WHY ARE KIDS FLOODING ACROSS THE BORDER
I am not one to get involved in politics, and I understand this is a hot political issue right now, but I have to ask: Why would a parent send a child on a thousand to two thousand mile trip alone?
From what I have read that is the question on the minds of millions of Americans. I have to admit that I asked myself the same thing. It's hard to imagine sending a small child on such a journey. Yet, children as young as six years of age are walking up to Border Agents, exhausted, alone, and begging for asylum. According to recent estimates, more than 50,000 kids have crossed the Mexican border since October 2013. They are mostly from Central American countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. I wondered what their mothers were thinking, then I researched their countries.
The travel brochures for all three countries talk about pristine beaches, inspiring volcanoes, unique wildlife, friendly people, and breathtaking vistas. But what they don't talk about is the violence, poverty, and lack of economic growth.
Each year the Heritage Foundation releases a report on economic freedom which tracks the "advancement in economic freedom, prosperity, and opportunity. The 2014 Index of Economic Freedom sheds light on the reasons why parents are helping their children flee their countries.
Take El Salvador for instance, their economic growth is considered stagnant. Why? Because corruption and violence "is a serious problem". It fits with the stories the kids are sharing--gang violence, rampant crime, and limited or no law enforcement.
It's basically the same story for Guatemala and Honduras--poverty, no property rights, gang violence, and drug cartels. Even UNICEF considers the region to be the "most unequal" in the world. More than 40 percent of the population in these countries are children under the age of 18, and over half of them live in poverty with no hope for the future.
To most of these families, the only possibility to improve their lives and those of their children is to cross the border into the United States. To them the danger of such a long journey and the possibility of death en-route is worth the possibility of freedom and security. Given the same circumstances, I would flee my country too. The only difference, is that I would not send my kids alone. I would go with them--even if the laws in the United States made it impossible for me to stay (our laws send adult illegals back, but do not send children who arrive without an adult back until their case is reviewed) --I would still not send them alone.
NEXT WEEK: The Child Trafficking Series.
Kids--all kids--are our future and it is up to us to determine what that future will be.