Boston Herald | Thursday, July 17, 2014 | Op-Ed

Eric Holder practically weeps for the unaccompanied Latin American children who, for the past two years, have streamed across our unprotected southern border.

“How we treat those in need, particularly young people who must appear in immigration proceedings — many of whom are fleeing violence, persecution, abuse, or trafficking — goes to the core of who we are as a nation,” the attorney general said last week.

Perhaps he’s right.  But tell that to Elián González — the terrified 6-year-old boy who federal authorities seized at gunpoint from his uncle’s home in Miami to ship back to comunist Cuba in April 2000.

Back then Deputy Attorey General Holder had little sympathy for unaccompanied immigrant children like Elián, who was discovered drifting off the coast of Miami clinging to an inner tube on Thanksgiving Day 1999.  Authorties brought the unidentified child to the hospital where the boy’s Miami-based paternal relatives showed up to claim him.  Later we learned that little Elián had fled Cuba with his mother, his mother’s boyfriend, and others who perished at sea.

Shortly after Elián was settled at his uncle’s Miami home, a reporter for the prestigious Spanish newspaper El País interviewed Elián’s father, Juan Miguel González in Cuba.  He reported that the senior González had wanted Elián to immigrate to the U.S.  The spontaneous arrival of Juan Miguel’s relatives at the hospital to claim a boy whose name the media had not released indicated that they had been tipped off — likely by Juan Miguel himself — to expect visitors by sea.  All of this suggests that Elián’s mother had taken the boy with Juan Miguel’s blessing.

But before long Fidel Castro decided that Elián was not good publicity for his regime and demanded the boy’s return.  Within days, so did Juan Miguel — surprise, surprise.

To those unfamiliar with the modus operandi of the Castro regime, it seemed like a simple case of reuniting father and son.  But those who understood repressive police states saw fear in Juan Miguel’s eyes and knew that he had no choice but to do the dictator’s bidding.

Enter then-Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder, who decided that the so-called integrity of the nuclear family should take precedence over the boy’s freedom and his dead mother’s express wishes (and likely the true wishes of his father as well).  So Holder ordered Elián be seized in an armed raid of his relatives’ home and returned to Cuba.

So does Holder no longer believe that illegal immigant children belong with their parents in their country of origin?  Is he willing now to disavow his earlier assertion that the U.S. government can, in its discretion, seize and return underaged immigrants to the nations from which they came?  Why is a man once willing to marshall the power of the federal government to forcibly remove a single child from a loving home now unwilling to use federal power to secure the border and stop a never-ending influx of immigrant children that the U.S. is ill-prepared to absorb?

Don’t get me wrong, I am generally in favor of increased immigration to the United States.  But our country must have a lawful, orderly process for admitting new arrivals . And Eric Holder’s new-found compassion is disingenuous.  Holder and is boss, President Obama, do not have a policy to help the children of Latin America.  Instead they foment border chaos in a cynical attempt to use (and abuse) children to further their political objectives and to portray as cruel (or racist) those with legitimate concerns about our immigration mess.  Shame on them.



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