Saturday, September 5, 2020

Children Don't Belong Behind Fences


Picture by Noma Peet from of a refugee child.

It amazes me how long we as a country have been ignorant of the cruelty perpetrated inside our borders. The first child should never have been separated from a parent who escaped into our country.
Some came without parents but with other kids or an adult or adults. Or they came alone. Before we start arresting or putting people in chain-link enclosures, we should be asking why. Why are these people so desperate to get into our country that they come into a desert with nothing, no minimal preparation? Many die in our deserts. Who in their right mind would do this but someone who faces death in their own country?
Some pay to be smuggled in to seek work. Some are enslaved and their families held hostage back home. Human trafficking brings some migrants in illegally. They are not criminals, but slaves, used for work or prostitution so their slaver makes money. 


There are some who know it's illegal but they are desperate for jobs. But the number of actual criminals among this human flood is very low.
We assume that we know so much about these people, who risked death to come to our country. If they are poor, how are they going to know about our policies? They might not have the latest cell phone with Internet. They might not even have a radio. They most likely came from a rural area with no services. None. Think primitive camping. Those that come from more populated areas might be political refugees, or maybe they just made the wrong person mad. There are as many hidden stories among these folks are there are folks.
Here is what the United Nations says about refugees:
"The process of refugee resettlement to the U.S. is a lengthy and thorough process that takes approximately two years and involves numerous U.S. governmental agencies.
"Refugees do not choose the country in which they would like to live. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency identifies the most vulnerable refugees for resettlement and then makes recommendations to select countries." From the UNHCR.
Are all of them refugees? According to the International Rescue Committee, "Tens of thousands of children and families from Central America have fled extreme danger—murder, kidnapping, violence against women and forced recruitment by gangs. Those arriving at the U.S. border are being depicted as “illegal immigrants,” but in reality, crossing an international border for asylum is not illegal and an asylum seeker’s case must be heard, according to U.S. and international law."  
Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Immigrants, and Migrants: What's the Difference? 
This article clarifies that an immigrant plans to settle in another country. "Immigrants often go through a lengthy vetting process to immigrate to a new country. Many become lawful permanent residents and eventually citizens.
"A migrant is someone who is moving from place to place (within his or her country or across borders), usually for economic reasons such as seasonal work.
"Many of those crossing the U.S. border from Central American countries—El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—are in fact asylum seekers, not migrants. They have a well-founded fear of persecution if they were to return home.

"May 29, 2020 – Yet another HHS Office of Inspector General report is published, revealing that CBP separated more asylum-seeking families at ports of entry than previously reported, and for reasons other than what had been outlined in public statements. CBP claimed it had only separated seven asylum-seeking parents from children between May 6, 2018, and July 9, 2018. But in reality, at least 60 asylum-seeking families were separated in May and June 2018, at 11 ports of entry."
Now we're putting parents and children in jail. Is that any less traumatic to these poor children? If you have a child or a niece or nephew or any child relative, would you want them put in a cage? Psychologists think these poor children will have dire mental health consequences for years from being in such a situation just a few days. But, the nightmare doesn't end there. See American Psychological Association's article on what the stress is like for an illegal alien's children. 
There are many more articles there to support my position. I realize our country can't take in all the refugees, not just Hispanic, but from many other parts of the world. Every industrialized country has a quota of how many refugees it thinks it can absorb. We have cut ours to a third. Is this a Christian thing to do? We are mostly a nation of people who believe in God, and most of us still believe in Jesus Christ. Would Jesus put children in chain link fences or prisons? Would He put refugees in prison before they were charged with a crime? Yes, migrants are here illegally, but that status might change if they were accepted in as legal workers. For the refugee, when your life is in danger, you don't have 5 years to apply to a refugee organization and wait while they come to kill you until your application is approved. I think most of these poor people run first and don't have a clue about the legal process. All they want is escape. For the migrant worker, all they want is a job. Some may want to stay permanently. Then they are immigrants, and they want citizenship. The migrants just want to work and send some money back home while here temporarily. They improve our economy while they work here. They pay taxes. We need the workers.
For those who are so adamant about well, these people broke the law and so they deserve... consider that many of them are actually not breaking the law to seek asylum. If murderers were after you, would you think to check with a lawyer first?
And to those who cite moms who broke the law have their children taken away, are those kids put in chain link fences with a mat on the floor? No. Some have relatives to take them. Others go to a warm, hopefully safe foster home with a real bed. 
To be a foster parent, you must provide a bed for each child, at minimum. Some states have a square footage requirement. See
Yes, the migrants are breaking the law to come across the border. In this country, last time I looked, a person was innocent until proven guilty.
Most refugees and migrants alike are 
able and willing to work. Why not give these people our unwanted jobs and put them to work instead of filling our prisons? We should have a system in place for those who cross our borders. Give them some sort of temporary permit so they can legally work. Allow them basic human rights, rights we agreed to in our United Nations. We don't need a wall. We need compassion and understanding. We need workers for our fields, restaurants, and other jobs our native people don't like to do. This isn't taking jobs from our people.
Here's what the National Academy of Sciences had to say about the 
impact of illegal immigration on our economy:
"The entry of new workers through migration increases the likelihood of filling a vacant position quickly and thus reduces the net cost of posting new offers. The fact that immigrants in each skill category earn less than natives reinforces this effect. Though 
immigrants compete with natives for these additional jobs, the overall number of new positions employers choose to create is larger than the number of additional entrants to the labor market. The effect is to lower the unemployment rate and to strengthen the bargaining position of workers." Wikipedia has a lot more about the issue, with good references, for the most part.
How many of us are standing in line wanting to harvest fields? The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a government resource that anticipates demand for every job in the country, even though some jobs go by different names. Here's what it says about farm work:
"Smaller farms that sell their products directly to consumers through venues such as farmer’s markets might create some new opportunities for agricultural workers. These direct-to-consumer farms have grown in popularity, and farmers at these operations may hire agricultural workers as an alternative to expensive machinery.
"Job prospects for agricultural workers—especially farmworkers and laborers and agricultural equipment operators—should be very good because 
workers frequently leave the occupation due to the intense physical nature of the work. [bold added by me]
"Prospects are expected to be best for those who can speak both English and Spanish."
You may argue that people want fast food and restaurant work, as well as service industry work. The Occupational Outlook Handbook says,
Employment in food preparation and serving related occupations is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations, and gain about 1 million jobs. Population and income growth are expected to result in greater consumer demand for food at a variety of dining places, including restaurants and grocery stores.
Food preparation and serving related occupations is the lowest paid occupational group, with a median annual wage of $24,220 in May 2019.
Also, the ability to read and fill out the application in good English definitely helps us natives. Did you know that many Hispanic folks coming over the border speak Spanish poorly? They are used to speaking Native Languages like Mayan, Incan, or others that are as diverse as other Native Americans' languages. Did you think that Native American applies only to North America?
You might want to read this 
NPR story about this family. "Hilda learned Spanish in the U.S., while she and Jayro were in a detention facility. They'd been caught at the border, and they spent nearly a year locked up. Nobody in there spoke Mam.
"She says she was placed with an interpreter she could barely understand.
"She tried talking with her son, but he'd made up his mind to forget that language. She became depressed. So another detainee taught her Spanish." From the article 
"Wanted: Speakers of Mayan Languages..."
This makes for huge language barriers for all these poor people, and many opportunities for miscommunication and misunderstanding. But the ones who are suffering the most are children. Is anyone listening?



I originally wrote this article in 2018. Sadly, some of the articles have not been updated, but I updated what I could. All of the information I have presented is still relevant. 


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