News media in the west Texas/New Mexico area carried a story on December 9 that gives us the harsh realities about child smuggling. A Border Patrol agent was dispatched to investigate after a sensor hit in the rugged desert terrain just on the U.S. side of the border in the area straddling New Mexico and Texas.
There, he found a small boy in the company of an adult male who claimed to be the child's uncle — and immediately bolted back across the border, abandoning the boy to his fate.
The child ended up in the custody of local police authorities in Sunland, N.M., who in turn handed him over to a child welfare agency; other authorities, including Mexican consular officials, were enlisted to help figure out the child's identity.
By December 11, the story had a satisfactory ending when the boy's mother and aunt turned up, satisfied the authorities that they were in fact the child's relatives after considerable questioning, and took him back to Mexico where he was born and resides.
But, according to Houston station KHOU, they declined to answer questions as to how the boy ended up in the situation that he did. The piece by KHOU is a curious mix of awareness and ignorance: On the one hand, it lays bare the disturbing fact of a consistent, and large, traffic in minors across our southern border. On the other, it seems to be content to drop the "cone of silence" over the facts surrounding the attempt to smuggle the little boy into the United States.
It is reasonable to suspect that the boy was being smuggled to Mom, who had already crossed and was residing in the United States illegally. Following this rationale, faced with the bungled attempt and the need to retrieve him from the child protection agency, she surfaced quietly to claim him, and then head back south along with him — at least for the moment.
I am left wondering how much authorities knew, and whether they gave a pass to someone — perhaps Mom and Aunt — in deciding not to pursue child endangerment charges. Consider a parallel: A woman goes to the mall to do holiday shopping, the baby's asleep, and she decides that rather than wake him and carry him into the mall, she will lock him into the car and take care of business. An astute passerby sees the child and calls police who, when they arrive, jimmy the lock, retrieve the child, and look at the vehicle registration. When mom returns from the mall, it is a certainty that she will be arrested. Why should this be different?
And that leads us inexorably to both the failed attempts to pass a Dream Act and DHS's current administrative equivalent. However sympathetic the plight of youngsters who were smuggled at a tender age, anything that results in giving them a scintilla of status will induce thousands more illegal alien parents throughout the country to risk their children's health and safety to do the same in the hope that, like amnesty, it will become either a serial or, better yet, permanent benefit that both the child (and ultimately they too) will derive. Looked at from that perspective, our government has become a willing participant in a seamy underground traffic in children, and that is immoral.