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Undocumented Child Refugees

Discussion in 'Tilted Philosophy, Politics, and Economics' started by genuinemommy, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. genuinemommy

    genuinemommy Moderator Staff Member

    In the Southwestern US, there are unaccompanied minors crossing the border illegally. It's a known reality. Some are teenagers traveling alone, but others are teenagers guiding younger cousins and siblings. Infants, toddlers, children, and teens, crossing through gang-infested territories in the hope of reaching a welcoming home and safety. Thrown into prisons and monitored by border guards, perhaps they are safe and fed, but they are not in a welcoming environment. Babies crying for their mothers - anonymous women who are hundreds of miles away and unable to hear their cries...

    This is an issue that makes me break down crying every time I hear or think about it. I am heartbroken. I am horrified. And I am bothered that I can't personally do anything to help improve the lives of these suffering children.

    Each child is precious to me. Each interaction with them shapes the future of humanity.

    How does this happen?
    How bad is life in the areas where these children are fleeing?
    What needs to happen?
    Not just for refugee children in America, but worldwide?
    How should children be treated when they cross any border?
    Do you think that children should be housed differently than adults?
    What questions should we be asking, and how should we communicate this with our policy-makers?

    I don't know the answers. That's most of why I started this thread.
    I don't even know the whole story.
    I don't know if I want to, I don't see how it could lessen my mothering instinct or decrease the empathy I feel - and I don't see how I could handle any more of these emotions.

    I do feel some amount of outrage that someone would mislead a mother by telling her that her baby would be better off crossing a dangerous border to live their life in the hands of foreign strangers. But then... it's never that simple.

    Some political art on the topic...


    And a little background reading...
    Why America can’t disown the children at our border | The Great Debate
    Pope denounces 'racist, xenophobic' attitudes toward immigrants :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  2. snowy

    snowy so kawaii Staff Member

    My husband went to Honduras on a mission trip as a teenager to San Pedro Sula, one of the cities these children are fleeing. He said the conditions there are terrible, and he thinks it probably hasn't changed much in 13 years; if anything, it likely has gotten worse. The house they stayed in in San Pedro Sula had a tall cement wall around it topped with broken glass and bottles to prevent people from climbing over. We talk about these kids every time it comes up on The Daily Show or Colbert Report. It's likely worth the risk of the journey, even if it fails at the end due to deportation, just to escape the violence and extreme poverty present in places like San Pedro Sula.

    I think one of the issues present here is that it is next to impossible for the majority of Americans to realize the abject poverty, horrible conditions, and degree of violence these children live with in their home countries. They live in countries with corrupt, failed governments. For all that we complain that our own has these problems, comparatively, it does not. Yeah, our government is not perfect, but we're not living in a failed state. We can rely on the police to respond to a 911 call--hell, we HAVE 911. These kids don't even have that basic measure of safety. If the police in Honduras do respond, they're likely to demand some kind of a bribe (as my husband witnessed during his time in San Pedro Sula; also, while they were on their way to their mission work site, their bus got stopped, and they had to bribe the police to be able to move on).

    I don't know what we do. I hear you, though, @genuinemommy. My feelings on this issue are strong. These kids deserve someone to take care of them. At the same time, we have a lot to deal with at home. I don't know what the solution is. While I do think the problem shouldn't be ours (the United States) alone, ultimately, we are to blame for it (Banana republic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), and we should have to do something. We made our bed, whether we like it or not.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. GeneticShift

    GeneticShift Show me your everything is okay face.

    I don't have a smart response for this right now since I'm in a meeting, but I'm going to share my favorite quote on immigration from Clueless, of all places:

    "...and may I remind you, it does NOT say R.S.V.P. on the Statue of Liberty!"
    • Like Like x 1
  4. genuinemommy

    genuinemommy Moderator Staff Member

    To facilitate caring for the children as they enter the specialized foster care system designed for refugee children, here's a report put out by a Catholic foster/adoption organization...
    Here are a few snippets from the report...
    Children reported alarming stories about witnessing violence or being victims of crime while in
    their home country or during their journey to the United States.
    ...while the incidences of children with criminal
    histories and gang associations coming into care varied over the study period, it appears that
    children were more likely to be victims of crime and gang violence than perpetrators.
    Children migrate from war-torn and economically impoverished countries and have
    routinely lived in sub-marginal circumstances. Many did not have access to basic utilities, such as
    electricity or running water. Most lived in homes far from school and frequently faced gangs and
    violence while on their way to or from school. Furthermore, many children reported an extensive
    history of physical, sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse and/or neglect by their parents or
    We found that about 85 percent of children in the study sample reported having some type of
    traumatic experience prior to entering ORR custody.
    The most mentioned forms of trauma were abandonment by parents
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  5. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    North Carolina
    We should follow the law, signed by Bush, treat the children as individuals with respect and dignity, place them with their families, or let them find new homes if we find they have a right to stay. There should be no controversy.
    • Like Like x 2
  6. genuinemommy

    genuinemommy Moderator Staff Member

    It is a clear law that provides rights to an otherwise overlooked demographic, and I am very happy that the law was signed in. But... I wish it were as simple a problem to solve as you prescribe, Aceventura.

    From what I gather, controversy comes up only because of the realities of dealing with the sheer numbers of children involved. When there are many children and no facilities to house them, when they are treated without compassion and due care because of insufficient (whether by number or by training) staff... The system was not designed to accommodate these numbers and no one seems to be willing to provide all that is needed...

    Is it ethical to force children to wait 1-2 years for processing? If not, where will the funding for more lawyers and courts to process these children more quickly? And good God - How in the world do you process a 3-month-old?!
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Plan9 FORMAT C:

    This Island Earth
    They're not merely undocumented.

    They're illegal.



    I'll come back to this at some point, I'm sure.
  8. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    North Carolina
    I can not express in words how much I disagree and how much I believe this issue has been blown out of proportion. The suggestion that the US, the wealthiest nation in the world, put a man on the moon country, coordinated the Normandy country ( a recent documentary described the massive amount of support needed in a short period of time - it was an amazing amount of work), most innovative country in the world, etc, etc. can not handle the care, feeding, education, medical, and administrative processing of a relatively small number of children is beyond my understanding. If I were President, or even governor of one of the states most affected I would not tolerate the hateful rhetoric and remind everyone who we are and how we are going to respond to this issue. It is not complicated. Sure, there are people who are responding in fear - we can calm them. There are those responding in hate - we can tell them to STFU.

    No. We should allocate the resources to precess them within days, with proper legal representation. Again, if they have family here they stay. If they do not have responsible, identifiable family in their home country, they stay! I can not imagine putting children on a bus, plane, train to an uncertain situation back in their country of origin. Can you? What is the debate?????? I don't get it. Again, we can tell the people who have hate in their heart to go to hell - we can explain it to everyone else, letting them know that it is the right thing to do!
    --- merged: Jul 24, 2014 at 6:19 PM ---
    The law gives them a right to a hearing before that determination is made.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 31, 2014
    • Like Like x 5
  9. redravin

    redravin Cynical Optimist Donor

    We can handle the situation, there are just a bunch of very loud voices who insist it would unamarican if we did.
    They are trying to tie emergency funding to a bill that would make deportation faster.
    They really don't want these kids around to remind them how bad some of our policies in South and Central America have failed,
  10. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    North Carolina
    Our policies? Children should not be the victim of corrupt adults that is a different issue to me, but you assign responsibility of the plight of these countries to the US?
  11. redravin

    redravin Cynical Optimist Donor


    There's a reason they are called banana republics.
    The US has been backing up United Fruit for generations.
    The CIA has sponsored the overthrow of legitimate governments and we have propped up dictatorships.
    Even a light reading of history will tell you that much and now it's coming back to bite us on the ass.
    • Like Like x 2
  12. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    Listen, you can't turn back history...legit or not, who's to blame or not.
    (besides, this would be like someone blaming the French for the US's own BS way back when)

    Now, Present...the individual countries are responsible. Perhaps, we can assist...maybe not. We've got our hands full in various places.
    There's only so many resources available. There's much to juggle.

    I agree with @Aceventura - process them as the law states and with as much dignity and what logistics allows.

    You want things to change, get Congress to change it...but until then...just get them to fund it appropriately.
    But they seem to have their own mind these days. ...it's bipolar and/or schizo.
  13. redravin

    redravin Cynical Optimist Donor

    Actually the history really does matter because it's policy that is still going on including some of our drug policy.
    This is a great article that breaks down our direct creation of the conditions that the kids are running away from, sorry I can't post the contents my tablet won't cooperate with big cut and paste.

    Here's How The U.S. Sparked A Refugee Crisis On The Border, In 8 Simple Steps

    We must get these kids to safe housing and make sure they are properly represented.
    Congress is not going to do that.
    The Republicans are too scared of their base to seem soft on illegals even if they are children.
    Humanity be damned, it's all about politics.
    The president is doing what he can but he doesn't control the money, Congress does.
    I wonder if some very rich people could be talked into getting involved and shame Congress into action.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    The article is going back to 1954
    And I don't see how you can blame the 2009 Honduras coup on the US, the Obama administration nixed that type of overthrow policy.

    Yes, the drug war maneuvers may have an indirect impact...but the countries still have a responsibility to themselves.
    This would be like saying China and Japan having an impact on our crime crisis back in the mid-90's
    (what lowered it? allowing pro-choice policy...freakonomics figured this one out.)

    Or saying the US was responsible for all the immigration back in the early 1900's

    People are escaping what are impoverished nations...and going to where they can. They're going to Mexico and Columbia too, BTW...
    (and thru Coyotes...encouraged for profit)

    The author is overreaching.

    And speaking of getting the countries to take action themselves
    Obama to Urge 3 Leaders to Slow Tidal Wave of Migrants

    What the US will end up doing is its typical thing...sending advisors, sending trainers, pushing for reform...and reaching into our pockets for support.
    But it's either pay for it there...or pay for it here.
    But getting Congress to ante up either way is going to be difficult...if not a problem. (hell, they're even screwing up their own VA reform...)

    The sentiments of the xenophobic idiots up in the US is the same that it's always been.
    Irish, Italian, Germans, Chinese, etc, etc...hell, they even protested the ones they brought here themselves. (slaves...yes, some said send them back)

    The issue needs to be resolved at the source.
    The US may be a factor, but it's not the source.
  15. Chris Noyb

    Chris Noyb Get in, buckle up, hang on, & don't criticize.

    Large City, TX
    Acoording to Rick Perry, some of the children are gang members and/or terrorists sent here to infiltrate and weaken the US. Who is "tough" and who is "soft" on illegal immigration has been an issue in Texas politics for quite a while, and is certain to get worse.

    According to the local media in Houston we're having a "border crisis."

    Many city councils in Texas have voted to approve resolutions banning the housing of illegal imigrant children in their respective city.

    The increasing number of children illegally immigrating to the US has been known for at least ten years.
  16. genuinemommy

    genuinemommy Moderator Staff Member

    Is there any proof to back up these accusations? I hear this argument all the time. The conservative media seems focused on determining just how many of the unaccompanied minors could be classified as teenagers. Teens are very much at risk for human trafficking and in my mind are absolutely deserving of protection. I don't understand this logic. Maybe someone can clarify? (The scientist in me screams, "Where's the data!?")

    For example... my conservative in-laws are spouting conspiracy theory crap like this: Are Terrorist Cells Invading Our Southern Border? | TheBlaze.com

    To refute...Rick Perry airs ridiculous unsupported claim about all non-Mexicans apprehended at border hailing from terrorist states like Syria | PolitiFact Texas
    Speaking of a flood of immigrants from countries other than Mexico being apprehended at the U.S-Mexico border, Perry said, "These are people that are coming from states like Syria that have substantial connections back to terrorist regimes and terrorist operations."
    The latest available data show that less than 5 percent of "other than Mexican" apprehensions in the last two completed federal fiscal years involved people from U.S.-designated terrorist states or safe havens. Perry, in contrast, placed all such people being apprehended by U.S. border officials into that category, a conclusion neither the governor or the agency described as his source backed up with evidence.
    We rate this claim as Pants on Fire!
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2014
  17. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    North Carolina
    If I lived in one of these countries I would take responsibility for it, I would not blame the US. There is nothing that would cause me to subject my child to to what many of these children had to endure without one heck of a fight, literally or figuratively, on my part. I would die trying to make my home safe for my children. How is this biting us? How are we being harmed?
    --- merged: Jul 25, 2014 at 12:52 PM ---
    Let's process that thought for a moment.

    Even if we focus on male minors 16 - 18, they are still children. Are we saying that we should fear children?

    I think that with proper adult guidance, these children will be o.k. - very few if any are going to be hardened criminals. Even in this country in certain urban areas children in gangs is a problem that can be fixed if we actually put effort into fixing it. Yes, I am a conservative, and I think 20%+ unemployment in some zip codes is due to bad liberal policy like excessively high minimum wages for young people with no job skills - let them get a job, learn and their wages will go up. Or, bad schools systems with lack of choice. It comes down to doing what is best for children or for unions, bureaucrats, and special interest groups.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2014
  18. genuinemommy

    genuinemommy Moderator Staff Member

    Some more political cartoons.
  19. Bodkin van Horn

    Bodkin van Horn One of the Four Horsewomyn of the Fempocalypse

    I just want to point out that Rick Perry isn't a credible source on anything ever.

    I imagine Rick Perry is just the kind of asshole who would accuse these children of being criminals, then once they're in, subject them, via base-pandering, heartless policy decisions, to the type of political and economic marginalization that will ensure that many of them become criminals, and then sit back and say "See, I told you so, and even though I was wearing those stupid fucking fake glasses at the time, you didn't believe me." Fuck that dude.
    • Like Like x 4
  20. Chris Noyb

    Chris Noyb Get in, buckle up, hang on, & don't criticize.

    Large City, TX
    Rick Perry is FOS, something many Texans already knew, and which he made apparant in his run to be the Republican nominee in the '12 presidential race.

    A side note: Perry is a vain man, and he loves his nice suits. In his campaign ads in Texas he is shown wearing Carthartt farm/ranch jackets, which show no sign of wear (of course).
    • Like Like x 2