Set the children free

Matt Westerhold
Jul 5, 2014

Protestors and anti-protestors faced off last week as the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol transported busloads of immigrant children to temporary relocation centers in California.

The worked-up Americans stood with signs saying “Illegals out” and “Return to sender.” They stopped the buses and turned back the children in Murrieta, Calif.

The protestors sit atop a high horse declaring what's theirs is theirs and nobody else can have it. It doesn't seem, that turning away children, is an act of courage or cowardice.

Thankfully, enter the anti-protestors, carrying signs declaring their anti-protest and giving hope that the immigration debate is kept alive.

“We are one nation of immigrants;” “No one is illegal;” “We are all Americans;” and “We are all humans.”

If the slogans on the signs are the movement, the anti-protestors win — hands-down — with the message of Mandela, of Ghandi or Martin Luther King Jr. and RFK.

The message of the anti-protestors is 'we come in peace to defend the human rights of children to be protected and safe.'

The signs, slogans and messages from protestors, on the other hand, come designed to educate, to protect, to defend and to allege. The politically charged dialogue leads to a cacophony of misinformation designed to defeat compromise.

“What part of illegal don't you understand?” and “The U.S. is not responsible for supporting a failed nation: Mexico.”

The issue of immigration, so misunderstood and used as a political wedge and rhetorical tool to dissuade compromise, has always put roadblocks in the way of expanding freedom, at home and abroad.

It might be those Americans who must become enlightened, or become extinct over time and generations, before immigration issues get resolved. Only strong beliefs — as misguided as they might be — can energize someone to protest.

Giving energy to a cause against children is itself a cause, a cause for concern. The sloganeering and the message from that restricted viewpoint needs combating. It should trigger a community conversation about freedoms and the responsibilities a nation that perceives itself as free has to other nations and populations.

Those global responsibilities go at the very core of what it means to be free, and what it means to believe in the ideal of freedom, the American ideal.

The signs carried by protestors show a depth of understanding that anti-protestors see as shallow and lacking respect for human dignity, and for true support of that American ideal.

Some reaction to a recent column on that topic seemed to mirror that restating the protest, and the anti-protest, from the limited perspective and the wider one, respectively.


On June 23, 2014, 8:50 a.m. Thinkagain wrote, “OK, we won’t call children illegal. How about we call them unwanted? You know, like the godless liberals call the unborn, right before they maim and murder them. Hypocrisy, thy name is Liberal.

The reader wants to protect the unborn but is OK with sending living children away to face an uncertain future.


On June 23, 2014, 6 a.m. Mum-Of-One wrote, “The USA is a civilized nation with educated people. The lack of compassion is astounding. These children are victims of circumstance yet the comments refer to them as less human than any American and that is saddening. These children have the potential to be great citizens and they will understand compassion because of their struggle. Maybe they could teach that compassion one day if given the chance.”

She gets it.


On June 23, 2014, 1:37 p.m. Bottom Line writes, “I'm offended by Matt being offended by a commenter correctly labeling an illegal immigrant as an illegal immigrant.”

and, finally…

On June 21, 2014, 1:02 p.m. Bottom Line writes, “Of all the columns of Matt's I've read, this one is the worst. And that's really saying something.” 


Dr. Information

Here we go again. Illegal is illegal Matt. Clearly you do not understand that. Yet another trash article. Free the children......back to Mexico and come here the legal way.

Licorice Schtick

Re: "The protestors sit atop a high horse..."

Methinks the Managing Editor's horse is higher.

But, hey, if it gets the clicks, what's a little trolling among friends..


Dr. Misinformation: They aren't FROM Mexico, jackasp.
That's why the Bush Law signed December 23, 2008 says they must be placed in safe, least-restrictive environment by Childrens Services within 72 hours and given representation in an immigration hearing.


Mr. Westerhold:

You continue to not see this terrible situation as self-created.

1. Pres. Obama suspends the deportation of illegal immigrant juveniles who were brought here as children.

"Obama also created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gives a more formal reprieve from deportation to so-called Dreamers, undocumented young people who entered the U.S. as children."

2. This action becomes misconstrued in Central America in that the U.S. is not deporting children. They then began to arrive in droves (approx. 60,000 at last count).

NOW, Mr. Obama is taking action on the border to halt the influx.

Nothing quite like the quixotic activity of causing and attempting to solve his own self-made problems and then per usual blaming it on someone else.

Licorice Schtick

Yes, self-created, to a degree, but not entirely, and much of the blame lies with the stupidity of American voters and the resulting dysfunctional legislative branch that's now incapable of solving even trivial problems, much less formulating an effective response to this monumental one.

While you could argue that Obama's actions made things worse, you can make a better case that deporting fewer children and focusing on adults instead serves the interest of justice.

At the root is a matter of simple economics; in Mexico, many people, acting predictable in their own self-interest, find the low risk of illegally entering the U.S. well worth the potential reward.

Wars have been fought over smaller problems.


Another misinformed commentator (surprise surprise). These children come under a law quietly signd by GEORGE W. BUSH 23 December 08 as a last gasp. The law specifically speaks about illegal immigrant unescorted children from nations OTHER THAN MEXICO and Canada.


@ Mr. Westerhold:

I saw a report, which stated that the Murrieta Immigration Detention Center was originally built to house captured illegal drug offenders.

The facility is Spartan, i.e. five large holding pens with concrete floors. The conditions are not suitable for women and children.


And the Bush law (see above)^^^^ says they must be housed in the least restrictive environment within 72 hours and provided an attorney and a hearing. Children Services is required to find families or foster care. Again... it's a BUSH LAW originally intended to thwart child pornography.


Re: "The protestors sit atop a high horse declaring what's theirs is theirs and nobody else can have it."

@ Mr. Westerhold:

So in light of the above, would it be acceptable to you to have swarms of mothers with their children show up at your residence, whereby you would give them indefinite free room and board?



Bottom Line


That was exactly the question I proposed to Matt last time he wrote this journalistic garbage. And like me, you won't get a straight answer either. Here was my quote since Matt likes to point them out:

Move your daughter to one of those border counties that can't keep hospitals open and has out of control violent crime rates due to illegal immigrants. Are you going to volunteer to take them into your own home? Provide for them with YOUR own money? A bunch of illegals with bed bugs and other diseases. Gonna move them into the bed room next to your daughter? Since you care so much. No instead just have our tax dollars pay for everything. And never hold the failed state of Mexico accountable for the poverty that exists. Or any other country. We'll take everyone. Sure why not.

But no he just wants to pass them off and they can be someone else's problem. Typical.

It doesn't matter if they're 8 or 80. An ILLEGAL ALIEN is an illegal alien. And illegal alien is NOT an interchangeable term with legal immigrant no matter how much Matt wants them to be.


Again... read the BUSH LAW that provides for children services to place these children within 72 hours in a least-restrictive environment.

Anybody hear about the Orphan Trains that took refugee European children to the Plains states?


Why aren't any of you addressing the compassion issue? These kids are running for their lives. As a child didn't you want to grow up to be an adult? If an abused and scared child asked you for help would you help or ask if they are illegal first? There is no easy answer and I definitely don't have the answers but the protesters are an embarrassment to America and the rest of the world. Is this what "exceptional" means?


Lets talk compassion. Children are dieing because Obama made a statement opening our borders for illegals to drag their kids across deserts to throw them across the border. If he would not have made the statement this flood would never have happened, So he is in effect responsible for not only the influx of illegals but also the deaths of those who die along the way.
What kind of monster would use children as a political ploy? Oh yeah Obama.


That was stupid.


I really cannot say i expect anything more from you. Insults and deflection is all you really have isn't it?
You do know they give out SS to retarded people?


Your statement WAS stupid. The kids are not here because of anything Obama did. This is a humanitarian crisis that has to be dealt with by logical, practical thinking people. You always troll around on here behind me with your ridiculous posts. Don' just GO AWAY, GO THE HELL AWAY!

Facts must actually be painful to you.
As for logical, practical people that is the last thing you liberals are. As for going away it is amusing to see you "Tolerant liberals" Show your true colors.



Do you really think that what you say is worth paying attention to ?

So retarded people get SS ?
How much do you get a month ?


WRONG AGAIN Donut! These children rushed to the US because of a law signed by GEORGE W. BUSH 23 December 2008 providing that immigrant children from nations EXCEPT MEXICO AND CANADA would be protected, placed with families or in foster care within 72 hours and provided attorneys and hearings. Might wanna do some research BEFORE you spew... oh, but that's not your style, huh?


The children finally got the memo about a law signed 5 1/2 years ago in a country 1200 miles away and all decided to come to the US now? Seems someone is grasping at straws to put blame somewhere.


How did all of these children get from El Salavador, Guatamala, and Honduras to the U.S./Mexican border? You can bet they didn't get there all by themselves. Someone had to be helping them. And then the president of El Salvador wants to come here and make sure they are being taken care of properly? How about she takes care of them properly at home so they wouldn't have to come here! Cut off all foreign aid to these countries and use it to secure our borders and take care of our poor, disabled and seniors that are already citizens.


The low information types are a clear and present danger to our nation.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Deer, I understand your concern for compassion and assisting a child. I share it too. However, we aren't talking about one child that has somehow made it across the border as an anomaly. We are talking about thousands and thousands of purposeful crossings. These children ("children" in some cases as I believe the President wanted to exempt those into their early 30s from deportation) that have no idea about our culture, values, language (with them being illiterate in their own language let alone English), laws, are carrying diseases such as TB, have been used by adult illegals as a free(r) pass to cross, have been raped, injured (or think how many never get to cross because they are dead for various reasons), sold into various nefarious services of which being a drug mule is the kindest, etc.

The problem here is that these kids may very well be seeking refuge, but if we allow this to happen there will be an unending tide of children always doing it. Into perpetuity. For all future Congresses and Presidents to come. Yes, this President is partly to blame with a flippant attitude toward immigration and all the things he said about not deporting minors. But it isn't his burden alone, he just hasn't helped things.

We need to address the source of what is causing the kids to flee. In this case it seems to be garbage governments in Central America. But are we to overtake, annex them to make them not armpits of the world? Or are we to leave those governments to figure themselves out through civility (or revolution) and build our southern border up to prevent these tragedies from happening?

Deporting them back is fair to the citizens who are already here and under-served by our own government and resources as well as sends the message to the populations in other countries that you can't just expect to be taken care of here.

I made this comparison before: If there was a puppy mill next door to you, deer, would you continually try to find homes for the sick and poorly adjusted dogs? Or, would you attempt to shut down the puppy mill that is the source of the inhumane, public health problem? Does your love for puppies get to usurp the rest of the neighborhood who doesn't want that to affect it? It's amazing how the EPA will shut down roads and power plants (for public good let alone private development) for mice and turtles, but if a city doesn't want thousands of possibly diseased, illiterate, criminal, and needy non-citizens? THEY are the bad people?

(As an aside, many of these questions are rhetorical and not implying you are making statements against which I lodge questions.)

One big group (as a minority, if that makes them special in some way) that seem to have had nobody pay attention to them or get their attention are those who have come here legally as immigrants. They have gone through the system, paid the fines, attended court and classes, and did everything by the book including swearing the vows of naturalization.

This isn't just old, fat white people holding signs and going "we don't take kindly to those what don't take kindly - 'MURRICA!" These are Asians, Europeans, those from the same countries who churn out these children too who are asking, "Why did we even bother then?"

Who is being represented? Who gets the priority here? This isn't a petty bickering over wild dogs vying for the last scrap. This is the fact that U.S. citizens (by birth or legal naturalization) are being told their concerns, need for service, and tax money aren't as important as those who aren't citizens and broke the law in coming here let alone have no investment yet in the country - just imaginary potential. Citixens are seeing those they sent to represent them in D.C. are more interested in representing those who didn't and can't even legally vote for said representation.

The U.S. may be a "nation of immigrants" but it isn't a free-for-all buffet to the world where we are legally nor morally obliged to be the "crazy cat lady/hoarder" of the undeveloped world. If those who cross say they are fleeing crime, what of our own citizens who live in crime-infested pockets of the U.S.? Who can't get enough to eat? Who live in filth and poverty?

So what are the answers?

Turn them back. It is a humane way to respect the citizenry and send a message to those governments that it isn't we don't want to take in their own, but that we just can't. Train/educate those governments in how they can legally recommend immigration to their citizens to do things the right way as many have and still do. Then, set up a hard border on the south. Where do we get the money for that?

It will be cheaper than caring for all these kids in the long run (at least if we draw a parallel to what those say who are in favor of preventing conception/aborting unwanted children - a separate discussion not necessary to have here). Besides, with the military as supposedly bloated with cash as many claim, call it a national security project and use military money to establish the physical barriers. Why physical? Because moral nor legal barriers seem to have an effect and have been tried and failed for many years now.

I truly appreciate the chance at discussion (as long-winded as I may be), deer. Please take any of the above as suggestions to answer your own question about solutions, morality, and exceptionalism. You know, too, you can always call out the things that I say if you want to counter-point them or continue the discussion!

EDIT: Also, deer, you may want to look into this movement for additional answers to what we can do with our immigration system: FAIR - Federation for American Immigration Reform.

seriously 1137

I completely agree with everything you stated. ALSO, why do people think the poverty, crime, horrid living conditions and abuse ends when the kids get to America. What about HUMAN TRAFFICING? These poor families are promised their kids and family members can be smuggled in safely. Once here, they'll just have to work a year or a few month cleaning houses or in restaurants until the debt (of transport to the US) is paid off. ..When many of these people are being traded and or extorted in prostitution, and other dangerous crime rings. Family's believe they are being taken care of when I can guarantee there is a larger number anyone could guess of "missing" illegal immigrants who are sadly lost in a system much worse than what they came from. Promoted or forgiving illegal immigrants has nasty side effects for ALL involved


Herozone.... YOU might want to check the law signed by GEORGE W. BUSH in December 2008.

It specifies that children from countries other than Mexico would be admitted without question. The law was signed because Central American children were being brought in illegally for CHILD PORNOGRAPHY. The law is very specific and is tying the hands of anyone who wants to deport the children without hearing.
REGISTER. what happened to the policy about unreasonably long posts.
HEROZONE... as you can see, it doesn't take much to 'cull' as opposed to 'call' out your points.
Just read the law.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Report me if you don't like me, Ann. It's that little button called "Alert Us". Meanwhile you spam the boards with the same thing over and over again and I've not said a word about it because, like me, you are putting yourself on display for others to read and judge.

Which of my points have you culled/called out? Over which mound do you stand triumphant with your flag planted and flapping in the breeze? Perhaps in my lengthy reply to deertracker you completely missed the context of the entire paragraphs-long reply that indicated looking at long-term solutions and long-term humane ways to prevent this from happening. Each paragraph, mind you, written with that context in mind.

Have a wonderfully fantastic day. Remember, if you want to report me all you have to do is hit that button a bunch of times. That's all it takes. Yup. Just report someone who doesn't call others names, cites his sources, calls for civil discourse, and makes as complete a thought as possible instead of dropping bombastic one-liners. After all, you seem to be forced to read what I write and it just isn't fair is it that I use more words than other people?

P.S. - Capital letters are not cruise control for cool.


Anyone who believes all of these kids are running for their lives is naive to the largest degree possible. They are sent here first so they get established and then their families can follow them in time and again, shortcut the system.


SPEW AWAY. Many already have families here.


Set them free! Across the boarder in Mexico!