Everyone is aware by now of the thousands of children who have crossed the border, turned themselves in to immigration agents, and are seeking asylum in the US. Most of these children come from Guatemala and Honduras, where their very lives are in danger. It is not surprising that this humanitarian tragedy has become politicized. The government can do nothing to help the poor, the orphans, and the persecuted without coming under blistering attack. The House of Representatives has even refused to vote for the money the President requested to deal with the problem.
This is not the first time the US has harbored immigrant children. The governor of Massachusetts says it clearly:
“We have rescued Irish children from famine, Russian and Ukrainian children from religious persecution, Cambodian children from genocide, Haitian children from earthquakes, Sudanese children from civil war, and New Orleans children from Hurricane Katrina,” governor Devon Patrick said. “Once, in 1939, we turned our backs on Jewish children fleeing the Nazis, and it remains a blight on our national reputation. The point is that this good Nation is great when we open our doors and our hearts to needy children, and diminished when we don’t.”
What we must do is simple: give all the children hearings as to why they are seeking asylum, give them safe and clean housing while their case is being processed, and give them all medical examinations and care as needed. It is only basic human kindness. Doing what I have outlined does not guarantee that they will be allowed to stay in the country. If we give them all due process, we will set an example and gain the good will of the nations.
We must, however, do more than process these children humanely. Why are the countries they come from so dangerous? The US has a long history of relationships or intervention (depending on one's take) in these countries. What have we done there? There was a time when these countries were much more peaceful. These matters bear looking into for anyone concerned about these children, regardless of one's political preferences.
One of the subplots of Angela 3: Silver Path of the Moon (forthcoming) is our immigration policy and how people react to it at the local level. The first two books of the three-book series are already available at www.amazon.com/author/bedforddavid.