Suffer the Little Angels of Central America

by Daniel Nardini

They are being blamed by American Tea Party and extreme rightwing groups as “invading America.” The number of children from Central America is overwhelming the best efforts of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Border Patrol to secure the U.S.-Mexico border. Thousands upon thousands of children, mostly from the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are crossing through Mexico in droves and coming into the United States either with their parents or without. The U.S. government estimates we may see as many as 60,000 people, mostly children, come into the United States this year alone. U.S. President Barack Obama has called this justifiably a “humanitarian crisis.”

In the case of children from Mexico and their families, it is much easier for U.S. immigration to process them and eventually deport them. In the case of children from the three countries in Central America, it is much harder because unaccompanied children cannot be so easily returned, and the three Central American governments where most of these children come from are just as overwhelmed trying to take them back in. Why are so many children and their families leaving El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras? All three countries are experiencing brutal gangland wars that are killing thousands of innocent people. And these gangs are like virtual armies with machine guns, organized and brutal discipline, and connections through every part of these Central American countries.

These gangs have been known to massacre whole sections of neighborhoods, kill all passengers on bus routes, battle police with impunity (in too many cases the police were out-gunned and outnumbered), and battles between rival gangs have left hundreds dead. Under these circumstances it is no wonder that so many children and their families have decided to run as fast as they can to escape the carnage. While the majority of these children and their families have run for the United States (mainly because many of these children refugees have families already here), the United States is not the only country affected by this crisis. Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and even Belize are being overwhelmed with children from these three Central American countries having fled to these respective countries. Even gang members are fleeing these countries—especially when their gangs were on the losing end of a fight.

None of these children and their families want to flee, but they are either staying or they are living. It is that simple. The sheer overwhelming numbers has stymied U.S. government officials on what to do with all these children and their families, and how to either send them back or what to do with them. What equally upsets me is that there are those who insinuate that the governments of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras have “told” their people to “go to the United States.” Apparently the reality that so many of these people could be killed in the gangland wars does not enter into the logic of these extreme rightwing and Tea Party morons. I find it equally disturbing that a growing number of rightwing pundits are blaming Obama for “not securing the U.S.-Mexico border” and want him impeached. I find it totally disgusting that people within the Tea Party and other extremist groups are trying to make political hay out of a tragic situation. Suffer the poor children of Central America, and may God help them!

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