FILE - This June 25, 2014 file photo shows a group of immigrants from Honduras and El Salvador who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally as they are stopped in Granjeno, Texas. A White House proposal to grant some young Honduran citizens refugee status before they try to head to the United States illegally could provide a much needed safety valve to alleviate some of the stress on government agencies responsible for dealing with the flood of children and families from Central America crossing the border in recent months, immigration experts said. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

This June 25, 2014 photo shows a group of immigrants from Honduras and El Salvador who crossed the US-Mexico border illegally as they are stopped in Granjeno, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Call it irony or call it a nightmare, but the “crisis” of Central American children crossing the US-Mexican border, which lasted for months amid fervent and angry debate, is now fading from the news. The media stories have been legion, the words expended many. And yet, as the “crisis” leaves town, as the sound and fury die down and attention shifts elsewhere (even though the children continue to arrive), the real factors that would have made sense of what’s been happening remain essentially untouched and largely unmentioned. It couldn’t be stranger — or sadder.

Since late June 2014, the “surge” of those thousands of desperate children entering this country has been in the news. Sensational stories were followed by fervent demonstrations and counter-demonstrations with emotions running high. And it’s not a debate that stayed near the southern border either. In my home state, Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick tearfully offered to detain some of the children — and that was somehow turned into a humanitarian gesture that liberals applauded and anti-immigrant activists decried. Meanwhile the mayor of Lynn, a city north of Boston, echoed nativists on the border, announcing that her town didn’t want any more immigrants. The months of this sort of emotion, partisanship, and one-upmanship have, however, diverted attention from the real issues. As so often is the case, there is so much more to the story than what we’ve been hearing in the news…

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