July 6, 2014

The dirty little secret beneath the raucous right-wing hissy fit over the children at the US border seems to have been buried. It's time to unearth it.

It isn't as though these children woke up one morning and decided they were going to risk leaving their Central American safety net in order to swim the Rio Grande and then hope they could find refuge in the United States.

They leave those countries because of the danger and poverty they face on a daily basis. When risking it all to land in the United States beats life in their native country, something is wrong.

But the reason for the problem once they reach the border? That's attributable directly to George W. Bush and the Republican Congress he had back in 2002. Those were the heyday of the Bush administration, when tax cuts and war authorizations flowed like living water.


Under a 2002 human trafficking law signed by former President George Bush and reauthorized again in 2008 with additional protections, Mexican unaccompanied children apprehended crossing the border are automatically returned without formal deportation proceedings because the two countries share a border. But unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala cannot be sent back without going through the deportation process, since that law ensured that America wouldn’t send kids back to a dangerous situation. (Honduras, for example, has experiences increased gang violence in 40 percent of its territory, while violence against females is surging in Guatemala.) Authorities must instead process these children and determine whether they have credible proof that they cannot return to their countries of origin. Central American children are given basic care like medical screenings in processing centers before being placed with relatives or foster care until they can appear in front of immigration judges.

Teabirchers' knickers are in a twist because of the danger a good number of these children could be granted refugee status:

Despite the increased deportation efforts, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) previously determined through a series of interviews with 404 children that 58 percent of unaccompanied minors “raise potential international protection” claims to refugee protections under international law.

Imagine being one of those kids on a bus, having managed to leave your home, your family, and everything familiar, including violence and poverty. Imagine the horrible journey they made to the border, and then imagine how they must have felt when they were confronted with this:


I'll bet those people call themselves Christians too.

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