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June 22, 2014 3:00 PM

Children’s crusade re-enacts the American story

The recent cascade of Central American children crossing the Rio Grande and surrendering as fast as they can to U.S. border patrol officers — in full knowledge that they won’t immediately be sent back — has confounded our already stunted national debate on immigration. Republicans blame the onset of border-crossers on what they say is the Obama administration’s leniency toward immigrants — even though the administration has set a record for deportations. The president would like to enable undocumented immigrants who’ve been here for a while to gain legal status and, eventually, become citizens. The flood of Central American refugees has complicated the politics of legalization, however, particularly since Republicans say the mere prospect of letting immigrants remain only encourages others to come.

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