Protesters Tell President Obama To “Close Our Borders”

In Depth Report

The recent media focus on the large number of children flooding the border areas and the subsequent response of some local organizations blocking processing centers from accommodating them, has energized anti-immigration opponents nationally.

Many anti-immigration groups across the United States organized a weekend of protests to stand against the growing border crisis. Their message to President Barack Obama was clear, “close the border and send everyone home that crosses into the country illegally.” They are asking for the White House to take a strong stand on legal immigration and follow the law.

Locally, protesters stood outside the Homeland Security Office at 23rd and Grand in Kansas City, Missouri and in Olathe, Kansas and along busy intersections supporting the nation-wide effort.

Roger Thompson sat at the busy intersection of 119th and Strang Line Road in Olathe, Kansas waving the American flag and holding a sign against illegal immigrants.

“There are five million people that live below the poverty level in Mexico. Where do we stop taking people into our country? At one million? Five million? 50 million? I want President Obama to stop the madness and take care of our people first. Americans first. We owe the illegals nothing. We can’t be the world’s keeper,” said Thompson.

Mexican-born American, comedian Paul Rodriguez has appeared on national television asking a similar question.

“We need to make it clear to Central American countries that we have to set laws. If we accept these children and we don’t repatriate them, it’s only going to send a clear signal to everyone in Latin America that if you get to America, you will stay. We can’t take care of our own kids here now,” said Rodriguez.

In recent months, the United States has been overwhelmed with finding shelter for children entering the country illegally. President Obama has stated that they won’t be allowed to stay.

Doris Meissner, director of the Immigration Policy Program at the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute, says the reality is different.
“They are here and they are staying and whatever else might happen to them is at least a year or more away,” Meissner told the Wall Street Journal, “Until people’s experience changes, more are going to continue to come, because they are achieving what they need: safety and reunification with their families.”

The Obama administration has said many will be returned to their homelands, but thousands have been dispersed around the country to military bases or to the Health and Human Services shelters run by private contractors or faith based organizations. At that point, they could be turned over to a parent or relative already living in the United States and given a court date to appear for a hearing.
U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill) said last week he was confident after meeting with President Obama and the Hispanic Congressional Caucus that the president will move forward in the coming months with an executive order that would grant legal status to millions of immigrants in the country illegally, possibly including the parents of American-born children.

He said he told the president, “You are our last hope for fairness and justice. The president has to act and I believe the president will act.”

Many of the protesters last weekend said that they have lost faith in President Obama.

Ed Hayes, Minuteman and fourth generation policeman, organized the protest on Strang Line Road.

“I am protesting the invasion across our border. … We need to close our borders, put the National Guard at the borders, and close off all social benefits. Cutting off childcare, welfare, all social services will force them (illegal immigrants) to go home. We don’t have to deport them, they will leave,” he said.

Mary Gomez believes only immigrants who have gone through the proper legal proceedings should be allowed to enter. Although she is of Irish ancestry, her husband’s family came from Guadalajara when President Truman was in office.

“My husband’s family had to abide by all the immigration laws to become legal citizens. We don’t agree that the United States should be letting these people come here illegally to our country. What kind of message is that to the people who went through the proper channels to become citizens? We don’t think it is right and it is not right that our President is violating our laws,” said Gomez.

Barbara Carney agrees with Gomez. She has many friends from Central America who have migrated legally and believes everyone should have to go through the same process they did to become a citizen.

“If you do that, you have a heart for living in America. Not just using it to send money home. I understand that they have had hard times in their own country. If you want to come here and take, you should be willing to give back also,” said Carney.

The lack of health care and vaccinations among people in Central American countries was a concern among those protesting. Gregory Copenhaver stood outside the Homeland Security office on 23rd and Grand in Kansas City, Missouri. He was worried about diseases entering the country that have not been a problem for years.

“Everyone in this country should be concerned about what diseases may be crossing our border. If we allow people to continue to come in, the death toll in this country is going to go through the roof,” he said.

Angela Doty, a member of Take America Back, a grassroots organization in Kansas City, was worried about terrorists crossing the border.

“If our borders are wide open for anybody to come through, then who is to say that the bad guys don’t come through with the good guys? What about a Middle Easterner terrorist? How would we know if they came through? We want our borders secure,” she said.

Doty is willing to sit and talk to anyone that wants to hear her side of the immigration debate. She understands that some people don’t pay attention to what is happening and may not grasp the numbers that are involved.

“When I look at the numbers, I broke it down so people would have a better understanding. As long as it takes you to watch a Royals’ baseball game, 360 people have invaded our country illegally,” she said.

A first-time protester who did not want to be identify never thought she would have the courage to stand up in public and voice her opinion on any topic, let alone immigration. She is from a military family and wants Obama to stop spending billions of dollars on immigration and put that money towards services for all veterans.

“Our veterans are standing in lines and not being able to get the medical care they need. Their needs should come first. We need to support our own before pouring billions into anything that has to do with illegals. We are a loving, caring people but we want people to abide by our laws and go through the legal process and not storming the borders,” she said.

It is unclear whether Kansas or Missouri will be recipients of any of the children that have entered the United States recently. The relocation effort has been a flashpoint in some communities where Homeland Security buses had to be rerouted to other destinations when protesters blocked the convoy.

She understands why the protesters are blocking the buses. “In the past, we have depended on our country to do the right thing. We are extremely disappointed that it is not happening. It is time to say enough is enough and it is time for us to take our country back.”

During a congressional hearing in the border city of McAllen, Texas, Republicans leaders, including Texas Governor Rick Perry, said the best response to the “humanitarian crisis” was to deport the Central American children back home as quickly as possible.
“We are a country of laws. We have to respect those laws, and if we do not today clearly send a message that you cannot come to the United States illegally, then this is going to get worse,” said Perry.