Skip to comments.Government needs to act now to help migrant children at the border
Posted on 07/21/2014 3:24:59 PM PDT by Oldeconomybuyer
I'm home from a week of lobbying in Washington, D.C., on behalf of the refugee children on our southern border. There were 13 of us, 11 from Loretto and two from our Guatemalan sister community, Sagrada Familia. We had appointments with 25 senators and representatives, plus other drop-in visits. We crossed the Capitol between the House and Senate office buildings three or four times each day.
NETWORK, LCWR and the Guatemalan Human Rights Commission lent staff to help us refine our message. Maruca and Yolanda from Guatemala told and retold tough accounts of children leaving home to escape gangs, to buy medicine, to escape abuse. One of the staffers asked what it was like in a village when children decided to go north. Did several of them jump onto the train together? Maruca said when the decision was made, the family went to a village coyote, paid him and made arrangements for the child's travel. Families know the risks of entrusting their children to thecoyotes, but it's a better choice to them than keeping the child at home.
It was right for us to be there in D.C., carrying our message. But will our visit have any effect? Not as much as we hope for, I suspect. Probably the law that requires an investigation of each child's account of why they came will be restricted. But we hope it will not be repealed or gutted. Children who come because of poverty are not eligible to stay, but those who are at risk of violence from gangs or drug traffickers or abusers are eligible.
The problem is that children don't easily report the dangers they faced. They are ashamed of sex abuse. Their cousins might be the traffickers. The gangs have threatened them. It takes time and skill -- and language facility -- to draw out a child. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees estimates that at least half the children are eligible for admission to the United States because of the risks they face at home. And that's what the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, passed in 2008, is meant to ensure. Let's not retreat from the moral high ground when we are tested.
Our recommendations for how the special appropriations should be spent probably will not be fully followed. I imagine some money will go to border security because politics demands it, even though the border is secure. These children are turning themselves in to the first patrol officer they see. They are not sneaking in.
But I do hope none of the money marked for the State Department will go to further militarize Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Again, one of the staffers asked us if it isn't important to beef up the military so they can control the gangs and traffickers. We explained that the military never does good policing. Soldiers are trained to obey orders and to shoot first. Police are trained to investigate, sort out conflicting accounts and listen to the community. There is plenty of police corruption in Central America, but in Guatemala, for example, the current president has been replacing the police with soldiers, and unsolved murders are again on the rise.
Most of all, Health and Human Services needs money. Their coffers are expected to run dry in mid-August. If Congress does not act now, there will be no money to detain and care for children. Perhaps they will all be put in local jails, or perhaps for a couple of weeks the borders will simply be open to children and their lives will depend on the kindness of strangers. I don't know if there are that many kind strangers. So I hope Congress understands it needs to act now.
Mary Ann, how many bedrooms do you have at your place?
Well call their Governments and tell them so moron!
While black kids in inner cities at risk of violence from gangs and drug traffickers are ignored. Why? Obama and his liberal minions already got their parents vote. Time to start importing.
Governments created the problem.
Catholic Charities should be responsible for these illegal aliens. Taxpayers should not pay for those who break our laws with impunity.
I understand the food at the Vatican is really good.
Help the little wetbacks turn around and march back south until they cross the river.
yes it did. and it’s not about to fix it either.
Lobby your own church Mary Ann - it’s what they do, isn’t it?
And if they weren’t Latino/Catholics pouring in, then how committed would you and the others have been?
The pro-immigration crowd is racist
The National "Catholic" Reporter, known in some circles as the National Schismatic Reporter or the Fishwrap, is not Catholic.
With the departure of their last actual, honest reporter, John Allen, who went to work for the Boston Globe, they are nothing but another liberal rag. Their local bishop ordered them to stop using the name "Catholic" - they defied him.
Now there is helping the immigrants, and there is “helping”.
A small nuance, to be sure, but the only requirement is to provide a short respite, then return the strangers at the door to their point of origin, anything else is rewarding unwanted behavior.
Make the situation BETTER in the Central American country from whence they came, and it shall be no punishment to return them to their land of nativity. They just had an “adventure”.
Someone proposed, I don’t know where, that the entire populations of the Central American republics be transferred en masse to the territory once known as “the United States of America, and all the disaffected libertarians and conservatives, and those who just do not want the southern border further overrun, all be permitted to colonize what is now a vacant location, and reconstruct the “spirit of America” on that tropical paradise. Of course, this time, there would be much more strict rules on who may or may not come in. Every visitor would be fully identified, and carefully observed at all times while a guest of this new republic.
In five years’ time, they would all be attempting to stream back South.
Let MEXICO take care of them. Problem solved.
Annie, shove it!
They are not ‘migrant children’ doofus, they are ‘illegal aliens’! What they hell part of ‘illegal’ do you devout catholics not understand?
Guatemala stopped adoptions of their babies by Americans -— and then allows THIS?!?!?!
Mary Ann McGivern, a Sister of Loretto, works with people who have felony convictions and advocates for criminal justice. She lived at a Catholic Worker house for 28 years. She has been a public radio commentator and written plays and a cookbook. She lives in St. Louis.
Sister of Loretto Mary Ann McGivern publishes a thoughtful (and anguished) statement about how her family’s struggle to deal with the death of two of her brothers from AIDS brought them into close contact with real-life gay folks. She points out that the experience of rubbing shoulders with real human beings who happen to be gay has significantly changed how many American Catholics think about issues of sexual orientation.
And then she concludes,
I am thinking a lot of my brothers Joe and Frank as I listen and read about the unconstitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and varied responses of gays, politicians, leaders in various faith communities. Joe and Frank died when they were 33 and 30. They should have had more hope for happiness than the world gave them. I am so grateful that the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered communities can be open about their sexual orientation and that today the joys of family life are open to them.
Where does that put me within the moral teaching of the church? Count me as someone with difficulties.
And here’s how some of her fellow Catholics choose to respond to Mary Ann McGivern’s thoughtful and painful cri de coeur—this is Sala Martin:
I’m sorry for your pain, but your brothers didn’t die because of anything the world did to them. They died because they had unprotected sex with multiple partners.
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