Thousands of Children Are Arriving at the U.S. Border

Young migrants at the border wall in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Photos Credit: Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters

The U.S. president has a message: “I can say quite clearly, ‘Do not come over. Do not leave your town or city or community.”

It is not working. Thousands of migrants are coming from Central America. Thousands of children are coming without their parents. It is a full-blown crisis at the U.S. southern border.

Who can blame the migrants? They are fleeing poverty and crime. A long walk away is the golden land, the United States. There are only so many ways to get in. One way is to cross the border without getting caught. That makes you an undocumented immigrant. The ‘Dreamers’ are their children born in the old country. Their children born in the U.S. are citizens of the U.S.

For a long time, it was Mexicans crossing the border looking for work. Today, it is Central Americans looking for asylum. Asylum is a way to say things are so bad in your home country that you cannot live there in safety. To seek asylum, you show up at the border.

Asylum seekers from Central America in La Joya, Texas. Photo Credit: Adrees Latif/Reuters.

It is not that the U.S. does not have room for newcomers. It does not have room for them at the border.

Now, America is turning away adults who are seeking asylum. It wants them to wait in Mexico for processing. It really wants a way for them to apply for asylum while still in their home country. Efforts to do this are underway. No one thinks those efforts will make a difference right away.

The photos are of people lying on mats. They are of children living behind fences. Housing is a big problem. The children are supposed to be processed within three days. Some kind of place to live has to be found while officials search for relatives or friends who will take them in. Some kids will be returned to their home countries.

A makeshift Customs and Border Protection processing center. Photos credit: Adrees Latif/Reuters

There are too few judges and too many cases for those judges to handle. When America finds a way to manage asylum, more people will try to come here.

The next question is, what can America do to make the home countries of immigrants a better place to live? That will take years, and there is no certainty that it will be successful. The Covid-19 pandemic adds to the problem.

A long time ago, immigrants arrived in America by ship. They went through Ellis Island. If they were sick, they officials sent them back to their home country. The system to handle immigrants was on a one-by-one basis.

Think of it this way. You can get 100,000 people into and out of a football stadium in hours. But what if you had to interview each person? Check their papers? Find a place for them to stay?

This is a challenge to America that is not going away.

Source: The New York Times