I was dumbfounded, recently, when approached by an acquaintance who said these very words to me. Besides the fact that I cringe when hearing human beings referred to as ‘illegal,’ the woman I was talking to was an immigrant herself. She was fortunate to be an adult when she fled persecution in Russia, coming to this country only after paying fees and waiting 3 months – “Why”, she asks, “should someone else be allowed to skip the burden I endured?”
I explained that it is not as if these children are coming here to shirk their household chores. Perhaps they are not being systematically targeted or persecuted because of their race or religion, but they are subjected to indiscriminate gang violence, intense poverty and malnutrition – and hence a shorter average life span. Maybe we can all agree that mothers sending their unaccompanied children to our borders is a frightening idea, but it is certainly understandable.
There remains no remedy in our immigration system for this influx of children at the Mexican border today. In Texas, Republican governor Rick Perry tried to “fix” the situation by deploying National Guard troops to the border.
Currently the only solution looks like this: Thousands of children are being housed in makeshift accommodations that lack basic necessities. These children have been subjected to harsher housing conditions than felons. As a world leader in Human Rights and a beacon to the oppressed, the United States should have a humanitarian program for children who are suffering at this level. And if one is not in place, it should be a priority to create such a solution.
It was encouraging to hear California Governor, Democrat Jerry Brown, remark in support of humane treatment of unaccompanied minors. He also questioned the wisdom of Texas governor Perry and his deployment of National Guard troops to the border, saying he believed that “Wiser minds will prevail.”
I hope Governor Brown is right.
Winograd and Schwartz Attorneys at Law, PC