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I can't even imagine what it must be like. I can empathize, but no one who hasn't experienced it can understand how hellish a place must be for parents to send their offspring—unaccompanied—into and across Mexico on the hope that they'll be able to make it over the American border. In La Pradera, a Honduran neighborhood where seven children were victims of murder during the month of April, one mother said: "The first thing we can think of is to send our children to the United States .... That’s the idea, to leave." I can't even imagine.

Reading about these desperate parents left me with one overriding emotion: gratitude. I am so grateful to live where I do, in a place where my family and I feel safe, where I don't have to weigh the kinds of decisions that the mothers and fathers in La Pradera do. I know there are policy debates that flow from the decisions they have made, and, typically, that's what I would have focused on when reading and thinking about something in the news. But, for whatever reason, I can't get past the emotional piece.

Maybe it's the despair I've been feeling about the murders of young Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs by truly evil people, and then the broader violence that has followed. Maybe it's the suicide bombings and other hate-based murders across the world, from Nigeria and Kenya to Iraq and Syria to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

I do know that worldwide violence from war has significantly dropped in the past few years compared to the horrific violence of the 20th century, and earlier centuries as well. Even in this country, despite horrific mass killings, the overall crime and murder rates have fallen precipitously since 1990. The numbers—or at least the direction in which they are heading—do tell a positive story. But for whatever reason, one incident after another this week about children and senseless violence just got to me.

Please follow me beyond the fold for more.

These stories brought me back to how I felt after 9/11. You see, I live in Manhattan. Not just my country, but my island was attacked. Afterwards, I felt lucky to be alive. I also wondered and feared if more attacks would come. Would my home become a war zone? Thankfully (yes, my fingers are crossed as I write this), that has not become a reality. But I remember a time when that seemed much more likely. Would I move away? Where would I go?

I could have done it. It would have been a terrible inconvenience, a logistical nightmare, a serious financial hit, and a real disruption to the life I'd built. But I could have done it. That, in and of itself, is something for which I am grateful. But it has not (again, fingers crossed) proven necessary. I am comfortable living here, raising a family here, in the place that I choose to live, and which offers me so much.

Being able to exercise that choice is something I didn't really appreciate until 9/11. Most often, even since then, having that choice isn't something at the front of my mind. That kind of normalcy is a privilege. But it shouldn't be. It should be the right of every parent. But in too many parts of the world, it is not. It's certainly not in La Pradera. Not for the parents who said goodbye to their boys and girls, who thought that keeping them home was less safe than sending them on a perilous journey northward.

When the children of La Pradera and elsewhere in Central America got to the border, virtually all of them ended up in federal custody. Buses carrying them were faced with ugly protests in the town of Murrieta in Southern California, which included one incident where a protestor spit in the face of a pro-immigrant advocate. It's worth noting that Murrieta also witnessed a strong outpouring of support, including a well-attended pro-immigrant vigil.

I wonder if any of the protestors knew exactly what the people on the buses were fleeing. I wonder. I understand that there have to be limits, that we cannot simply open our borders to all who want to come. Of course, virtually no one in the immigration debate is saying that we should. I also understand that we have to enforce the laws that we have. Most, if not all, of the children on those buses will end up back where they came from. I wonder if the protestors understood that. I do understand that if they are not returned to their homelands, that even more children will come, and more will die along the way. Of course, they are dying back home as well. There are no easy answers here.

There are countless forms of privilege in this world. The most base-level one is that of normalcy, of safety. I love my children, and would do whatever is necessary to keep them safe. So do the parents of La Pradera. That's why they sent their kids away. I can't even imagine.

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Comment Preferences

    •  I think this is just a prelude (15+ / 0-)

      of the chaos and turmoil - the enormous refugee crises, one after another -  once Climate Change -really- starts impacting whole countries - drowning some; desertifying others; causing food production issues, etc.  Borders all over the world are going to mean nothing, if history is any teacher.

      And these RWNJ, so terrified of these current child refugees, will be among those feeling "entitled" to move to someplace where they can have their "old life" back.  What surprises await them.

    •  And it's our fault to boot.. (0+ / 0-)

      An advocate for the children in Central America on MHP said a horrific phrase telling their story, "La Sombra Negra" -- the black shadow. This is a death squad who is recruiting child soldiers. There are similar death squads in Honduras and Guatelmala. What's worse are these death squads are referencing the hall of shame of death squads in the '80s, e.g. General Maximiliano Hernández Martínez, Domingo Monterrosa, and Roberto D´Aubuisson. The Reagan Administration used the CIA to sponsor these death squads to fight the imagined Marxist threat in Nicaragua (which does not have fleeing children). One of the Reagan Administation darlings (because he professed an evangelical faith), Rios Montt, was convicted of genocide in 2013.

      The Reagan Administration stopped the Carter Administration policy of making military aid contingent on whether there were human rights abuses or not. Unfortunately the Obama Adminstration is following Reagan and not Carter:

      IT’S time to acknowledge the foreign policy disaster that American support for the Porfirio Lobo administration in Honduras has become. Ever since the June 28, 2009, coup that deposed Honduras’s democratically elected president, José Manuel Zelaya, the country has been descending deeper into a human rights and security abyss. That abyss is in good part the State Department’s making.


       The police in Tegucigalpa, the capital, are believed to have killed the son of Julieta Castellanos, the rector of the country’s biggest university, along with a friend of his, on Oct. 22, 2011. Top police officials quickly admitted their suspects were police officers, but failed to immediately detain them. When prominent figures came forward to charge that the police are riddled with death squads and drug traffickers, the most famous accuser was a former police commissioner, Alfredo Landaverde. He was assassinated on Dec. 7. Only now has the government begun to make significant arrests of police officers.

      State-sponsored repression continues. According to Cofadeh, at least 43 campesino activists participating in land struggles in the Aguán Valley have been killed in the past two and a half years at the hands of the police, the military and the private security army of Miguel Facussé. Mr. Facussé is mentioned in United States Embassy cables made public by WikiLeaks as the richest man in the country, a big supporter of the post-coup regime and owner of land used to transfer cocaine.

      And yet, in early October, Mr. Obama praised Mr. Lobo at the White House for leadership in a “restoration of democratic practices.” Since the coup the United States has maintained and in some areas increased military and police financing for Honduras and has been enlarging its military bases there, according to an analysis by the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Congress, though, has finally begun to push back. Last May, 87 members signed a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton calling for a suspension of military and police aid to Honduras. Representative Howard L. Berman of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote to her on Nov. 28, asking whether the United States was arming a dangerous regime. And in December, Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, and others obtained conditions on a small portion of the 2012 police and military aid appropriated for Honduras.

      Honduras is the murder capital of the World. El Salvador is number 2. It is no coincidence that unaccompanied children are fleeing from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. It is the direct result of US policy, both in the past and present. In addition to granting refugee status to these children the Obama Administration should make military aid to these countries contingent on human rights.
  •  Refugees (37+ / 0-)

    That's what, as far as I know, the United Nations has called these children. That's what they are, and that's how we should look at them. Even if that's a distinction the anti-brown people (I'm not calling them anti-immigrant because of course they aren't against ALL undocumented migrants) can't make.

    REFUGEES. It's that simple.

    All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 06:05:43 PM PDT

  •  An example of Maslow's hierarchy of needs (14+ / 0-)

    Safety is one of the foundation levels. This second level is trumping the higher third level of Love and Belonging, including family, for these children.

  •  "There Have To Be Limits" (13+ / 0-)

    Now there's a tough one. My Catholic faith taught me that there are no limits to caring for the less fortunate. That's where the white - right hits a wall,  as the diarist appears to do as well. This is not so much a policy debate as it is a moral one. Do you lock the door on a child fleeing sex traffickers because you've already got a of 6 of your children to care for?

    “I’m able to fly, do what I want, essentially. I guess that’s what freedom is — no limits.” Marybeth Onyeukwu -- Brooklyn DREAMer.

    by chuco35 on Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 06:08:33 PM PDT

  •  It is a sign (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YucatanMan, bahaba, Ian Reifowitz, Yonit

    of how irrational we are.

    Consider the following paragraph, which is provably true:

    Deaths from violence has decline enormously since the end of World War II. Moreover, deaths from murder, and indeed all types of violent crime have declined enormously since 1990 in most of the industrialized World.  In the United States the murder rate is near century lows. Moreover, incarceration rates among the young are cratering: down 42% since 1995

    Statistically the human race is becoming less violent.

    Stop and think about that for a second.  The human race is becoming less violent.  WHY?  And what accounts for your perception?

    Well, your reaction to the immigration story is very human.  I don't know what the solution is, but sending children back seems not to be the solution.

    Except we really aren't sending many kids back. We sent a grand total of about 3,300 kids back last year, hardly a huge number.  The idea that the US is shipping thousands up thousands of kids back simply is inaccurate.

    The answer, of course, is the visual image overwhelms logic.  It triggers feelings of empathy - as they should   Perhaps they rightly suggest that any level of violence is unacceptable.

    The problem is this incorrect perception leads one to form  bad models of the world.  The biggest single cause of racism in America is the fear among whites of black on white crime. The irrationality of this belief is easily seen.  About 85% of murders by blacks are committed against blacks.  The notion that they are targeting white people is demonstrably untrue.  And yet the image certainly exists in the minds of many white people, who live in fear of getting off the wrong freeway exit.

    To start by saying humans are becoming less violent is to articulate a very different reality.  It suggests that the barriers that exist between human beings are becoming lower.  It is to start an entire conversation of what is going right and how to continue the trend.

    But this trend simply is at odds with two many narratives.  The right says culture is collapsing, so violence must be increasing.  The left says income inequality is increasing, so crime must be increasing.

    The reality doesn't fit an existing narrative.

    Politicians - "You can't be a pimp and a prostitute too"

    by fladem on Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 06:16:47 PM PDT

  •  "There have to be limits..." When Vietnam (18+ / 0-)

    fell, how many immigrants did we accept from there? Did it change what kind of nation we are? Did it cause our governments to collapse? Massive unemployment? Any of the woes predicted due to these children's arrivals?


    While I do appreciate the diary and think it's working along the right lines, language like "there have to be limits" carries the sort of unspoken assumption often heeded directly from nativist agitators: the idea that, given the chance, the entire country or countries would simply pick up and move here, millions upon millions.

    And that's simply not true.

    Perhaps if there should be limits, we should impose those limits on ourselves and our constant desire to meddle in the affairs of other nations, to demand they enforce our will upon their people, that we push violence out of our country into theirs, that we force them to buy our products at our prices, and that they surrender their inexpensive natural resources and labor for our easy living and comfort.

    Vietnam? Depending on how they are counted and the dates used, between 900,000 and 1,200,000 refugees were accepted by the USA from the disaster we caused in that nation. We should be mindful that our policies are causing similar disasters in Central America today.

    The children arriving on our border generally already have family in the USA or a planned destination. Send them on their way to their own families within the USA and stop warehousing them on the border, separated from their brothers and sisters.

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 06:30:09 PM PDT

    •  "heard" not "heeded" n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, thanatokephaloides

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 06:43:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  As I wrote above, you misread what I wrote (4+ / 0-)
      "I understand that there have to be limits, that we cannot simply open our borders to all who want to come."
      That is not about children or refugees, but a broader statement about fully open borders, which is a far different topic. I wanted to clarify that for anyone reading the comments.

      I also appreciate the positive words you wrote about the diary. Thank you.

      •  That is certainly understandable and I did T&R (3+ / 0-)

        your diary.

        I just wanted to be clear that we can certainly accept all these children (and more) and it won't even be a blip on the radar screen.

        The problem?   Immigration judges are already about 360,000 cases behind.  Even with 40 new judges requested by Obama, it is estimated that many of these children -- refugees -- will remain warehoused one to two years.  

        And that's just the current number, not any more who may arrive.

        Warehousing refugee children for one to two years -- 60 cots to a room, room after room -- is just unacceptable.  

        This is not a sudden crisis. The numbers jumped up way back in 2011 in countries neighboring Guatemala, El Salvadore, and Honduras. Violence has been rapidly ratcheting up in Honduras, due to our militarization of the country and pursuing our failed drug war with US Marines and local forces who happen to be involved in death squads.  Mexico, Nicaragua and Costa Rica all reported big upticks over two years ago.

        Well, we've simply ignored the crisis until enough arrived here that the processing system was overloaded and now is falling rapidly behind. The backlog is our own fault.  Warehousing children should never have been contemplated.

        It is a mistake in policy to warehouse children. The majority have family here whom they were seeking to join. They should be permitted to join their family. Brothers and sisters have been separated, warehoused apart, and not allowed to see each other, furthering the trauma of leaving their country and a dangerous journey.

        It is simply wrong to treat children this way. I can't say it in any stronger terms. We cannot lock up children for year after year. It will be severely damaging to their physical and mental health to have them locked away like this.  We've all seen the photographs of the living conditions.  And that's all that is planned -- even with expanded "shelters" which are nothing more than children's prisons.

        In every case possible, they should be immediately allowed to travel to their family and rejoin as normal as possible a living situation. The status quo is about as wrong as possible and certainly would be something we'd criticize other countries over.

        Suppose, for example, that children fleeing across the Syrian/Turkey border were simply locked within warehouses, sleeping mats thrown on the floors, behind chain link fencing in cages, and told they would just be sent back to Syria within a year or two, whenever Turkey got around to it.  Even if, for example, they had living family within Turkey and the children carried their phone number with them.

        Appalling.  The USA is behaving in the worst possible manner. Locking up children should end.

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 09:14:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Many are with families (0+ / 0-)

          Under the law, unaccompanied minors are handed over to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). ORR has set up shelters in various places, including on military bases.

          ORR tries to place the children in a family while they await their hearing. ORR tries to locate family, friends of the family, or other foster placements. As I understand it, ORR is vetting the families.

          I don't have a link for you, but the stats I recall from one recent article on this were that ORR has placed about 90% in a family situation. About 30% have been re-united with a parent.

    •  According to some (8+ / 0-)

      genealogical documents I found among my mother's things, my great-grandfather was an unaccompanied child immigrant.  He came from Germany in 1838; he was 12 and ran away from home to travel with friends who were emigrating.

      So when I think of these kids, I think of my great-grandfather, and how grateful I am that he was free to enter the country.  Must be some bad shit to make a kid leave home on his or her own at such a tender age, whether in 1838 or 2014.

  •  The idiots with the guns (11+ / 0-)

    who turned back the busload of children, never bothered to ask this:

    I wonder if any of the protestors knew exactly what the people on the buses were fleeing.
    The RW depends on its followers never asking that question. They prefer feeling smug. They don't like being left with questions that make them uncomfortable.

    Supple and turbulent, a ring of men/ Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn...

    by karmsy on Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 06:33:09 PM PDT

  •  Thank for this (10+ / 0-)

    What a thoughtful diary.  I am so glad you included the link to the pro-immigrant vigil that was help in Murrieta.  I used to live there and I was so disheartened by the ugly face of the protestors that I thought I would find out how others there felt.  My first stop was the decidedly conservative Calvary Chapel which I used to attend.  I was fearful of what that church was saying and lo and behold I found this sermon the Sunday after the protests, God Knows No Borders which ends with the message:

    1. Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
    a) Send these to CM. Send these to the churches in our Valley.
    Send these to the para-church organizations in our Valley.
    2. I want to be a church that cries, give me your tired, poor, & huddled masses.
    3. I want to be a church that lifts its lamp.
    4. I want to be a church that says send them to me.
     This along with an outpouring of support with calls for clothing and supplies and assistance restored my faith in the community.  

    Those protestors in Murrieta are an ugly minority.

    Thanks so much for your diary.  

  •  I was standing in back of my building today (11+ / 0-)

    as the second helicopter in a couple of minutes flew overhead. I was thinking about what it would be like if helicopters overhead meant the possibility of a bomb dropping, a building demolished, deaths. The words of U2's "Bullet the Blue Sky" came back to me. Here, I know what those helicopters are doing and where they are going: I am in the flight pattern of the Lifeflights to and from University Hospitals and the Cleveland Clinic.

    I cannot imagine the terror.

    Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

    by anastasia p on Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 06:35:19 PM PDT

  •  I wonder about Reagan's guns for Nicaragua (6+ / 0-)

    The effect that had on all this?

    Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

    by Helpless on Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 06:38:38 PM PDT

  •  Give me your tired, your poor (9+ / 0-)

    As long as they're not different from us and as long as they aren't actually, you know, poor.

    What has happened to this country?

  •  Refugees fleeing for their lives (12+ / 0-)

    are not immigrants.

    The major thing to be thankful for is that there are more that 100 DECENT nations -- unlike the US -- that have signed international treaties treating asylum as a Human Right.

    With the help of the UN, we will get these children to modern, non-savage nations. They will not be returned to be murdered.

    For that, I am thankful.

    President Obama once declared children who illegally enter the United States a “humanitarian crisis,” but officials with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) hope that the United States and Mexico will soon view these kids as refugees.

    The designation could potentially pressure the two countries to consider granting asylum to many of the 52,000 Central American children who have fled their countries due to criminal violence and grinding poverty.

    UNHCR officials hope to “discuss updating a 30-year-old declaration regarding the obligations nations have to aid refugees” on Thursday in Nicaragua. The Associated Press stated that “while such a resolution would lack any legal weight in the United States,” officials believe “the U.S. and Mexico should recognize that this is a refugee situation, which implies that they shouldn’t be automatically sent to their home countries but rather receive international protection.”

    According to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention which the United States follows, refugees are people who have a well-founded fear of being persecuted based on race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. The U.S. determines whether migrants are refugees in deciding whether to deport them back or grant asylum. And UNHCR is hoping to affect U.S. immigration officials’ decision-making with its own refugee definition.

    UNHCR official Leslie Velez argued last month that “unaccompanied children and families who fear for their lives and freedoms must not be forcibly returned without access to proper asylum procedures” because the core of refugee protection “is the prohibition of returning a refugee to persecution.” Velez suggested that “asylum-seekers should be identified, screened, and given full and meaningful access to asylum.”

    Normalcy is little more than a nationalistic version of white privilege.

    Getting these children out of the US and resettled in decent nations that honor Universal Human Rights are what I am working on, along with the UN.

    Conscious evolution is a human right. Demand your rights, today!

    by Pluto on Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 06:51:21 PM PDT

    •  Thanks for illuminating the distinction (10+ / 0-)

      and your tireless efforts. I'm in awe.  

    •  Ratification of refugee conventions (0+ / 0-)

      About 145 states have ratified the 1951 Convention on refugees, and 146 states have ratified the 1967 Protocol to that convention.

      The U.S. is the one that has ratified the Protocol but not the Convention. The Protocol incorporates articles 2-34 of the Convention, so the U.S. has accepted the obligations in 2-34.

      It is unfortunate that the Protocol doesn't incorporate article 1 as well, because that article includes--among other things--the vitally important concept of non-refoulement: that a state will not return a refugee to a country where the person faces persecution. However, as I understand it, the U.S., in theory, incorporates the international principles in article 1 into its immigration legislation and practice.

  •  Goodnight, folks. (4+ / 0-)

    Apologies, but it's late here on the East Coast. I'll read and reply to new comments in the AM. Thanks for stopping by.

  •  Two things: (9+ / 0-)

    1. I liken the protests against these children to the Civil Rights era.  Yeah, we knew things were bad in the South and things were unfair etc BUT it wasn't until people saw on their little black-and-white tee-vees police officers beating men, women and children, throwing the hose on them and having their dogs bite them that America recoiled and said to quote the Speaker, "Hell no!".

    Watching these people hurl their anti-whatever rhetoric at children (some in diapers) is a big hell no.

    2. The very idea that their parents thought it was best for their children to travel alone to a country none of them have ever visited, it would be criminal not to ask why.  Because the why trumps the safety of the journey.  The why rumps the unknown of what happens when they get to America.  The why trumps their ever seeing their children again.

    Given their families' sacrifice those children should be our guests and not the target for the lowest among us.  I hope the government moves veeeery slowly returning those kids to the why if ever.

  •  Could this be our biggest electoral challenge? (5+ / 0-)

    Thank you for the post. I have to admit that I only got as far as the link tothis article, about the decline of violence, when I came across a discussion that makes me wonder if we are missing our biggest electoral challenge.

    The (relevant part) of this conversation begins with an email from a caller from Davis California, who raises the issue of tribalism vs. globalism.

    It is certainly clear that one of the biggest problems this country faces is that we are fractured politically, and polarized to an extreme degree.

    Could our biggest electoral challenge be to persuade people that they're AMERICANS FIRST and, say, Christians  or Republicans second?

    I know that may SOUND preposterous, and sometimes I fear that we're often just as guilty, but there could be immense electoral advantage in being the party to remind Americans that our allegiance is to America FIRST and some of our other "tribes" second.

    A slogan I would like to see:

    Democratic Party, American First!

    What separates us, divides us, and diminishes the human spirit.

    by equern on Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 07:37:30 PM PDT

  •  How about solving the problems (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JG in MD, Yonit, jessical, Ian Reifowitz

    in their countries.  There is nothing special about the United States that other countries can't emulate. Europe seems to have solved the problem.
    Oh am I going to get flamed for this but here goes. I've been to many third world countries. They are dirty and filthy with garbage piled in the streets and half constructed building all over the place and guys with guns in doorways.
    Whose fault? Ours, the CIA, United Fruit.
    Bottom line is, you have to take your country back. Arguably Cuba did it.
    Is it easy, no. We had a war to free ourselves and another war to stay united.
    If we could kill the demand for drugs here it would help a lot. If we stopped demanding cheap clothes and electronics it would help a lot.
    If we stopped sucking natural resources it would help a lot.
    Oh and if we had a heart it would help a lot.
    Do you know how many communities across America are refusing to take in these kids? I do because my wife is on the federal task force.
    Look at your neighbor, there is a lot of hate out there,

    I was a liberal when liberal was cool, I was a liberal when liberal wasn't cool, but I always was and always will be a liberal.

    by LemmyCaution on Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 07:39:10 PM PDT

    •  Would you send away your own children? (0+ / 0-)

      -if you believed that there was any possible way to fix things for them otherwise??

      I'm not saying it would be impossible for them, just questioning how easily these protesters seem to find such a desperate action as little more than an economic threat. Just how easily would they send off their own children to undertake such a journey?

  •  This is the whole point! (3+ / 0-)

    If you bring this up to anti-immigration people they will tell you that we don't have the resources and if these little kids are tortured, raped, sold into slavery or killed, it is not our problem. They should have picked their birth country more carefully I guess.

    Not very Christian of them I think!  Obviously these people must belong to some other faith as they do not resemble what I was taught was a Christian attitude. Still it is an immediate problem, which could be solved reasonably for everybody IF people were reasonable and interested in solving it instead getting all Ayn Randian and self-protective.

    What we need world-wide is birth control, which many of these people oppose.  They don't seem to oppose oppression of little kids once they are born though!

    Perhaps I am being unfair, but the photos of the protestors at the border yelling and chanting "USA, USA", reminded me of the crowds opposing the first integration of public schools.  Do they really know how awfully ugly they look?

  •  Chicago. (3+ / 0-)

    The 4th of July. Sixteen killed in just one weekend. There is violence everywhere.

    But the problem is not just the violence. The problem is what causes the violence: The United States and our silly "war on drugs". We are responsible for the drug gangs in Honduras. They are supplying the black market our drug laws create. If we legalized or decriminalized drugs, the violence in Honduras would drop dramatically overnight.

    Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters. -- President Grover Cleveland, 1888

    by edg on Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 08:37:00 PM PDT

    •  But which drugs to legalize? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ian Reifowitz

      And I think if we changed what we did with NAFTA, and helped the economies in South America regain what they lost after NAFTA, that might go a long way in alleviating this situation. Then there are the drug cartels, however.

      •  Easy enough. (0+ / 0-)

        Marijuana, THC, mescaline, and ecstasy should be legal. Cocaine should be legal or at a minimum decriminalized. Heroin, meth, and many others could be decriminalized.

        The improved purity of FDA regulated drugs would eliminate many of the problems introduced by black market manufacture in the same way that legal alcohol reduces the harmful side effects of moonshine.

        Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters. -- President Grover Cleveland, 1888

        by edg on Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 03:04:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It was hard for my wife and I (4+ / 0-)

    to put our pre-teen son on the city bus to go to school.

    what were folks feeling to send their children thousands of miles to a strange land?

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 10:08:58 PM PDT

    •  What the parent in Honduras considers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I understand the concerns you mention.

      If one's pre-teen son were the target of a drug cartel, which wants to recruit him to work for them as an assassin (for example), and which gives him the option of joining them or being murdered, how might one's assessment of the idea of sending him to another country be affected? Sure, it is still a terrifying idea, but at least it offers a hope that the child will survive. If he is in the gun sights of a drug cartel, he does not have a future at home.

      Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador--all are small countries, compared to the U.S., so there isn't really an option of trying to get one's son away from the drug cartel by sending him to live with his aunt and uncle in another town.

      A twelve-year-old, Beatrice (Betty), fled from her home country after a member of a vicious criminal gang told her he wanted her to be his girlfriend--and, if she refused, the members of the gang would rape or kill her. She was granted asylum in the United States.

      A sixteen-year-old from El Salvador was denied asylum and deported. He was murdered as soon as he reached home.

  •  While it seems inevitable... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JG in MD, Ian Reifowitz

    ...that we are going to live in a world of citizens and refugees, there are international norms for treatment of refugees -- so near as I can tell as a reader, because neither the US nor Mexico is willing to see resettlement camps on the border, we are not following those laws.

    Unlike the author, I am not averse to open borders (even knowing it will never happen) -- nationalism is a disease and much of the world's economy is a heat engine deriving it's energy from the differences in misery across lines in dirt protected by men with guns.  But one need not hold that view to be deeply horrified by current events.

    This crisis was (and remains) a moment when the US could admit some huge percentage of these children and make a profound statement about American soft power.  I doubt we're going to be that smart, though.

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 02:46:06 AM PDT

  •  No one is fleeing Belize and Costa Rica (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stalegranola, Ian Reifowitz

    There's a reason for that. It's not that we can craft policies quickly to "mold" Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador into "Costa Rican clone states" but in thousands of ways over many decades we've enabled policies and practices to encourage those nations to be NOT Costa Rica. We can start by admitting then curtailing our support of corrosive policies and practices in Central America going forward.

    But first let's treat these refugees as refugees.

    Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 04:26:29 AM PDT

    •  Also where drug cartels operate (0+ / 0-)

      Drug cartels moving out of Mexico set up shop in those three Central American countries: Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador.

      In some areas, the drug cartels control local government and police forces.

  •  No one may be saying it but... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian Reifowitz

    While it may be true that no one in the debate is saying we should open our borders, a lot of people on the right are saying we need to "secure our border" (you obviously don't mean the one with Canada) and toss off the word "amnesty" in practically the same sentence. So those on the right push the memes that "Obama won't secure our border and these liberals want amnesty because it gives them more Democrat voters." So this particular straw man is powerful even though no one may actually "believe" that particular point of view. Either they believe that others believe it, or they just use it to whip up outrage.

    And who stands to benefit from locking up children while our system gets around to them? Why, people like Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group, with their bought-and-paid-for politicians (on both sides, I would bet).

    Very good diary, Ian.

  •  American Guns and Spanish Uber-Masculine (0+ / 0-)

    Entitlement have proven to be a fatal mix in Latin America.

    If any culture in the world is in need of Women's, Children's and Gender Rghts, it is Latin America.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 04:53:49 AM PDT

  •  As are a reality TV nation... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    portlandzoo, Ian Reifowitz

    We gather all of our news and information from screens...
    Television, computer, and even film screens.
    The events, realities we perceive are always  filtered, a step removed from what they actually are.
    We see people fleeing violence in Syria and arriving in refugee camps in Turkey and elsewhere from the comfort of our couches.
    We see rockets flying back and forth between Gaza and Isreal, but the real situation is just an abstraction for us...
    Something to be 'watched'.  
    Many of us don't every really know what is going on in our own communities, let alone countries in Central America.
    Perhaps if we put down our remotes, close the lap-tops  and get out a bit in our own communities, we will develop the empathy and thoughtfulness shown by the author of this diary, and become better equipped to really address the refugee/humanitarian crisis we face.

    "These 'Yet To Be' United States" --James Baldwin--

    by kevinbr38 on Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 05:28:38 AM PDT

  •  Remind me again why we can't take all comers? (0+ / 0-)

    Remind me again why we can't take all comers?

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