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Tune in to "The Scoot Show" for lively, candid discussions about news, politics and culture with WWL's "Radical Moderate!"

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Scoot: Should Obama visit the border?

A humanitarian crisis continues at the U.S. border with the influx of thousands of illegal immigrants – many are unaccompanied children. President Obama and Republican lawmakers are blaming each other’s party for the crisis.

Today, President Obama was in Dallas on a fund-raising trip for Democratic candidates, but also participated in a roundtable discussion on the crisis that included Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who seems to be trying to improve his national credentials for a possible presidential run in 2016. 

Pleasing many Republicans, Gov. Perry initially rejected an invitation to greet President Obama as he arrived at the airport but wound up doing so anyway. Perry said that he was only interested in a meaningful discussion about the crisis on the border of Texas and other southwestern states.

The President is asking for $3.7 billion in funds to help deal with the countless illegal immigrants coming to America.  Over 9,700 children have been taken into custody since May and there are no signs the migration to American will ease.  The children are being sent to America to escape the growing violence and poverty in Central American countries.

Members of both parties have called for President Obama to visit the borders most effected by the latest surge of illegal immigrants, and with the President arriving in Dallas, about 500 miles from the border, the calls for President Obama to visit the border have grown louder.  

The White House said the President and his officials are being kept up-to-date on the latest developments along the border, and there were no plans to visit the area.

Is the White House saying that the President only makes trips to disaster areas when his presence is actually needed, rather than to make a symbolic gesture by witnessing the crisis first-hand?  If so, then how can they justify all the other trips Obama has made to disaster areas – like Louisiana after Isaac or even New Jersey following Sandy?

I have often argued that presidents from both parties use disasters as photo opportunities to give Americans the impression of a hands-on approach to the problem.  In reality, a president can be in touch with any situation from the White House.  Much of presidential travel is for show.

While the President’s physical presence at the border will not alter the immediate crisis, Obama should make the visit, and not do so while on a fund-raising trip in a state feeling the full impact of the crisis. Doing so would make the President seem even more disconnected.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is also a host on the Fox News Channel and a possible Republican contender in 2016, compared President Obama’s lack of response to the immigration crisis to President Bush’s delay in visiting New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina.

Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX) said the Administration is way behind on this crisis, as the problem continues to worsen.  Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that all of the children should be sent back to their families, and any country that fails to do more to prevent illegals from coming to America should lose foreign aid from the U.S.

The fact that the sudden increase in illegal immigrants coming to America includes so many unaccompanied children magnifies the humanitarian aspect of the crisis.  Though both parties are playing politics and using innocent children as pawns in their game – the idea of parents giving up their children and sending them to America for the promise of a better life, and the children making what must have been a scary trip alone should tug at the hearts of every American citizen who has been blessed to be born in America.

It is not easy to move to another city as an adult, and I have had my share of those experiences.  But it is even more difficult to move as a child, and imagine doing so without a parent and moving to a country where you don’t know anyone and don’t even speak the language.

To fully appreciate what that reality is like – imagine conditions being so bad where you live that you were willing to say “goodbye” to your children, and sending them to a foreign land alone with the hope that they will have a better life, and knowing you will probably never see them again, or even know what happened as a result of your painful decision.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know that as the greatest country in the world, we should be able to figure out a solution without using innocent children in a high-stakes game of politics.

As citizens who are often willing to takes political sides, we should show our appreciation for being Americans by resisting both parties who also use us to play their game.  We should only demand that a solution is found and it doesn’t matter whether the Republicans, the Obama Administration or both work together to find a humanitarian solution to this crisis.

Sometimes we must reject the “game of politics” when it takes advantage of humans – especially innocent children.

Protest photo via halfmind, Flickr

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Topics : Politics
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Locations : ArkansasCentral AmericaDallasLouisianaNew JerseyNew OrleansTexas
People : BushHenry CuellarLindsey GrahamMike HuckabeeRick PerryShould Obama

07/09/2014 5:29PM
Scoot: Should Obama visit the border?
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07/09/2014 9:29PM
Why would they come here?
This is a racist, woman hating, xenophobic country full of ignorant unsympathetic Americans. We have our outdated and non progressive bible reading loons. Why would people risk their lives to come to this vile country I will never know.
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