Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Humanitarian Crisis

Living in Southern California, I am not a stranger to the issues of illegal immigration and the need for immigration reform.  Reform has been a hot-button topic for the last few years while liberals and conservatives try (I use try loosely) to come to some agreement about what to do with this country's illegal population.

We are now faced with a very different illegal problem.  Children from Central and South America are infiltrating our borders.  Things have gotten so dangerous in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala due to the drug cartels, parents are paying "coyotes" gobs of money take their children across the border and drop them off in the US.  Our current law only allows officials to quickly send them back to their home country if they are from Mexico or Canada.  Even though these kids came through Mexico to get here, the law allows these unaccompanied minors join family members or foster care while their case is handled through formal hearings during which they can petition to remain in this country.  The case load is currently backlogged from months to years.  In this year alone, over 50,000 of these children have crossed over the border.

This, of course, has turned into the blame game.  Even though the law that allows these children to remain in the country was signed before Obama took office, he somehow singlehandedly allowed each and every one of these children to come here.  He probably even used Air Force One to bring them over!

Seriously though, I do understand the frustration with this recent influx.  Illegal immigrants are a strain on our economy. Our taxes pay for a lot of their care while, due to their status, they are not able to contribute.  And the fact that these are children, they can't care for themselves, is even more frightening.  If they stay here, they need to be taken care of, and that will become more of a burden on our resources.

But the thing that brings me to tears is that these are LITTLE KIDS.  Their parents, the ones who they know and love, sent them far away, alone, with very dangerous people, to a place they've never been.  What a scary, scary journey it must have been.  Now they are here in this new country who, let's face it, doesn't want them.  It's a lot for little shoulders to bear.

I was discussing this situation with someone (who is angry about it) the other day.  While I sympathized, I also mentioned how, due to the law that prohibited them from being turned away, these children need to be cared for.  If they are our responsibility now, we can't slack off.  I was rebutted (Is that a word?) with "If they're allowed to stay, you will have more of THOSE kids in your class."  Yep, and that's exactly where they should be...in school.  If they are our responsibility now, school is where they need to be.   I don't understand the mentality of not educating the kids (any of them) whose families might be illegal or who now are illegal themselves.  If we want them to not be a burden on our society, they need to be educated.

I do really feel for the border communities who are directly affected by this crisis.  They are faced with a challenge.  At this point though, what is going to change by complaining and being angry over the situation.  Maybe it's an idealistic and bleeding heart view point, but banning together to make these kids feel welcome and teaching them how to be good and productive citizens seems like a better plan.  Blaming them for something they had zero control over isn't going to be good for anyone.

11 comments:

  1. I cannot really address this from the US or Cali point of view. So I'm going to go quite general, albeit sourced within Common Law jurisdictions.
    Taxpayer is a racist term. Whenever it's deployed there is a group inside and another out, well out. The thing is it rarely stands up to examination. Mostly the twinkie hissing and spitting is paying little or no tax.

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    1. Interestingly enough, we've got two groups who don't pay them...the very poor and the very rich.
      What I find interesting about this whole situation, and even the larger one of illegal immigration is that unless one is a Native American the majority of this country is the product of an immigrant family. There's always been this hatred towards the current trend of immigrants whether it be the Italians or the Irish or the Chinese or the Japanese who have all essentially become contributing members of society. It just breaks my heart that these kids are going to be the target of the hatred. No matter who is to blame for them being here, they don't deserve the treatment that they are bound to receive. In the constant debate we've had over everything since 2008 the one thing that seems to be missing each and every time is compassion for others.

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  2. This is the most beautifully written summary of the situation that I have read. Brava to you. Caring instead of complaining? That is compassionate, wise, and productive. Way to speak up for the least of these, and for our future! Bless your heart, Kimberly.

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    1. That's very kind. Just today I saw some video of "our citizens" standing outside the camps spouting obscenities and cruel words towards these kids. That hatred disgusts me.

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    2. :-( Did you see this article?

      http://sojo.net/blogs/2014/07/14/jesus-border#

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    3. Thank you for sharing. So much of the faith-based journalism is so conservative, this article (and website) was eye opening. I'm glad there is a progressive voice out there.
      It's funny because some of the footage I spoke of was of people shouting "Jesus would not break the law!"
      Even though I know I shouldn't, I always read the comments to these articles and then kick myself for it later as they get me all riled up! It just goes to show that it's not religion that makes a person empathetic.

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  3. An FYI http://themostimportantnews.com/archives/feds-ask-catholic-churches-in-california-to-house-illegal-immigrant-families-until-2016

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    1. Oh, I just don't know what to make of it all. This article is also talking about entire families who have been detained. I think that is very different than the essentially abandoned kids who are here on their own. It also mentioned that the kids were being sent to parents who were already living here illegally in the US. That's the first I've heard that. I was under the impression they were being sent to other family members. Ugh! I don't know, it's so convoluted, and I'm finding it hard to find "just the facts" about it without the articles leaning one way or the other.

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    2. I'd forgotten I'd sent you that one.

      Yes, just the facts. That just it on soooo many questions. We need to be sooooo wary even when or especially when we're getting a true story but aren't getting all the salient facts for that allows opinion formers to tweak the message.
      That's the game over this side. We get data, and good data too, but we're getting it with a spin that distorts the truth.

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    3. I've been having internet issues off and on all day! I've written this darn reply a few times now...ugh!
      Everything is spun over here too. I actually thought maybe "The Most Important News" site would be nonpartisan, but the story ended up linking to the The Daily Caller which is an extremely conservative website. I don't have a problem with hearing both sides' opinions on the issues, but to disguise those opinions as the news is underhanded and kind of scary...a lot of people believe those opinions to be the news. The "news" anymore tends to be a distortion of the facts to champion one's own agenda.
      I don't know how much of that story falls under opinion, because anything I have read tends to lean one way or the other. But the people behind this particular site seem to be anti anyone who isn't rich, white, and male and anti anything they stand for, and I felt that was guiding the story. But that could be due to my own political leanings. :)

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  4. I'm so sad that you think negatively about conservatives. I hope we can help the children. Obama is the leader of the country at this time, so he needs to help solve the problem. The same way a Republican in office would need to help solve the problem if they were in leadership.

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