The map shows the number of unaccompanied children apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border by origin (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras) from January 1 to May 14, 2014. Over 2,200 children, the largest number, came from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, the city with the highest murder rate in the world according to latest rankings from Mexico's Citizen Council for Public Safety and Justice.
Recent reader comments in our local paper suggest that Rep. Candice Miller’s approach to the surge of Central American children at our Southern border is best. Just cut off all aid to those countries until their people stop trying to crash our gate. I find myself apparently in agreement with Rep. Miller, if she is in earnest—all aid, including the military and drug enforcement funds which are the bulk of what we've offered Central America in the past. She is not specific in her statement [see her newsletter 6-24-14] If this were to really happen, at least the violence spurred by military operations in those countries would lessen, and perhaps families in those regions could resume hopes for their children’s’ futures, at home.
She begins with an important point, “Unfortunately, Central America has had a long history of bad economies and violence.” But she neglects to elaborate on our contribution to the problem.
emember the Iran Contra Wars against Nicaragua, where we even sold missiles to terrorist Iran to raise dollars to fight this clandestine war that Congress had outlawed? [To try to contravene in some measure this misguided/illegal policy, which included an embargo on Nicaraguan commerce, my wife and I living in Croswell, MI regularly bought our coffee beans from a cooperative in Nicaragua. They had to come from an intermediate Netherlands vacuum packing company. The small fair trade operation in Ft. Wayne, IN that arranged this is still in the business of doing good 30+ years later—Friends of the Third World, Jim & Marian will serve you well.]
U.S. military money poured into the countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala [where most of these child refugees now are coming from] in the 1980’s to fight a proxy battle to ward off socialist tendencies in places that had been considered our banana republics. The weapons and drug violence, and very bad economies created from these wars, have been great aggravating factors to the pain and suffering which now piles up on our border. Interestingly enough the country we certainly did not give military money to, Nicaragua, although as poor as the others, now has the least violence of these four, and is not sending a wave of refugees to our shores.
Number of deaths by border patrol sector along the U.S.-Mexico border between FY2000 and FY2013.
The number of unaccompanied minors (aged 0–17) taken into custody in the Rio Grande Valley sector in Texas exceeded 42,000 for the first eight months of FY2014.
Another conservative, Senator Ted Cruz, from Texas the state with the most influx of child migrants, wants to completely defund President Obama's Deferred Status for Childhood Arrivals order. “And so a Canada-born senator whose father fled the communist regime in Cuba to build a life in Texas is the point man for reversing the 2012 psuedo-DREAM Act.” They mistakenly think this cuts the problem off at its roots, while forgetting that, at the root, almost all of us are immigrants. We must beware of constantly building our walls taller.
Woody Guthrie’s “Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)” [to Listen] is one of his best-known ballads of all times. First written as a poem in 1948, Guthrie’s song ties a tragic event to the role that Mexican migrants play within the United States’ agribusiness economy
A Cuban émigré, Elise Hilton, [writing for the conservative Acton Institute] was part of the Peter Pan brigade of children during the early 1960’s. She recognizes better, at least some relationship between her own flight from Castro, when most of the families leaving then had some resources, and these new drug violence refugees from the poorer classes of Central America. Yet she wonders why they don’t have some more organized setup for their arrival in the U.S., like they did. Good question. They were welcomed, these are not.
e must recognize our responsibility for this current exodus, especially when the money from U.S. appetites and addictions for drugs is fueling the fires of these Central American families in despair. Many communities throughout the U.S., including Vassar here in the Thumb, and Catholic churches near the Mexican border, are not only debating the issue, but stepping up to the plate to offer help to these refugees from violence. Shouldn't this be our response if we wish to answer positively the challenging words of Matthew 25, “Lord, when did we see you a stranger and welcome you…?”
See previous mcweekly-pv on this
References you may consult –
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaWuJGvThdg [Rep. Candice Miller]
http://www.fair.org/blog/2014/07/14/all-they-will-call-you-will-be-detainee/ [** best overview]
Illuminations by Kathy Brahney