The exodus of children from Latin American countries across the border into the U.S. continues while the people who can do something about it would rather win political points than address this humanitarian crisis.
Many of the children, some as young as four, are escaping dangerous life in their home countries, especially Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. They are escaping deprivation and violent gangs; many of these younger immigrants have witnessed what no innocent child should see.
More than 50,000 children have been caught crossing the border since October 2013. Minors from Central America cannot be deported immediately according to the 2008 law that had bi-partisan support. The children are given a hearing before they are deported. Before that they are given a health inspection; many are placed with a sponsor or a family member while their case winds through the immigration court system. Those children that are not quickly sent back can expect to be in this country for up to two years.
President Obama has called for $3.7 billion to address this issue, including increased border patrols and more immigration judges to clear the backlog.
It would be as effective to use that money to address the causes of the immigration surge in the countries the children are fleeing. Life in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador has been dangerous for decades. Poverty and violence is a way of life there for the average citizen.
Instead of addressing only the symptoms of this crisis, the U.S. (we’re looking at you Mr. Obama and Congress) should address the cause. The requested $3.7 billion allocation would do more good if used to improve the economies of the three coutnries with a total population of 30 million.
The U.S. can provide micro-loans for the impoverished in Central America. Miccro-financing has yielded wonderful results where it has been applied in places like India and some of the poorest areas of Africa. The idea is that you loan small amounts to people who create a small business in their neighborhood, as the business grows, they pay back the loan, hire employees and help others with their businesses.
The cost to the American taxpayer will be much less taking that route than serving the needs of more than 50,000 kids here for the next few years—or forever.