PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, VIRGINIA - Immigration has been a hot topic in American politics for years. But the recent surge of attention is different. While historically, the debate has been about migrant workers threatening the American job market, now, it’s about children coming to the U.S. all alone. And they’re being housed around the United States while their legal status is resolved.
This is happening all over the country. Americans picketing the recent influx of immigrant children from Central America into the United States. By law they can not be deported without a court hearing, but with thousands of cases to process the system is backlogged.
On one road, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is holding some children at the Youth for Tomorrow Center in Virginia’s Prince William County. That does not sit well with County Chairman Corey Stewart, who said, “The federal government never told us that these kids were going to be located in Prince William County. We’re concerned, potentially, even about communicable diseases.”
Area residents seem divided on the issue. At a nearby supermarket some shared the chairman's opposition.
“Nobody asked us before they brought them here. And I might not object, but nobody asked us. They showed up here. Who’s going to deal with it if there’s a problem?” asked Michael Oaks of Bristow, Virginia.
Tony of Manassas, Virginia, said, “I feel that our government, the Democratic Party, has forced them on us. Not asked us to take them in, they forced it on us.”
“I’m more worried about just trying to get around the whole immigration problem, the president just doing whatever he wants,” said Laura Castillo of Mourinton, Virginia.
Others, though, took a more positive view:
Marcus Smith of Bristow said, “Yeah, I just feel you got to take care of kids no matter what the situation is or how they got here.”
Un Lee of Bristow said, “As long as they are properly quarantined and the appropriate health departments are aware of it and taking care of it, I’m just going to trust them to do what’s necessary."
“At this point, it is what it is, if they’re here, if they have a chance to not let them come here, then great, but if they’re here, you got to help them, right? They’re kids,” said Charise French of Manassas.
And with thousands of children seeking refuge in the United States, the administration will be forced to make some sort of decision about their futures, either domestically or back where they came from.