#Sendthemback [Commentary]

I was on my way to a meeting on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley years ago when a man hawking the socialist Workers Vanguard newspaper stopped me. The headline screamed, "Open Admissions!" In other words, the prestigious University of California at Berkeley should let anybody in.

I tried to reason with the man selling the newspaper — I know, I was young and naive — that, even in the Soviet Union, universities did not have open admissions policies. The elite schools were for the best students; most people probably could not go to university at all. The man denounced me as an enemy of the worker, so I turned around and proceeded to the meeting.


So goes our immigration debate, with thousands of Central American children appearing at our southwestern doorstep and President Barack Obama pulling $3.7 billion from his top hat to pay for — sending the children back? No, transporting them to their families already residing in the United States.

The violence the children are fleeing in Central America is not our problem. It was our problem in the 1980s, but Americans have overwhelmingly decided that it isn't our problem now.


Liberals with leaking aortas say that anyone against illegal immigrants is against immigrants. Van Jones of CNN's Crossfire, whom I sat near on more than one occasion at Berkeley, wrote, "You can't be an anti-immigrant bigot and a patriot at the same time, the Statute [sic] of Liberty won't let you do that."

Who is against immigrants? I am the only member of my family who was born in this country. My parents emigrated from Guyana and Jamaica. And I still say, "#Sendthemback." (Yes, I said, "#.")

Illegal immigrants pay their own way via taxes and Social Security, a Rachel Maddow viewer says? Prove it. Taxpayers pay for the delivery of their anchor babies — and they have more babies than the average American family — food stamps, K-12 education, free lunches and health care.

Enough is enough. Even Mexico has immigration laws. Try landing there from Russia without an appropriate visa. Try landing here.

The proponents of the DREAM Act are to blame for this crisis. They gave Central Americans the come-hither look and said, "We'll let kids stay." Why else are they coming now, and alone, as children? The DREAM Act was advertised like cigarettes in the 1950s, as if all Dreamers were valedictorians who volunteered to defuse bombs for the U.S. military. In actual fact, anyone with a high-school diploma was eligible. Besides, if these Dreamers are so stellar, aren't we robbing Mexico by keeping them?

As for the humanitarian aspect of sending illegal immigrant children back, their parents should have thought of that before sending them. Why should we care more about their kids than the kids' parents? At worst, America should have a policy like Britain's: When I was a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar to the United Kingdom, students from Oxford University and I visited asylum seekers in Kidlington. They were in a detention center — a jail.

One man I spoke to was from Nigeria. He claimed, as I recall, to have been a witch doctor ordered to perform a human sacrifice. He refused and became a target. I didn't believe him: I think he thought that the raised-on-Kipling Britons would believe such a tale coming from the Dark Continent. We're hearing similar tales of woe today.

Send the children back. Nothing is more humanitarian than keeping families together.


Jonathan David Farley is a former Science Fellow at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation. He can be reached through

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