Letter to the Editor: Flood of refugees not result of executive order


In a letter to the Northern Virginia Daily, John J. Gwyer stated that as a result of the June 15, 2012 executive order President Barack Obama issued, no person 16 years or younger would no longer be deported. Gwyer gave this as the reason for the current flood of minor refugees entering our borders from Mexico.

The executive order Obama issued applied to those entering the country illegally before they were 16 and younger than 30. Further, the order required they must have no major criminal offenses, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have graduated from a U.S. high school or have a GED, or served in the military. There was no part of this order saying new immigrants entering illegally at any age would not be deported. In fact, they are being deported as you read this.

The evidence does not indicate the recent flood of refugees is a result of the order. A study by the U.N. high commissioner for refugees found that 58 percent of the unaccompanied children entering our country are motivated by safety concerns, fearing conditions back home.

Their home countries have been racked by gang violence, fueled by the drug trade. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Salvadoran and Honduran children come from violent regions. For many, the prospect of reuniting with family members in the U.S. is also a powerful motivating force.

Profit-seeking smugglers probably play a part in this by fueling rumors these children will readily be reunited with relatives already in the U.S.

All this indicates the need for comprehensive immigration reform, something the president has been seeking. These efforts have been thwarted time and again by the Republican-controlled House. It should be emphasized that a large part of the $3.7 billion being requested by Obama is for care of these minor children crossing our borders. This is in accordance with the 2008 law enacted under President George W. Bush that requires minors be turned over for care by the Department of Health and Human Services.

With respect to executive orders issued, Obama has issued 182. Bush issued 291.

Ron Golliday, Edinburg