On Their Own - Undocumented Children Edit
One does not have to wonder why "'assistant chief patrol agent, Eligio "Lee" Pena, warned more than 3,000 Border Patrol agents that journalists looking for information about what Obama has described as a humanitarian crisis are likely to ask for information and "may try to disguise themselves.'" (Sherman and Caldwell). Pena's fear was that journalists would misquote agents and create a media circus. From reports that unaccompanied children are carrying deadly diseases to reports that Obama encouraged them to take on a potentially deadly journey with promises of citizenship, the media circus has taken on a life of its own, with or without imput from border agents.
Unaccompanied Children - Creating a Panic Edit
Misinformation is the cause of many a panicked state. Early on in the border crisis Border Patrol agent Pena was criticized for his warning to border agents that they not share information with news media. It wasn’t long before border agents broke from the directive and created a scare that would take a life of its own. In an attempt to warn the public of the danger crossing the border, Border Patrol agent and representative of the Rio Grande Valley Union of Border Patrol agents, Chris Cabrera stated “[W]e are sending people everywhere. The average person doesn't know what's going on down here,” and without support from medical representatives claimed “[T]here’s been an outbreak of scabies that's been going on for the past month.” This was all that was needed to begin a deluge of misinformation. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) brought it upon himself to report to the Centers for Disease Control “[M]any of the children who are coming across the border also lack basic vaccinations such as those to prevent chicken pox or measles. This makes Americans who are not vaccinated—and especially young children and the elderly—particularly susceptible.” The inaccuracy of this statement is a bit ironic.
According to the Texas Observer and New Republic, children from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are more likely to be vaccinated than children from the United States. All three countries provide free health care to all residents, in contrast to Texas where one in every six children are uninsured. These underprivileged countries have reported vaccination rates of 93%. So, it is the children that are crossing the border who have more to fear (medically) from us than we do from them. Although we tend to believe that because we inhabit one of the riches countries in the world, we are superior in every way to those from third world countries.