Sunday, March 21, 2021

Is Florida Ready for the Children?

WEST COAST        

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD 

 In president Biden’s headlong rush to undo everything Trump, his decision to lift the border controls may turn out to be one of the worst decisions he made in his first 100 days.

There's no doubt, that the unaccompanied minor immigration problem began to get worse near the end of the Trump administration, but the problem was largely contained on the Mexico side of the border.

For some insight check out this article from the Council on Foreign Relations 100 Written By Claire Felter, Danielle Renwick, and Amelia Cheatham: The U.S. Immigration Debate.

From OCHA The United Nations office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs by Adam Isacson, Maureen Meyer, Stephanie Brewer, and Elyssa Pachico: Putting the U.S.-Mexico ‘border crisis’ narrative into context quoting: “It is quite possible that 2021 will be a record-breaking year for unaccompanied children crossing the border. The Biden administration had previously predicted that up to 117,000 unaccompanied migrant children could cross the border in the 2021 fiscal year (breaking the previous record of 76,020 children in 2019).”

Given Florida’s growing Hispanic population, no doubt a significant number of these unaccompanied minors will be placed with friends and family in Florida along with Florida foster homes.

So far, Governor DeSantis has not had a great deal to say about the pending problem at the border, but there will no doubt be a significant uptick in the number of undocumented children in Florida and Governor DeSantis may not be able to count on the Biden administration for much support in dealing with the problem.

2019 Data from The Florida Department of Children and Families:

From  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services this Content created by Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA), Content last reviewed March 17, 2021: Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Unaccompanied Children

There could be a significant budget impact at the State, County level, and School Board level as these children enter the health care and the educational systems of the State.

There will be opportunities for faith-based organizations as well as social service agencies to step in and lend a helping hand regarding the care and integration of these undocumented minors into local communities.

The flow of these undocumented immigrants, regardless of what the Biden administration tries to do, is now going to grow because it seems to me unlikely that President Biden will be unwilling to implement anything that begins to look like the Trump border restrictions.

Instead of a lot of finger pointing, yelling, screaming and political rhetoric it's time for all of us to take a look at this problem and see what if anything we can contribute to its impact on Florida and our local communities.

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