Columbia City Council recently approved a new ordinance that will allow “minor child play zones” in certain public parks — areas that people older than 12 are restricted from entering unless they’re accompanying a child.
The ACLU of South Carolina objected to an early draft of the ordinance. Unfortunately, not much has been done to address those concerns or deliver compelling justification for why this ordinance is needed. What crimes, serious or minor, that arise in this and other parks are not already covered by existing law? This has the potential to make criminals out of older children and elderly adults who are doing nothing other than sitting on a bench or leaning on a tree.
There are children in cages along the U.S.-Mexico border right now. And more are showing up every day. Most of these kids – some as young as four – are from Guatemala, El Salvador, and the "murder capital" of the the world, Honduras. Many are fleeing rampant drug, gang, and sexual violence in these countries. Some don't survive the long and perilous journey. Others fall into the hands of traffickers, where they can be robbed, raped, kidnapped, abused, or abandoned.
Under our laws, we do not turn away unaccompanied kids who come here fleeing violence. The Constitution is not expendable. Its principles define us as a nation. We must stay true to them.
Despite bipartisan support and a diverse and active grassroots movement demanding action, Speaker Boehner and House Republican leadership have refused to permit a vote on comprehensive immigration reform. Every day families are being torn apart because leaders in Washington refuse to take action.
Congress will shift its attention to the mid-term elections this fall. This is likely the last chance to get comprehensive immigration reform this year.