It seems like every day now we see something in the news about the immigration problem on the border.

What comes to mind is why would parents send their unaccompanied minor children 1,700 miles north in cattle cars and riding on top of trains?

Do they not care what happens to them, or is it that they do care — go have a better life away from the poverty and gang violence in their own countries? Honduras and El Salvador have a high level of crime and gang violence.

Or perhaps the reason they are coming here in droves is because of the message our president has sent — if you get to the United States and you’re under 16 we won’t enforce our laws and send you home. And then there are the 72-hour visas the Mexican government is issuing to these children allowing them to legally travel from their southern border to the U.S. border. Some have observed that this appears to be a coordinated effort. 

Many of the children coming across our borders have diseases. Doctors in our nation are seeing contagious diseases they have not seen in their lifetimes and are seeking training on how to deal with them.

In the meantime the administration is sending these children all across the country and not even giving local officials a heads up or telling them how many there are and where they are placing them.

More than a week ago, Gov. Rick Perry asked President Barack Obama to activate the National Guard and send them to the border. At this writing, it hasn’t happened yet. Instead, the president is trying to make this a fight between him and Congress. Meanwhile, the Border Patrol agents are so overwhelmed they cannot do the job of securing our border. They are too busy filling out paperwork and helping the children.

So, what should we do about it? There seems to be two schools of thought. One is that we should process these children quickly, get them before a judge and, within a few days, send most of them back home. A Republican senator and Democrat congressman have introduced legislation to do just that.

Many in the Border Patrol believe sending the children back would be a clear message that it is not worth risking life and limb to come to our country illegally.

Others believe we should err on the side of compassion, take in the children and care for them. But is this a role the government should take on? America has a history of providing voluntary aid.

We feel the better way is to return these children to safe places within their own country accompanied with privately funded or donated medical assistance. Perhaps Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg might chip in some millions to assist with the effort. Glen Beck is already providing aid.

But the bottom line, is these children should have been stopped at the southern border of Mexico therefore stopping the humanitarian battle. There, perhaps the Red Cross or others could set up triage centers to quarantine and treat the diseased with private or multinational funds.

Meanwhile the National Guard should be activated to augment our overburdened border patrol to stop this insidious invasion, using children as pawns.

Bill Sargent, Mark Mansius and John Gay are writing a series of columns on timely issues for today. All three ran in the 14th Congressional District primary.

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