It all started in the fall of 2011. Border Patrol agents began reporting an increase in the number of unaccompanied children from Central America. And, approximately three years later, the United States has hit a crisis point. The US Customs and Border Protection estimates that 70,500 children are expected to be apprehended at the border this year – including the 52,000 children from Central America. What are we going to do?!
This huge influx of children, especially from Honduras and El Salvador, is driven primarily by gang violence. Teenagers are being recruited to join gangs and if they refuse, the gang will retaliate against them as well as their families. And, there is the issue of poverty. Where will their next meal come from? Will they have a roof over their head at night? This is a huge amount of pressure to put on children, no matter what country they are from and no matter what age they are.
In my humble opinion, America has established itself as a global powerhouse, and “we” tend to stick our nose into the business of other countries instead of focusing on “us” first. Hence, the US tends to have crisis situations…a lot. It seems we can’t even take care of our own children or there wouldn’t be any child abuse, starvation, homelessness, etc. in America, so how can we possibly take care of children coming here from other countries?
According to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, the government is looking at being more flexible toward children seized at the border. Yet, how can the government focus just on these children without taking into consideration their parents or other adults that are with them?
I turn to you, our readers, to offer up your reactions, thoughts, opinions and comments to America’s newest dilemma.
(Image above from Reuters/Eric Gay/Pool of children detainees sleeping in a holding cell at a US Customs and Border Protection processing facility in Brownsville, Texas.)