Crossing the Border at Your Peril
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Sep 01, 2018
There is little question that the
Southern U.S. border is porous;
people stream into the
United States at will. There is
a great need for security; and
the best technology should be used. Apprehensions
on the Southwest border peaked
in 2000 at 1.64 million and has generally declined
since, totaling 303,916 in 2017.
There are issues absent of security or politics
that have drawn attention to the southern
border. As families cross the border and
are detained, little children are being separated
from parents, and placed in wire pens.
I get the idea of securing the borders, and
I’m all for it. Separating a child from their
parent is unthinkable. Building a wall won’t
work. Between 2010 and 2015, the current
654 mile pedestrian wall was breached more
than 9,285 times. Considerations for a technology-
advanced plan will work.
Increase use of cameras, fixed towers and
aerial and underground sensors. TA wall was
an incredible solution in the 14th century;
it doesn’t address the challenges of the 21st
century, especially in view of a long-term
Border security is not a new problem,
and it has been addressed for families. In
1997, then Attorney General Janet Reno
settled the Flores v Reno lawsuit, challenging
the administration’s detention of juvenile
migrants taken into custody. The government
agreed it could detain unaccompanied
minors for 20 days before sending them to
DHS for foster care or to protective guardians.
A highly debated decision by the Court
of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, extended this
20-day rule to all juveniles who illegally cross
the border with parents. These issues have
been ongoing for 20 years or more.
On June 20, the president signed an executive
order directing families who enter the
country illegally be kept together “to the extent
permitted by law.” This puts the responsibility
on those making/changing laws i.e.;
Congress. There are myriad ancillary questions
and issues such as the asylum situation
or migrant labor. I can’t get the children out
of my thoughts.
Dr. Colleen Kraft, head of the American
Academy of Pediatrics, visited a Texas shelter
and saw a toddler inside a 60-bed facility.
She had been taken from her mother the
night before and was crying uncontrollably,
pounding her little fits on a mat. Putting a
two-year-old in these conditions is cruel. It is
troubling and inhumane on every level.
Other governments, specifically in the
1940s, separated children from their mothers.
The United States can ill afford to head
in that direction. The stress on children must
be overwhelming. The welfare of these children
must be a focus, absent of politics. You
don’t do this to children.
This article originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of Security Today.
Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.