Fast Focus: 'What should we do with the influx of immigrant children?' Helping them helps us

July 6, 2014 

We must remember that these children are our neighbors' children and as such, under our Christian teachings, "we must love our neighbors as ourselves." Therefore, we are obligated to do something to help them.

One way we can help them, and all the Americas, including ourselves, is to provide them with the education they need to make a better life in their home countries. My proposal is to give them that education by giving them a series of three-year educational visas. Such as, to allow them to attend 4th, 5th and 6th grads. If they do well and so desire, the visa would extend another three years, to attend 7th, 8th and 9th grades and again it could be extended to attend the 10th, 11th and 12th grades. At any time they could opt out and return home, hopefully with skills and education to make their home country a better and more prosperous place. This also would benefit all the Americas, including the United States.

How could we help here in the Tri-Cities? I suggest our government, at some level, purchase the now-sitting-empty and forlorn "M Hotel" on George Washington Way in Richland. It has about 200 rooms, a commercial kitchen, dining rooms and extensive recreation facilities that easily could be remodeled to be a 9-month-a-year home for about 500 of these children. A big boarding school dormitory. It would take some staffing in the dormitory and adjustments in our local schools. But we have smart people in our community and we could do that.

It has a strategic location in our community, being directly across the street from Jefferson Elementary, a few blocks away from Chief Joseph Middle School and on the Ben Franklin transit line, allowing quick access to Hanford and Richland High schools and, if a student wished, Tri-Tech.

Well, it's just a thought. It sure would help to make a better world for their children and their countries -- as well as our country.

-- JAMES E. DILLMAN, Richland

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