Editorial: Feds have punted on migrant obligation

Thousands of migrants, released from the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection at points ranging from Brownsville to El Paso, are testing the resources of Texas cities charged with caring for them. The city of Uvalde was notified last week, during a meeting with U.S. Border Patrol officials from the Del Rio Sector, that as many as 25 migrants per day could be dropped off in our city.

That number pales in comparison with the multitude who have been bused to San Antonio with a one-way ticket, courtesy of the government. Unfortunately, that is where the fed’s largesse has ended, saddling Texas cities with a burden they should never have been forced to carry.

According to information from the Del Rio Sector, 11,840 family units were apprehended between Jan. 1 and April 30 and an estimated 6,000 people have crossed through the sector without being apprehended. Officials said the large number of family units had “overwhelmed” the Border Patrol’s “capacity to process and hold adults traveling with children.” As a result, the sector has been forced to release non-criminal family units in Del Rio and Eagle Pass.

The situation would not be so galling if the run-up to today’s problems had not long been obvious. As early as last September long lines of asylum seekers began to form at border crossings. Rather than provide the extra manpower necessary to process the influx, our government chose to talk about the problem  – which translates into doing nothing. For that reason, one almost wishes that the migrants could be bused to Washington, D.C., and housed in a tent city on the National Mall – where they could not be out of sight.

Since that is not going to happen, Texas cities will offer a hand, which is the humane and proper thing to do for people who are not here unlawfully, a status that can only be established once they have been vetted. In the meantime they are on parole, unable to work or care for themselves.

Some will insist that the migrants should have stayed at home. But you don’t claw your way north for a thousand miles with small children in tow, little money or food and a bag of meager possessions if staying put was an option. They come for no other reason than the alternative was death or worse. Their homelands – places in Central America like Guatemala and Honduras – have been subsumed by lawless gangs that rape, torture and murder the innocent to force them into submission. What parent wouldn’t make the trip to save their children?

So Texans will step up at this time of crisis, just as we have for refugees from other disasters like hurricanes Katrina and Rita. And we will wait patiently for our elected officials in Washington to stop talking and act.



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