Opinion

Our Voice: Congress can no longer put off immigration reform

Congress has failed, time and again, to come up with a meaningful immigration plan.

Yes, the issue is complex. Yes, it's controversial. But doing nothing has led the United States into a crisis with thousands of children now languishing in deportation centers around the country.

Over the last several months, border patrols have seen a surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America crossing into the U.S. in a desperate attempt to flee the violence of their home countries.

Many are trying to reunite with relatives already living here. Others were sent by heartbroken parents who believed the arduous journey was the only hope their children had for a better life.

They know it is dangerous, but they make the trek anyway because the alternative of staying in their home countries is just as frightening.

Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world, with 90.4 homicides per 100,000 people, according to a report by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime. El Salvador and Guatemala are not far behind.

Drug cartels and gangs have taken over these countries, and to fill their ranks they target mostly boys and young men. Those who refuse to join have little option but to flee.

It is noteworthy that earlier this month, Sal Mendoza Jr., the son of migrant workers, became the first Latino federal judge in Eastern Washington.

During his induction ceremony into the U.S. District court, he paid tribute to his parents who left Mexico to create a better life for their family. He told the crowd, "When I receive all the accolades and when I receive congratulations, I have to tell you that it's not lost on me who is responsible for that."

Perhaps the next Sal Mendoza is sleeping on a cot at some U.S. deportation center. But that child's future is tenuous until Congress fixes our broken immigration system.

President Obama is expected to use what power he has by the end of the summer to slow the deportation process and buy more time, but it won't be enough.

His fellow Democrats up for re-election fear a political backlash at the polls in November if he is perceived as overstepping his bounds. Republicans certainly will use such a scenario to their advantage.

Meanwhile, our immigration problems still will be waiting for a solution.

This political game has gone on too long. The clock's run out and it's time Congress figured out a humane and feasible immigration plan.

Doing nothing is no longer acceptable.

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