Letter: Improve scrutiny of illegal immigrants

We now know that facts concerning thousands of illegal immigrants crossing our southern border are muddled and scarce. Blame secrecy by federal agencies who transport illegals to nonborder states to become permanent residents with absolutely no thought of informing us. It is shameful that our governor’s staff had to search a federal website to learn Louisiana is now the permanent home of more than 1,000 illegals. They are enrolling in our schools and are in line for public assistance.

Although our hearts are broken by images of innocent young children, we should not act hastily or foolishly.

The majority of those coming here illegally are adults, not children. Some have been diagnosed with disease; others have committed horrendous crimes, including murder and rape. We know hidden among the so-called “unaccompanied minors” are drug-related gang members who are here to actively recruit. And we also know that many innocents who paid a lot of money to be transported by illegal traffickers (called coyotes) are being forced to make continued, long-term payments at threat of harm to their family members left behind.

We also know that, according to a recent Reuters poll, 70 percent of Americans “believe undocumented immigrants threaten traditional U.S. beliefs and customs” and “Americans are deeply worried that illegal immigration is threatening the nation’s culture and economy.”

I think that our president, our governor and our legislature should multiply our limited resources by putting immediate pressure on home countries to open their hearts — and wallets. Home countries should “man up”: live up to their duty to care for and protect their own innocent children. We should demand a plan to separate criminals from innocents; quickly deport the criminals; treat the immediate health needs of the innocent; then demand their home country officials safely and humanely reunite them with their families — and keep them safe! It is not compassionate to keep innocent children in a strange land away from their families.

We must stop ignoring our immigration laws and depleting precious resources to allow unlimited entry to select, so-called “unaccompanied minors.” It is unfair and even harmful. The spectacular video from federal housing areas — complete with big-screen TVs, playgrounds, toys and colorful, comfortable rooms, beds and furniture — is a lure in sending the wrong message; candy dangled in front of children and families, tempting them to make the dangerous trek here.

The current effort unfairly excludes and discriminates against all of our welcome, legal immigrants as well as all other children of the world who long for safety and freedom.

I urge a more intelligent and more compassionate plan based on an accurate count of exactly who is an innocent child and who is not.

Valarie Hodges

state representative, District 64

Denham Springs