60,000 Children Crossing the Border Alone Is a Humanitarian Crisis, Not a Political Ploy

“An urgent humanitarian situation.”

That’s how President Obama characterized the wave of unaccompanied children caught trying to cross the U.S.-Mexican border. In a memo released June 2, the President also asked Congress for an extra $1.4 billion in federal money for this cause, and he appointed the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Craig Fugate, to be in charge of the situation, providing the children with medical treatment, food and mental health services.

60,000 Unacompanied Minors

Officials expect that at least 60,000 children will be caught making this dangerous journey, without their parents, in 2014. It’s a number that has skyrocketed in recent years: between 2008 and 2011, the number of children landing in the custody of Refugee Resettlement fluctuated between 6,000 and 7,500 per year. That number grew to 13,625 in 2012, and to over 24,000 last year.

As a parent, I cannot imagine making such a desperate decision, believing that it would be safer to send my child on this perilous journey than to have him remain at home. Nor can I imagine watching my child leave, not knowing if I would ever see him again.

Thank you, Mr. Obama, for making this move for children who are in desperate straits.

What Is Driving This Movement?

The children, boys and girls sometimes as young as eight, are mainly coming from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. (Mexican children are repatriated immediately if apprehended.) They are fleeing extreme violence and poverty in their home countries.

As Wendy Young, executive director of Kids in Need of Defense, explains, the violence is generated by gangs that are preying on younger children. Narcotrafficking is the primary driver, along with smugglers who are taking advantage of families, telling them that once children get across the border they will find a good life.

According to a report by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 48 percent of unaccompanied children interviewed said they experienced or were threatened with harm by criminals.

Once caught, the children are held in agency-contracted shelters while a search is conducted for family, a sponsor or a foster parent who can care for them through their immigration court hearings,

Right now, more than 1,000 minors are being housed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Officials will fly other children to a base in Ventura County, Calif., that can house up to 600 and probably will open later this week.

Laura Ingraham Disagrees

Regardless of the reasons these young people risk everything to cross the border, this is a crisis situation, which President Obama is rightfully addressing.

However, Fox News and ABC News contributor Laura Ingraham disagrees with President Obama’s response. Although she calls herself a Catholic, and has three adopted children, including one from Guatemala, Ingraham calls this humanitarian crisis an “invasion facilitated by our own government.” Dismissing the entire crisis, she stated that “it’s not our responsibility” to help these children and criticized the use of military facilities to house them.

Apparently she believes that these little children will ruin our way of life and take our jobs. According to Ingraham, the government is “trafficking illegal immigrants from one part of the country to another part of the country to further erode American wages and further forward their goal of ultimate amnesty and changing the electoral and cultural landscape of the United States forever.”

These are desperate children from Central America, whose countries are being torn apart by violence. Shame on Ingraham for her coldhearted response. She is not alone, of course.

Here’s a response from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, who called the influx of unaccompanied children “an administration-made disaster.”

“Word has gotten out around the world about President Obama’s lax immigration enforcement policies and it has encouraged more individuals to come to the United States illegally,” Goodlatte said in a statement.

Fear of Little Children

People like Ingraham and Goodlatte are scared of the “other,” anyone who does not look like them. They are scared of the inevitable: that by the year 2050 (or possibly sooner), the current minorities of the U.S. will become the majority. Because of their fear and their determination to retain power, these people have become selfish and uncaring toward other human beings. These are not American values, nor are they Catholic values.

This is a humanitarian crisis to address on two fronts: we must take care of the kids here, for whom life has been so desperate, and Congress and the administration must respond to the root causes of poverty and violence in Central America.

What do you think?

Photo Credit: iStock


Jim Ven
Jim V1 years ago

thanks for the article.

Elizabeth A.

We have a extra bedroom too, can pass any and all background checks, empty nesters, stable life... make a way we can help and bypass the goverment !

Dirk Prophet
Dirk Prophet3 years ago

I have two emtee bedrooms. How can I help?

Norma Villarreal
Norma Villarreal3 years ago

Imagine sending your children away if you feel there is little choice. As for we 'need to take care of our own children' then it is time we did! If children are our future, let's nurture all as best we can.

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H3 years ago

The US can't even take care of the kids already here, born and raised here. These kids show up and get better treatment than our own citizens. We are at a financial time when serious decisions have to be made. We cannot afford to take in the worlds children every time they decide to send in multi-thousands. It is not a good outlook for any one. But it is definitely not right to give better care and housing to those who are sent illegally.

Deborah W.
Deborah W3 years ago

Doesn't anyone worry about the cartel involvement here? Cash up front to take on those who trustingly want to use this means to a better life and then exploited a second time by being sorted through for "cream of the crop" trafficking fees.

Those being bussed ARE being helped ... by humanitarians on the ground and in the trenches ... not government who created this problem in the first place.

Poverty, education, healthcare, jobs already suffering from deficiencies in America cannot take on this additional burden and survive.

Ernest Roth
Ernest R3 years ago

@ Yvonne T."learn what compassion is..these are children!" And what does it take for the irresponsible heartless creatures that are their parents to have compassion for their own children rather than pump out babies that they well know they cannot support, and throw them out into the street ? Now their solution is to send them unprotected into a foreign country ? And the foreign country is supposed to take the responsibility for their crime, yes, CRIME? China is the ONLY country that has made any attempt to slow their overpopulation growth. It is long past time for the rest of the world to wake up, and for the Pope to call for sanity instead of more babies !

Brian Foster
Brian F3 years ago

I feel sorry for these children, but America is 18 trillion dollars in debt thanks to the republican moron Bush, who cut taxes for the rich, and squandered a surplus, on a war that was based on lies in Iraq. just as America cannot be the policeman of the world, it also cannot afford to be the world's caretaker. If we accept these 60,000, then word will get out to the 3 billion people, who live in abject poverty, and live on a dollar a day, that America is the go to place for America's poor. Mexico has much tougher immigration laws, and illegal immigration is a felony. Illegal immigrants cannot protest. Unless we adopt the tough laws that Mexico has, illegal immigration will always be a problem. Our nation is broke, 17 trillion in debt, with a crumbling infrastructure. No matter how cruel this may sound, we must send them back, or 3 billion will continue to come behind them. Unless we signal to the world that we will enforce tough immigration laws like Mexico does, we will have illegal immigrants flooding our country until our population increases to 3 billion people.

Helen Porter
Helen Porter3 years ago

Many of our own families without jobs, on the streets with little children, would not be on the streets with their babies if illegal immigrants didn't take their jobs at a starving wage.

We simply cannot, even if our own starve, we cannot provide for these children...even if our hearts break. There is not the money or the child care or the schooling to provide for them. We must find another solution because we can not do it. We do not have the money. We need to send them back to their own countries.

Helen Porter
Helen Porter3 years ago

I feel sorry for the children, yes. To me, it's karma.

It might be our karma to help them................. but what about our own children on the streets? Some children are on the streets with their parents who could not find jobs. Some children are on the streets alone except for being initiated into gangs where they are cared for, taught how to rob and kill and die.

What about our own children?

I like to say, if your own children are hungry, don't take the groceries to the neighbors.

Many of America's own children are hungry.

I live in Arizona......volunteers in the schools are brought to tears as they stop the children from going through the waste baskets and such looking for food to take home to their brothers and sisters.

Many of our own children go to bed hungry.

How can we feed children born with such heavy karma?