I like children. In fact, I have a couple of my own, and feel very strongly supportive of their welfare. So supportive, in fact, that I would try very hard not to do things that would harm them, such as breaking the law. Doing that, of course, would create the risk that I might be arrested and they might be frightened. If I felt that I had no option but to break the law, I would recognize that my children would be at risk but (a) recognize it as a calculated risk and (b) acknowledge that any fallout would be because of my own decision making.*
In the media, though, that’s not the analysis. With regard to illegal immigrants, the analysis is that the government is a major purveyor of terror because, as part of rounding up illegal aliens (who, by being here illegally, having knowingly committed a criminal act), they are frightening the children. It seems to me that it’s the parents who set up the situation and should be blamed, not the government, which is merely enforcing known laws.
Nor do you need to be exceptionally well read or politically oriented to know that this is a double standard. I’ve never seen articles challenging the government for arresting native-born American citizens who have committed criminal acts just because their children might be frightened by cops who go bump in the night. This concern about the children’s welfare has very little to do with the children themselves, and everything to do with trying to derail American immigration policy by making the average American feel guilty about the fallout of the illegal immigrant parent’s own decision-making.
*Thus, I can imagine a parent, a very loving parent, saying to himself that life in his small Mexican village is so poverty-stricken that it is untenable for children. He might therefore think, “I can try to make a life for them in America, although that brings with it the risk that I will be captured and returned to Mexico, frightening my children. Nevertheless, that risk is worth it to avoid life and poverty in this small Mexican village.” That kind of decision-making algorithm is rational, but it still means that, if the risk of arrest and deportation becomes a reality, it’s the well-meaning parent’s fault, not the United States government’s.
UPDATE: Here, from Debra Saunders, is a more balanced look at the government’s efforts to deport illegal immigrants, as part of a larger article focusing on Mayor Gavin Newsom’s most recent attempt to make San Francisco look like a very silly city. I especially liked this point:
In essence, then, Newsom is denouncing immigration officials for enforcing laws passed by democratically elected representatives in Washington. Once again, San Francisco’s mayor sends the message that if you don’t like a law, then don’t work to change it. Just break it. (City taxpayers should take note.)