In this day and age, it takes some courage for a newspaperman to criticize his readers. But that’s just what Aki Soga did on the Sunday Freeploid’s editorial page.
The Burlington Free Press’ website has been something of a toxic waste dump this week — in particular, the comments below its stories about Vermont possibly playing host to some of the thousands of children who have crossed our southern border and overwhelmed the Border Patrol’s ability to house them and process their cases.
The comments have been full of ignorance, rage, and hysteria. They accused “our crazy politicians” of “flooding the country” with illegal immigrants. They rant about the cost to taxpayers of housing them “forever,” which is a lie. They say the children aren’t children at all, but are drug mules and gang bangers. There were calls for “taking care of our own” first, which is rich considering what these geniuses probably think of social service programs in general.
There was enough bile and hatred that Aki Soga felt compelled to write an editorial entitled “Rise Above the Ugly Immigration Rhetoric,” upbraiding those commenters and making the case for humane treatment. For which I say, good on ya’, Mr. Soga.
At issue is the federal government’s request that Vermont consider housing up to a thousand immigrant children on a temporary basis. And, as Soga states in the third paragraph of his editorial:
The immediate reaction, coming mainly online in response to a Free Press story published Wednesday, dredges up the worst stereotypes while exposing a stark lack of understanding of the situation.
There is nothing to support claims by some opponents that the unaccompanied minors are gang members or have ties to terrorists. There are no reports of the children posing a serious public health threat.
To the commenters’ call for turning the kids back at the border or immediately deporting them without a hearing, Soga points out that the problem is “largely due to a 2008 law targeting human trafficking — passed with bi-partisan support and signed by President George W. Bush. The law requires children from Central America be given an immigration hearing before they can be returned to their home countries.”
He closes by calling for “level heads” and rejects “fears driven by ignorance of xenophobia,” and asserts that “Vermonters are better than that.”
And how did the Freeploid commentariat react to Soga’s appeal to reason? Let’s check the comments.
“Joey Miller,” citing a post on the far-right-wing Judicial Watch, invokes the spectre of gangs and drugs:
Bringing a thousand “children” — many if not most of whom will be teenagers — from the most gang-infested murderous communities in the Americas into a small rural state with a serious heroin problem developing WILL result in a significant influx of gang violence here.
“Rich Celia” opts for the simple and straightforward:
Send them back.
“Bill Sprano” cites his standard of justice — which conveniently ignores the 2008 law — that’s LAW — requiring a hearing before deportation. And also ignores the fact that these children aren’t in the country illegally; they presented themselves at the border and were taken into custody according to, ahem, the law. But don’t let that stop Mr. Bill.
…these people are entering the country Against Our Laws! and they are aware it is against the law. This makes them Criminals by definition.
… Crime is Crime and we need to stop pussyfooting around the immigration issues and close the border with whatever force required, and send back as quickly as possible every illegal immigrant we can.
“Tim Vincent” seconds Mr. Sprano’s screed, and adds,
But you know…..It’s not about the law, it’s about creating more Democrat voters.
Yeah, because Obama’s big plot here is to assimilate all these children and turn them into freeloading, welfare-loving Democrats.
And Mr. Smook Banng (which is not at all a pseudonym) makes the rhetorical leap from temporary housing to permanent residency:
what… if hundreds of children came to Burlington, they end up staying for years (or longer), have to be enrolled in the public schools, and the school system needs to hire hundreds more employees to handle all the non-English learners? At what point do you become sympathetic to the plight of the taxpayers[?]
“Hundreds more employees”? At the very most, Vermont would provide temporary housing for no more than 1,000. Even if every one of those chlidren stayed, would the district really need “hundreds more employees”? Only in the fever dreams of Smook Banng.
And in fact, these children are all in custody. There’s a backlog in the system, mandated by LAW, to process their cases. Many will be sent home after due process. Some will be reunited with families already in the U.S. Few if any will remain in Vermont.
To be fair, there were a few voices of reason in the cesspit of the Freeploid’s comment section. But they were outnumbered by the angry trolls dwelling under that journalistic bridge.
Again, congratulations to Aki Soga for making a strong case for thoughtful consideration of the issue. And you trolls can get back under your bridge anytime.