Thousands of immigrants, most of whom are children from Central America, entering the U.S. illegally are overwhelming federal resources. Reacting to what has been labeled a “humanitarian crisis,” U.S. taxpayers are providing the illegal immigrants with housing, food, education, health care, recreation, vocational training, family unification, and even legal counsel. In the face of providing such amenities to the migrants, there are hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens–including families and children–who remain without a home or food.
The treatment and services being provided to the youthful immigrants brings to question the attention, or lack thereof, being given to our own homeless and starving populations. That is not to say that welfare programs, many of which are already bloated, should be further expanded for U.S. citizens. Rather, it calls into question the Obama Administration’s priorities–are illegal immigrants a higher priority for this administration than struggling U.S. citizens?
According to the most recent Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, in 2013 there were about 610,000 homeless individuals in the United States, 215,344 of them living unsheltered. Nearly one-quarter of all homeless people were children.
One in 45 U.S. children experience homelessness each year. Many cities–primarily those in California, New York, Texas and Florida–have actually seen a recent increase in child homelessness. But the Obama Administration has not addressed this issue. Rather, it has been almost entirely focused on acting in the best interest of the migrants in the U.S. illegally.
Almost all of the facilities where the Obama Administration will house minors apprehended at the border are located near metro areas with significant homeless problems.
In San Antonio, for instance, hundreds of immigrant children are being provided with comfort and benefits at the Lackland Airforce Base. Children and teens brought to Lackland will be provided with education, foster care programs, and “behavioral treatment centers.” The projected cost of such programs, as well as the cost of the housing, has not been disclosed to U.S. taxpayers. Meanwhile, there are almost 3,000 homeless people in San Antonio every day, according to the charity Haven for Hope. The average homeless child in the city is just six years old.
Similarly, a Baltimore-based Social Security office building could soon be used to house hundreds more of the border children. But on any given night there are 3,000 Baltimore citizens who experience homelessness. In March 2013, a homeless “community” underneath the Jones Falls Expressway was bulldozed, leaving many without any housing options.
In early June, a facility that can hold 600 of the migrants opened at Port Hueneme in California. Port Hueneme is located in Ventura County, where there are about 1,700 homeless adults and children, according the Ventur
As thousands of illegal immigrants are provided with taxpayer-funded food–some of which was reportedly thrown in the trash–hunger among U.S. citizens also remains an issue in some areas of the U.S. According to Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, 49.0 million Americans, including 15.9 million children, lived in food insecure households in 2012.
The Obama Administration has made it very clear that it will use any resources available to do “what’s in the best interest” of each migrant child.
While that rhetoric sounds well-intended, it makes the U.S. a magnet for everyone in the world who not only needs a helping hand, but for everyone who needs to be fully sustained. U.S. taxpayers cannot act in the “best interest” of everyone around the globe who is poor, starving, or homeless by subsidizing their every need. But if we are going to provide for those less fortunate, shouldn’t we focus first on our own citizens?
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.