Princetonians divided on immigration border crisis

By Paige Pagan
Bronx, N.Y.

Tens of thousands of undocumented, unaccompanied minors from Central America have recently passed over the United States border. Parents from countries including Guatemala and Honduras have been paying smugglers in a desperate attempt to have their children whisked away to the safety of the United States.

This ever-growing problem is focused in Texas. Containment hotels and refugee camps are being filled by the day, and places to send these incoming children are increasingly running out. Now, some view government officials as babysitters to care for these children.

On a recent Saturday afternoon, public opinion on the issue in Princeton was varied. John Piepszack, 72, was sitting on a bench on the University’s campus with his friend, Mike Marrington, 42, when asked his position on the border crisis. Marrington wanted to keep the children in America while Piepszack disagreed, saying, “I think it is a natural problem that needs to be solved. The children are coming from bad countries, but need to be limited.”

Piepszack related his own family history to explain why he thinks the number of children entering the country should be limited. “My grandfather was the first immigrant [in our family] to travel to the United States and he came the ‘right’ way.” According to Piepszack, the right way was “like in the old days.” He added, “The government prevented illegal immigrants from entering the country more and I want the government to bring those quotas back.”

“My intentions are to send these illegal immigrants away because there’s no opportunities for them,” Piepszack said.

Jay Surgent, 68, was one of a few people standing outside a shop, waiting for his wife’s return. “An investigation should be done on why they came,” he said. “Most should work towards getting a green card and Congress should pass an extensive bill that only permits immigrants with those.”

“We need to secure the border better and only open it to immigrants that come the right way, only supplying temporary refuge for the children’s transition process,” Surgent said.

On the other hand, some people were in favor of the children seeking refuge in the United States. Paul James, 49, was passionate about his stance on the border crisis. “It’s a shame. We shouldn’t deport them,” he said. “Rather, [we should] fix their situation.”

James got personal when he revealed, “I would send my children too,” as he looked at his two young boys standing at a distance from him. “If this country is big enough and [has] so many resources, we should have the same amount of resources to disperse to these kids — spreading them out amongst the states.”

Wendy Plump, 42, was confident in her position. “We were all immigrants at one point. Immigrants are willing to work more than some lazy Republicans. They should be able to stay if they pull their weight. If big time Republicans do nothing and are lazy, why are they so critical?” She added, “Deporting children back to a country where they will suffer? Is that who we are?”

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