Number of Americans Calling Illegal Immigration the ‘Most Important Problem’ in the U.S. Grows Six-Fold Since May
David Martosko, Daily Mail (London), July 16, 2014
The number of Americans who see illegal immigration as the nation’s most pressing problem has spiked from 3 per cent to 17 per cent since May, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.
That percentage now tops government corruption, the U.S. economy, jobs, health care and every other hot-button issue, driven by a flood of tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children pouring across the U.S.-Mexico border.
When Gallup announced the results of the same poll two months ago, ‘immigration’ and ‘illegal aliens’ ranked eleventh out of 47 issues, attracting a deep level of worry from fewer Americans than those who put homelessness or foreign aid at the top of their lists.
But since then horror stories about children of all ages crossing illegally into the United States, most of them accompanied only by mercenary ‘coyotes,’ have dominated national news.
American taxpayers are on the hook for costs associated with housing, feeding and legally processing the minors.
Gallup found that growing concerns about illegal immigration are largely driven by Americans in western states, where 24 per cent say it’s the most pressing U.S. problem.
Some Democrats in recent days have seemed to welcome the deluge of ‘unaccompanied alien children,’ the term used by the Department of Health and Human Services.
‘We are all connected. We can’t just build a wall or a fence and say no more,’ Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis tweeted on Tuesday. ‘This is America. Our doors are open.’
The question of what to do with more than 400 Central American children who reach the U.S. each day while they wait to see an immigration judge has become a heated one, with state after state declining to bear the financial burdens beyond what the federal government is willing to pay.
Concerns about communicable diseases have made those concerns all the more newsworthy.
Connecticut became the latest state to say ‘no mas’ on Tuesday, refusing to open a largely decommissioned facility for developmentally disabled adults.
The institution was slated to house 2,000 child immigrants.
In the city of Lynn, Massachusetts, which has absorbed at least 600 such children, public schools and hospitals are stretched to their breaking point.
Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy told Fox25 in Boston that ‘it’s gotten to the point where the school system is overwhelmed, our health department is overwhelmed, the city’s budget is being substantially altered in order to accommodate all of these admissions in the school department.’
More than 600 new students have enrolled in public schools since May, including 248 from Guatemala–126 of whom are illegal immigrant minors.
‘Many of them [will] do two years in the ninth grade,’ the city’s school superintendent said, noting that a large number are illiterate.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has agreed to open up his city’s services to illegal immigrant children, drawing the ire of homeless advocates who say Angelenos living on the streets need help first.
The Americans for Legal Immigration PAC has organized more than 170 protests nationwide for Friday and Saturday, attracting Americans upset with President Obama for accommodating the influx of new immigrants.
The administration is hampered by a 2008 law that requires the federal government to offer temporary housing to children from ‘OTM’ countries–those ‘other than Mexico.’ The measure was passed in order to provide relief to minors fleeing human traffickers and sexual slavery.
Republicans in Congress say granting Obama’s latest funding request should be predicated on a change in that law so the U.S. can immediately deport such children, as it already does with Mexican nationals.
They also allege that the White House’s sudden immigration policy shift in 2012, which delayed the deportation of people brought to the U.S. as children before 2007, sent a message that the U.S. will welcome children regardless of their legal status.