I said the other day that true compassion to the unaccompanied children wading our southern border means figuring out how to keep still more children from being sent on that terrible journey.
I'm not the only one saying that, either. Charles Krauthammer puts it well:
"Stopping this wave is not complicated. A serious president would go to Congress tomorrow proposing a change in the law, simply mandating that Central American kids get the same treatment as Mexican kids, i.e., be subject to immediate repatriation.
"Then do so under the most humane conditions. Buses with every amenity. Kids accompanied by nurses and social workers and interpreters and everything they need on board. But going home.
"One thing is certain. When the first convoys begin rolling from town to town across Central America, the influx will stop.
"When he began taking heat for his laxness and indecisiveness, Obama said he would seek statutory authority for eliminating the Central American loophole. Yet when he presented his $3.7 billion emergency package on Tuesday, it included no such proposal.
"Without that, tens of thousands of kids will stay. Tens of thousands more will come."
There are those who say the children will come anyhow because of violence and poverty. "Nonsense," writes Krauthammer. "When has there not been violence and poverty in Central America?" What is new is "Obama's unilateral (and lawless) June 2012 order essentially legalizing hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who came here as children."
And passing "comprehensive" reform isn't the solution: "Indeed," he writes, "any reform that amnesties 11 million illegal immigrants simply reinforces the message that if you come here illegally, eventually you will be allowed to stay."
Still others say it would be mean to send children home to poor countries after all they've been through. Krauthammer writes, "By that standard, with a sea of endemic suffering on every continent, we should have no immigration laws. Deny entry to no needy person.
"But we do. We must. We choose. And immediate deportation is exactly what happens to illegal immigrants, children or otherwise, from Mexico and Canada. By what moral logic should there be a Central American exception?"
To the contrary, there is good reason to send them home. Tens of thousands of families are now contemplating sending their children into the hands of criminal human-smuggling gangs. It is inhumane for us not to do all we can to deter them.