Wickham got it wrong, immigrant children should not be sent to Gitmo!

DeWayne Wickham got it all wrong in his piece entitled “Send the border children to Guantanamo Bay.” According to Wickham, President Obama should send these innocent children away to Guantanamo because the GOP is accusing him for causing this flood of children migrants and will not work with him to fix the problem. Instead of allowing these children to be used as “political pawns,” Wickham’s solution is to send them to Gitmo. This is off course is no solution at all. The GOP will and have criticized the President any chance that they get, and sending these helpless children to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where they will have little or no access to legal representation is not in the best interest of the children or the United States.

On June 24, 2014, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) along with other national civil and human rights organizations including the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and United We Dream, sent a letter to the U.S Senate Committee on Appropriations stating that the $15 million allocated to provide counsel to children, out of a $37 billion appropriations request to respond to this immigration crisis was not enough. This is because a child is not able to represent himself in immigration proceedings that are complex and confusing. Being represented by counsel makes a big difference not only in the child’s case but also allows the Immigration Judge to proceed more effectively. Cases of immigrants with legal representation are adjudicated more easily and in a more expedited manner.

Sending these children immigrants to Guantanamo Bay is not the solution. The administration needs to provide access to legal representation. These children are first and for most children and coming to the United States to escape persecution, political unrest, gang violence, domestic violence, rape, threats, etc does not warrant being shipped to a terrorist camp. Close to 50,000 children have entered the country since October. This is a Humanitarian crisis and the US needs to respond to it as such.

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