Tragedy of immigrant children in the US


No one can predict the resolution – if there is one – of the humanitarian crisis created by the wave of young children who, despite all odds, cross the border into the United States, coming from Mexico and Central America.

Brownsville, Texas | Eric Gay/AP

What is clear, however, is that if the government decides to resolve the situation with strict enforcement of current laws, the existing immigration chaos will only be exacerbated. This chaos is the product of a long list of injustices and mistakes, such as massive deportations, the multi-million dollar private prison business, border patrol abuse, and the lack of political will to address the situation faced by 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country.

This nonetheless appears to be the solution favoured by the American federal authorities. If this is the case, it would mean the staging of the second act of an unprecedented tragedy: the repatriation of the largest number of boys and girls ever, in the least amount of time humanly possible. The spectacle, if it occurs will not be cathartic.

The Brownsville, Texas, detention center packed with youth among the tens of thousands of minors arrested since October, 2013 | Eric Gay/AP

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has said that children arrested on the border are prioritized for deportation, emphasizing that immigration laws will be enforced regardless of the age of those detained. He reported that talks are underway with Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico, on border security and the rapid repatriation of minors.

Repression and the use of force are also being proposed by Republican members of Congress like Robert Goodlatte from Virginia, a rabid anti-immigrant who chairs the House Judiciary Committee. Goodlatte has said that Obama needs “to show leadership,” asserting that the President’s policies have encouraged illegal immigration, and calling for more aggressive enforcement of the law.

Minors in line to make a telephone call in the Nogales juvenile detention center. They will be sent to other sites holding juvenile offenders before being returned to their native countries | Ross D. Franklin / AP

Both Goodlatte and Johnson prefer to present what is a humanitarian crisis of huge proportions as a border security issue. The estimated 90,000 children who have arrived this year alone are a group of “individuals” looking to take advantage of their rich, generous neighbours to the North.

Goodlatte is mistaken, as is the Obama administration. The children do not come in search of the illusory “American dream,” but to escape the dangers of poverty and desperation, drug traffickers’ violence and murderous gangs, which have displaced an entire generation. They come to save their lives.

n officer helps a detained child make a phone call in Nogales | Ross D. Franklin/AP

Implementing stricter laws and deporting more children will not stop the flood of child immigrants. This will only happen when the opportunity to survive and develop their potential exists in their own countries. The only effective – and just – solution is to invest the billions of dollars now spent on repression, to create conditions in Central America and Mexico which would not oblige youth to flee at such a cost.

This investment would be a modest “down payment” on the enormous debt they are owed, given U.S. intervention and support of illegitimate, criminal governments.

Source: Progreso Semanal


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s