Innocents abroad

At the Southern Baptist Convention’s website, a pastor writes, “he question should be, ‘Are we welcoming the stranger?’” But there is, of course, more than a single question. The obvious companion question is, “how may we best stop the abandonment of these innocents by their parents?”

It is certain that many of these children come from poor, dangerous places. The same has been true throughout America’s history, and many of my fellow Baptists have been refugees from poverty and political and religious tyranny.

Keeping these children here won’t make those places less poor or safer. Encouraging them to come here, as Obama has done to a certain extent, does not help, and can only encourage more and more unaccompanied children to sneak across our border.

Such encouragement leads parents to abandon their children and ship them off on a dangerous journey to an unknown fate (on top of freight trains, for example). This should be stopped for humanitarian reasons alone.

The first steps are to secure the border and make it as clear as possible through actions, not mere words, that those who cross our border illegally are not welcome.

We will continue to deal with unaccompanied children who do get in with as much kindness as we can. But that does not change the imperatives of what must be done to retain our nation’s sovereignty and to keep families together in Central America.

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