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U.S. Program Would Fly Central American Children To Their Parents For Free

Last summer, the U.S. was faced with an unprecedented crisis when several news agencies aired images of unaccompanied children flooding the U.S.-Mexico border. Now, the U.S. government is taking this matter into their own hands by flying minors into the U.S.--for free. A newly created State Department and Department of Homeland Security program wants to curb the surge of immigrant children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador at the border by giving their illegal U.S.-based parents the opportunity to put their children on a plane at no cost to them. Any parents with some form of legal status will be eligible--this includes permanent residents and illegal immigrants who were given a work permit and deportation reprieve under President Obama's recent executive actions. This means that those with children under 21 from El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras could possibly apply. Tom Fitton, president of the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, told Fox News, "I think many Americans are going to be surprised to learn that illegal aliens here in the United States are getting the Obama administration to go and get their children and fetch them. And all at our expense." A November memo shows the State Department explaining that reuniting families in this fashion is "a safe, legal, and orderly alternative to the dangerous journey that some children are currently undertaking to the United States."

Unfortunately, the State Department has not yet provided a cost for the plane tickets or the benefits that these families get upon their arrival in the U.S. When asked about the costs on Friday, spokeswoman Marie Harf said: “The price tag? I don't know.” Fitton said of the actions, "Under this program, they would be quote 'refugees,' and refugees have access to government benefits that other illegal aliens don't." According to Judicial Watch, the benefits include, "free education, food stamps, medical care, and living expenses." In response to criticism, Democratic strategist Chuck Rocha said, "I think it's good for the tax base. Every year, 13 billion dollars are put into the Social Security Trust Fund from undocumented immigrants. So if you have immigrants here who are working, who are doing the jobs that need to be done, that's money going into our tax system. People will say that it's free health care, that it's free education. Nothing in this town is free." Yet, Fitton says "My gosh, what does the rule of law mean if you break the law to get here, and then you get the government to help bring the rest of your family?"

Photo: World Vision

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