Illegal immigration has been a hot topic in the United States for as long as can be remembered. After 9/11, however, this topic gained new recognition and the border became a place where at any moment national security could be jeopardized. This led to efforts to increase security by hiring more government officials and building border walls, but these efforts to control immigration and “protect” our borders have not helped the influx of illegal immigration through the US/Mexico border. Most recently, thousands of children have crossed the border illegally, leading to US officials sheltering these children by building refugee camps. Nonetheless, the issue of whether or not these children should be allowed to stay has caused many Americans to be on opposing sides; most importantly, this matter is affecting thousands of residents in the Rio Grande Valley because it is a ground zero for immigrant crossing.
Why are Children Crossing? Edit
Hailing mainly from Central American countries, primarily Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, these children cross the border with the belief that they are coming to the land where dreams come true. Their dreams of freedom and a better future for their own children leads them to take the riskiest of journeys. However, along their journey to the U.S., many of these children are subjected to “…sexual assault and violence” (Lind 1). It makes many wonder about the conditions that these children are living in in their respected countries. We must ask ourselves why these children are fleeing from their countries and why. What has led them to take such drastic measures? These children already have some family here, leading them to think that they are coming to a safe place.
- Children have relatives here
- 2008 law called the "Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act" allows children to cross and stay if they are in danger of being targeted by drug or sex traffickers
- These children are fleeing an insurgence of violence in their countries, particularly Guatemala, Honduras,and Nicaragua
According to the Texas Observer, "...the numbers of migrants in the past two years is the highest since Central America’s civil wars more than three decades ago" (del Bosque 1). These immigrants are fleeing to the United States through South Texas, affecting many along their way. For example, in an attempt to crack down on illegal immigration, many border patrol agents are questioning U.S. citizens and permanent residents on the U.S. side of the border, causing "...ACLU members (to) give residents wallet-size pamphlets with information on their rights when they are stopped by law enforcement, including questioning, detention and search-and-seizure procedures" (Aguilar 1). This may cause many to feel threatened and discriminated against in their own country. Furthermore, the article, "For Those Living on Border, Security is Complicated Subject," Mariano Castillo reports that this immigration crisis is a response to ranchers who need help. One rancher in Hidalgo County openly admits that he and many others need help at his farm. However, he says that the best way to solve this issue is not by increasing border patrol but by giving these migrants work permits. Although he may feel this way, many along the border do not and ask that measures to deport illegals be expedited. On the other hand, KRGV Channel 5 news claims that because of the insurgence of illegal immigrants, residents feel that their safety is being jeapordized, causing many to believe that armed militias may be the only resolution to this problem (KRGV 1). http://www.krgv.com/news/border-expert-national-guard-provides-false-sense-of-security/
Final Thoughts Edit
The fact that many Americans are turning a blind eye to things that are happening right under their noses is astonishing. Some of these Americans provide only a derogatory opinion about the situation, wishing that these illegal immigrants would just disappear and stop using “American” resources. Nonetheless, it does not stop the issue that these children are coming to the United States because of violence and often are not helped and just put into camps, where it can take years before a court hears their case. It is the responsibility of the American government to investigate the cause of why these children are fleeing their countries. By developing a humanitarian cause, the U.S. government can implement ways to help these Central American countries, reducing street violence and the solicitation for minors to prostitute or traffic drugs. The key lies in the United States listening to the cries of these countless children. By listening to these children, the U.S. can develop methods in helping them. Treating them as refugees is also essential in protecting their lives. Upholding the principals of the constitution is the duty of all Americans, and it states that this is a country where liberty, justice, and freedom is for all.