The conservative columnist George Will on Sunday said the more than 57,000 migrant children who have crossed the border illegally should be welcomed to America with open arms.
Will said the country has more than enough space to accommodate the children, many of whom have made dangerous journeys from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
“We have 3,141 counties in this country. That would be 20 per county. The idea that we can't assimilate these 8-year-old criminals with their teddy bears is preposterous,” Will said.
The columnist said the most important thing that can be done to stop the flow of illegal immigrants is to increase trade and economic opportunities for Central America.
“Long term, the most effective legislation passed concerning immigration wasn't an immigration bill at all. It was Bill Clinton's greatest act, passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement that put North Americans on the path to prosperity. We need to do something similar for the countries in which these children are fleeing,” he said.
The Obama administration is seeking $3.7 billion in emergency funding to deal with the influx of children at the border. The funding request included money for new judges to speed up the deportation process.
House Republicans are moving towards a vote this week on a bill that would provide less than $1 billion in funding and make changes to immigration laws that they say are fueling the crisis.
Democrats in the House have vowed to vote against a border funding bill if it makes changes to the 2008 human trafficking law, creating uncertainty about whether legislation can make it through Congress before the August recess.