The Child Migrant Dilemma

View 833 Monday, July 14, 2014

“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009


Our neighbors’ house is sold and they’ll be moving, and their boy is entering his senior year at a good high school. He’s interested in technology and will be taking AP calculus and such. Top 15% of this class, so not Cal Tech, and not interested in leaving university with enormous debts. No father in the house, and I’ve known him and his mother quite literally all his life. Took him to lunch at the Oyster House to talk things over.

Interested in technology, not really interested in being a teacher, wants to do something in technology, not sure what. Good a math, but not a theoretical type. I suggested electrical engineering. Not as much theory as physics, but based on good science. Maxwell’s equations are a great example of scientific theory at work doing all kinds of practical things. Chemistry is more empirical, and mechanical is more practical. Electrical, then, but be sure to take chemistry through organic, and biology beyond the non-major survey course. And don’t bother with computer science as an undergraduate. You have to learn how to use the little beasts, but teaching them to do things is getting to be a pretty wide spread ability; better to learn how to build them and design chips and practical stuff on the one side, and be able to think of things you want to teach them to do on the other. Get an EE degree and you can have a job or almost anything you like in grad school, and learning organic chemistry and better than elementary in biology puts you in a good place if you decided to go into nanotechnology.

Anyway, that’s how I spent the afternoon. In my judgment it would be pointless to spend the money (and acquire the debts)  for a really top tech school. California Northridge was supported by North American when it was still a college, and has good engineering program. So do the California Polytechnic universities. Just far enough away from home that you’re not living at home, and close enough to come home to get the laundry done…


The business with the child immigrants continues and it’s not going away.

Children on the border

Dear Dr. Pournelle,

I read your recent meditations on our border issues with interest. However, I believe your picture of events is not complete; to wit, you seem to suggest that the children who get her have done so on their own pluck and grit. Eliza crossing the ice.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the situation at all.

Most children who come here are brought in by adult smugglers.

I hesitate to write down just why these children are brought here for, or what uses the underworld can find for young children who do not exist legally and who are completely at the mercy of their adult ‘benefactors’. I suspect I do not have to draw you a picture — here are the things the border patrol is trained to look for:

* Lacks identification documents or travel documents

* Lives and works in the same place

* Lacks freedom of movement

* Seems to be restricted from socializing, attending religious services or contacting family

* Seems to have been deprived of basic life necessities, such as food, water, sleep or medical care

* Shows signs of having been abused or physically assaulted. Such signs range from the more obvious, such as broken bones, to the more subtle, such as branding or tattooing

* Seems submissive or fearful in the presence of others

* Seems not to control his or her schedule

* Seems to lack concrete short- or long-term plans

* Seems to lack knowledge about the place where he or she lives

* Appears to date much older, abusive or controlling men.

Consider, if you will, what a person who exhibits those symptoms has been through in their lives, and what they have been brought to the land of the free to do.

And then ask yourself whether that’s a fit thing to do to adults, let alone vulnerable children.

I see no other answer: If we are to prevent people doing such things, we must take away their incentive. We must send back ALL the kids, to the last and least. As for the adults who do these things … may God grant them repentance and mercy, but as a rule they must be sent to that final accounting ASAP.


Brian P.

Children on the border

Dear Dr. Pournelle,

A case in point. I had barely finished pressing "send" on the last email when this crossed my desk.

“Individuals associated with human trafficking organizations are asking Health and Human Services officials to hand over the children who have immigrated to the United States during the recent border surge, according to a congressman who toured a facility where the children are being housed.

“HHS is trying to release the children to sponsors in the United States, but those sponsors aren’t always parents. “There have been cases of people who have attempted to be sponsors actually being identified as associated with trafficking organizations,” Representative Jim Bridenstine (R., Okla) told National Review Online after visiting a housing facility at Fort Sill. “


Brian P.

The President has asked Congress for several billion dollars to deal with the situation. It is not clear what he wants to do with the money.

The Air Force and Navy could get all those kids back to their country of origin, but it’s not entirely clear what happens then: Do we just shove them out on the tarmac and fly home? Not sure who we send to do the shoving. You may be sure there will be plenty of cameras covering the event.

Adding more Border Patrol doesn’t seem helpful: once they get into the US they are easy enough to catch and often turn themselves in: now what? Congress could repeal the law that says they can’t be deported without a hearing, although one suspects that if the House sends up such a law the Senate will reject it, various law clubs will sue to have it declared racist and unconstitutional, and nothing will happen; meanwhile the kids are here, sleeping in barracks if lucky or in what look a lot like concentration camps, which means as soon as possible released out into the public to anyone who will take them and doesn’t have the obvious appearance of Captain Hook and his merry men.

If they are not sent home, more will come. For many, better to be in an America detention camp that on the streets where they live now.

And more are coming.


The Marine in Durance Vile

Actually, Jerry, I saw something in the last few days.

In an interview with Neil Cavuto, LTC Oliver North USMC (commissioned 1968, resigned commission 1988) pointed out that Federal law requires the President to make essentially the phone call you describe.

Article at calls out 22 US Code 1732, at Actual text: “Whenever it is made known to the President that any citizen of the United States has been unjustly deprived of his liberty by or under the authority of any foreign government, it shall be the duty of the President forthwith to demand of that government the reasons of such imprisonment; and if it appears to be wrongful and in violation of the rights of American citizenship, the President shall forthwith demand the release of such citizen, and if the release so demanded is unreasonably delayed or refused, the President shall use such means, not amounting to acts of war and not otherwise prohibited by law, as he may think necessary and proper to obtain or effectuate the release; and all the facts and proceedings relative thereto shall as soon as practicable be communicated by the President to Congress.”

So far, Obama has apparently neither called the Mexican government nor communicated anything on the matter to Congress.

Impeachable offense? You tell me.

–John R. Strohm

Obama could get that Marine home if he wanted to. Clearly there is some political advantage to allowing the situation to continue. At worst – well, what are the Seals and Marine for, anyway? Which is why I will never be president.


Judge Says Incest May No Longer Be Taboo

Just when I thought our country had problems:


A judge in Australia has been criticised after saying incest may no longer be a taboo and that the community may now accept consensual sex between adult siblings.

Judge Garry Neilson, from the district court in the state of New South Wales, likened incest to homosexuality, which was once regarded as criminal and "unnatural" but is now widely accepted.

He said incest was now only a crime because it may lead to abnormalities in offspring but this rationale was increasingly irrelevant because of the availability of contraception and abortion.




Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

Historians speak of decadence, but we don’t believe that anything is decadent now.


Buzz Aldrin on SDI.

‘And I believe that that demonstration of the perseverance, the dedication, the depth of the industrial capacity of the United States went a long ways to convince Premier Gorbachev that the Soviet Union could not match – the announcement by President Reagan that we would develop a strategic defense initiative, branded by the media in a detrimental way, as "Star Wars" – it, I believe, was a major factor in the ending of the Cold War and the separation of the Satellite Nations around the U.S.S.R. It gave us peace. It reduced the Nuclear Weapon threat worldwide.’



Roland Dobbins

Col. Aldrin was of course one of the participants in the December 1980 space and defense policy meetings held at Larry Niven’s house to write papers for the transition teams of the incoming Reagan Administration.



Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




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