Suffer the Children

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentarySince last month, there has been a surge in the number of families and unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border. This surge has increased the number of those from Central America by 60 percent, and is now posing a problem for U.S. President Joe Biden. Biden issued an executive order canceling former U.S. President Donald Trump’s order to make all unaccompanied children and teens from Central America stay in Mexico until their immigration status can be adjusted. Biden’s executive order will now allow unaccompanied children and teens to stay in the United State until their immigration claims can be processed. Otherwise, all other refugee groups from Central America still have to stay in Mexico for their immigration status to be adjusted.

Many Republicans are saying that Biden is being “too soft” on the refugees. However, what should be pointed out is that the surge of people trying to escape from Central America actually started in April, 2020, and has not stopped. The reasons for these people trying to get into the United States has not changed—gang violence in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, extreme poverty, almost non-existent government and police, and poor to almost non-existent health care. The odds of dying young in these Central American countries from all causes is fairly high. The option left for many of these refugees is head to the United States to seek stability and a better way of life.

Besides, many of these refugees already have families in the United States, and these refugees simply want to join them. We have to keep in mind that these people walked all the way from their countries of origin to the U.S.-Mexico border. This is a journey of 2,000 miles, and it is a pretty dangerous one. If a person is traveling on foot, the journey can take 38 days if they are lucky. They can and do encounter dangerous terrain, bandits, and more often than not have had no food for days. Even with whatever help religious charities provide for these people along the way, it does not make their journey any safer. And all of this goes on the premise they will reach the United States, or will even be allowed to stay. The sufferings these children and teens have to go through can never be calculated. President Biden has said that the United States can handle the situation on the border. But the United States should help the countries in Central America address the problems within Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala which are what is driving all these people to leave. The previous U.S. administration did not do this, and perhaps it is this policy that should be given a new look at.

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