit the U.S. refugee requirements to qualify, but if they don’t, that doesn’t really matter. The program’s website states, “Children who don’t meet the definition of a refugee but are still at risk of harm may be eligible.” Because of the unstable nature of the included countries, the vague language means that virtually any child could be in the running.

The program proves once more that the government has no intention of curbing the illegal-immigration crisis. The incentives this program provides for illegal immigrants are incredible.

People can cross the border unlawfully, acquire work permits via the president’s executive action, and have their children flown in for free. While some of these children may be hardworking and well-intentioned, compassion is not free. Like everything else, it has a price tag that someone needs to pay.

The program places the needs of noncitizens over the interests of taxpayers. When Marie Harf, a spokeswoman for the State Department, was asked about the program’s cost, she replied, “The price tag? I don’t know.”

Advocates of the program will be quick to call out that America is a country of immigrants. While the United States has had many waves of immigration in the past (none of whom received free airplane rides), the country has changed dramatically since that time. Almost all of the publically funded social benefits available now were nonexistent during prior waves of mass immigration.

Because of these changes in the country’s social policies, immigrants must be carefully vetted so that their costs don’t outweigh their contributions. A child with refugee status will have access to free education, food stamps, medical care, and living expenses by law. The United States is more than $18 trillion in debt, and the overwhelming chunk of budgetary woes come from unsustainable social programs.

The Central American Minors Program is an insult to people of other nationalities who may want to come here. I know many dedicated international students at Iowa who must navigate through difficult hurdles to stay in the United States after graduation. The Central American program is unfair to them. These international students are hardworking and have spent years living here and learning American culture. Our immigration policy must be focused on identifying and bringing in people such as these students, who are best positioned to contribute to our society.

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