Actor/comedian Paul Rodriguez weighed in on the illegal immigration crisis at the southern border, and his remarks about deportation seem to befuddle CNN anchor Don Lemon who evidently expected his panel to share a monolithic point of view on the emergency.
Tens of thousands of impoverished Central American illegal aliens, including both accompanied and unaccompanied minors, have flooded across America’s southern border, stretching the Border Patrol’s resources to the limit. By granting (without Congressional approval) what amounted to a form of amnesty for about 800,000 younger illegal immigrants in 2012, and other selective enforcement or non-enforcement of existing laws, critics have accused President Obama of contributing to if not creating this border chaos.
Lemon’s premise in the interview was that America is divided about how to address the emergency at the border, but Rodriguez disagreed.
Said Rodriquez: “I don’t think we are divided. I think America has its heart in the right place. We need to be compassionate. We need to be strong and enforce our laws. It is precisely why we should make it clear in these countries that regardless of the — of the trauma that they’re obviously going through. But name me a Latin American country that doesn’t have poor people. We have to set laws. We have to let them know that it isn’t the land of milk and honey, that life isn’t easy here.”
You know, my heart goes out to the parents that have to traumatize their kids to go through Mexico. They must go through terrible abuse. But at the same time, if we accept these children and we don’t repatriate them, it’s only going to send out a clear signal to everyone in Latin America that, if you get to America, you will stay here. And then, if you think those numbers are big now, it’s hard to trust the statistics.”
At this point in the panel discussion, Lemon opined that Rodriguez’s views might surprise viewers given that he is an immigrant (Rodriguez is of Mexican heritage and a U.S. Air Force veteran).
Responded Rodriguez: “Absolutely. But, you know, there are ways to come to this country, you know. There are ways; there are legal ways. Look, once they’re here, I’m not saying to be cruel to them or anything like that. But if we — if we accept — let’s say we accept these children, we let them stay here in America, we give them good homes, what is this going to say to everybody else? Are we prepared to be overwhelmed? Because that’s exactly what’s going to happen… Let us say we allow these 7,000 children to stay here and grow up American and go to our schools. What do we say to the 60,000 that are going to follow them? And the 150,000 that will follow? Can we house them all? Do we have the whereabouts? We can’t even take care of our own kids here now.”
Some years ago, Rodriguez became a water activist when extreme environmental regulations threatened to choke off the water supply to family farms in California’s San Joaquin Valley, a struggle that is ongoing.
Obama and his allies contend that passing the so-called comprehensive immigration reform law could have avoided this current crisis. In a separate CNN interview, Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) asserted that “There is nothing in the Senate immigration bill that would have stemmed the tide of these refugees seeking asylum in America — that’s a fact,” and the same goes for the surge of unaccompanied children. Schock maintained that the wave of newcomers is the result of “the president’s ambiguity on whether or not he will enforce America’s borders and the rule of law that we currently have on the books… More than any new law, the president needs to be clear what his intent is in enforcing our nation’s laws.” The Obama administration has offered some vague responses as to whether these migrants in this wave will actually be deported to their home countries, especially given the overloaded and slow-moving immigration courts, assuming they show up for their scheduled hearings.
As Paul Rodriquez observed, America is a generous and welcoming country to persons from all over the world. Like the U.K., the U.S., however, is also welfare magnet. New statistics from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for example, indicate a record percentage of Americans are already collecting taxpayer-funded welfare, including a huge increase in children on welfare.
According to an IBD/TIPP poll, 60 percent of Americans want the unaccompanied minors in this latest illegal immigration influx sent home.