Kids say the darndest and truest things.

Sunday, May 30th, 2010
By: Jonathan MontagJ.D.

Kids say the darnedest things

I remember watching Art Linkletter, RIP,  as a little kid. I was too young to understand what the adults were talking about, but enjoyed the segment where he talked to children. The segment was dubbed, “Kids say the darrndest things.” As a child myself, I took competitive joy in watching little kids say crazy, embarrassing things. “Boy if I was sitting on one of those stools,” I thought, “I’d never say anything that stupid.”

Michelle Obama was unexpectedly thrust into Art Linkletter mode two weeks ago when she and the president of Mexico’s wife visited a public school in Silver Spring, Maryland. A little girl told the first lady that her mother said that Barrack Obama was throwing out undocumented people. “My mom… she says that Barack Obama is taking everybody away that doesn’t have papers.”

That was not a crazy, embarrassing thing, but a true thing. DHS has quotas to fill and, thus, people to deport. If it cannot find them in the jails, then it is finding them on the freeway or at stop signs. Michelle’s response – “We’re going to have to fix that.” How and when are the million dollar questions. She and her husband have not indicated how or when.

One fix is to compel those without papers to leave on their own so Barack Obama does not have to do it. Strict employer sanctions, employee verification programs, local law enforcement’s cooperation with immigration authorities, and other policies designed to make America an unattractive place to be undocumented are trying to cause that. (Has anyone considered how the undocumented will fare with health insurance reform and other federal government interventions into daily life?)

Other fixes – to find ways to accommodate some of the undocumented – are so far going nowhere fast. Perhaps the need for labor to clean up the Gulf of Mexico will be a spur to legalize the many undocumented who come from the country the gulf is named after. Perhaps there will be room here if we deport the culprits behind the disaster to the country the company responsible for the mess comes from.

The litle girl’s concern that she and her mommy will be deported highlights one of the problems with the hardline approach. It would be wonderful if the illegals that many wish to send back to their homelands were 19 year old men who have been in the United States for a few months – better still if the young men were found in jail, coming to America and commencing a crime spree. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Many are much more blended into society. They are parents and grandparents. They are ill and face certain death if deported. They care for or support citizen parents, spouses, and children, who would suffer without them. They are the spouses and parents of service members and who are distracted from their missions because of the insecurity at home. They are kids who have been in America their whole lives and know no where else. It is easy to take a hard line and enforce an imagined bright line of legal – illegal until you are confronted with these realities and are actually handcuffing or drugging a mother or a grandmother or a child and stuffing her in a bus or a plane.

What do you do when you are confronted with a young woman in college who was brought to the United States as an infant whose was petitioned for ten years ago, and who still has not reached the head of the line? Visit the “iniquities” of the parents onto the child? Pass a law to cut her some slack? Authorize DHS to back off enforcing the law against non-dangerous people caught up in long backlogs so resources can be applied to areas that will more effectively increase the public’s safety?

Until Congress and her husband begin working on Mrs. Obama’s suggestion that they fix the problems vexing the little girl and her mother, everyone needs to face the reality that President Obama is “taking everybody away” who does not have papers and he is being very non-discriminating about how he is doing it. At that is the darndest thing.  Posted March 31, 2010.



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