Saturday, August 16, 2008

Are we as Americans seriously such chickenshits we have come to this?

In the first seven months of this year, the United States has deported 90,000 children to Mexico - without a parent or guardian. (Link goes to a Spanish-language news site.)

Frankly, it is a disgrace that this country has become so overtaken by xenophobic hysteria with regard to human migration that the health, safety and well-being of children is disregarded and they are abandoned to the fates on the streets of frequently violent and crime-ridden border towns.

According to the report linked, 13,500 of those children, or 15%, find themselves in limbo at the border. With no family and no way to take care of themselves, the lucky ones are taken in by social service and religious organizations, but the unlucky ones are simply abandoned to the streets to beg for their existence, or to fall prey to human traffickers. Many are sexually exploited.

In addition to the unbelievable inhumanity of treating children as de facto felons, the practice of deporting these children is having a huge impact on Mexican states with high migration rates that are ill-equipped to deal with this massive influx of untended children dumped by the United States government.

It is time that we step back and remember that these are not hardened criminals - they are children who were brought to the United States by their parents with no choice in the matter. For the sake of wanting to continue calling ourselves a civilized nation, it is imperative that we stop this madness right now, and immediately get together with Mexico to develop a repatriation policy for children under 18 that takes into account the rights all children are entitled to, as set forth in the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child, since both Mexico and the United States are signatories.