Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Illegal Immigrants Or Refugees

I always record "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart because I know I will get the news from an honest perspective, albeit usually in a humorous way. By the way, I believe much of the news is humorous. This morning I watched the show from last night and learned a great deal from his interview with Sonia Nazario who has written "Enrique's Journey" which sounds like an incredible book on the dilemma young children are facing as they try and escape what is happening to them in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Nazario has been working on this book for approximately ten years. At one point, she spent approximately three months riding on the top of a freight train with children as young as seven traveling through the three countries and Mexico trying to escape literally with nothing but the clothes on their back.

The book chronicles the journey of one young boy on his entire trip to try and find his mother. Here is a photograph of Sonia Nazario at a book signing:

Click on the image to make it larger: 

She told how these gangs made up of children as young as twelve would go into a school and kidnap, rape and take kids to their camps to prepare them for a dangerous ride to get to the American border. Some of her stories were unbelievable! If you saw the show, you know what I am talking about.

She told of how bad the situation was ten years ago; and it is much worse today as these gangs have had ten years of experience, and the way they are being treated and sent back to their native countries in violation of a United States law passed in 2007 strictly prohibiting children from being returned to be put in harms way in their native countries. Even President Obama is trying to get this law overturned!

There are reports on all the news stations showing Texans yelling things like this at these Spanish-speaking youngsters to " Go back to where you came from," "You're not welcome here," and "What you are doing is illegal."

The irony in these intolerant people is the children do not understand a word of what they are being told. I just love ignorant Americans! The fact all of them came to America as ancestors of immigrants themselves is completely lost on them.

Many of our ancestors came to America as refugees; and these dolts at the border have forgotten that. 

A poll published in the New York Times yesterday shows there is growing support for classifying these children who are fleeing for their lives as refugees.

America has a long history of bringing in immigrants from war-torn countries. Think of as recently as Vietnam and how we have seen a huge influx of Laotians, Vietnamese, Cambodians and Hmong just to name a few from Southeast Asia. The Khmer Rouge fell over thirty years ago, yet their culture of impunity remains as strong as ever according to Human Rights Watch in an article I read.

We continue to bring in refugees from the ongoing war in Somalia. FYI, the Minneapolis and St. Paul area has the largest concentration of Somali refugees in the country.

We can go farther back in our illustrious history and find many more examples of how we have taken in refugees whose lives have been threatened if they stayed in their nations of origin; but I think you get my point.

Something needs to be done about this influx of young people at our southern border. However, I do not think sending them back to be raped, beaten, enslaved and even murdered is not the compassionate America I live in.

As always, I look forward to your comments.




Colleen said...

Truly a tragedy in our world today. Compassion seems to be a foreign word in way to many people.s lives! Keep up the great blogs......

Carol said...

Very well thought out & written, Mike!

Frank said...

Hi, Mike!

You are absolutely right! Even today, an op-ed commentary in the StarTribune says we need to tighten our borders and send these children back immediately, and the Republican House in D.C. has made it clear that is exactly what they want to do. It is unconscionable in my mind. We need to send all these self-righteous people to visit the Statue of Liberty and have them read aloud the words of Emma Lazarus. How do they think their ancestors came to this great land?

Mary said...

Thanks for your kind and compassionate perspective and insight. I will pray it takes hold of many including our political, business, and faith leadership.

Take care and God Bless you!


Pamela Schutjer said...

Thank you Mike.I happened to be in AZ at the time the bus of children came through the border. Watching and reading the local news saddened me a great deal. There were vigilante groups - parents with their children along and people armed ready to protect their towns against the onslaught of these children. One report suggested that one border patrol agent said one child had Ebola which is quite improbable.

As I am currently trying to temper my liberal-tending views with an understanding of the other side, I tried to imagine myself, a parent in that protest group. I am seeing the states of AZ, TX,and CA bearing much of the initial burden of illegal immigrants sometimes can bring. These communities must suddenly provide education, social and medical services to these new arrivals. And as these states are not the richest, I would feel threatened, that these children will be using up the few dollars the schools do get if I lived there and were in their shoes. Granted, it was a sorry thing to see, but yes, I do understand a town, county, state being over stressed to a breaking point.

Legal immigrants and refugees to Minnesota from Africa and SE Asia generally have an orientation program and a few English classes before arriving to the U.S. In fact most new arrivals from SE Asia are from refugee camps in Thailand where there are some English classes offered. In fact, when the Karen and Karenni from Burma/Myanmar first arrived in Thailand, schools and homes were the first built. Most refugees have solid sponsors/organizations to help them orient to their new country.

My question like yours, Mike, if Thailand, Ethiopia, Kenya can offer refugee camps to fleeing people from threats to life and starvation, why can't the U.S./UN establish something similar and of course, hopefully better. It has to be cheaper in the long run and it might defer the price we pay for walls and border control which appears not to be effective.
Sorry about the length...but have a few strong feelings about this due to working in a high school specifically for newly arrived immigrants and refugees.

Mike Patrick said...


Thank you for your heartfelt and informative comment. Please don't apologize for it being too long. It was full of good information and I healthy dose of progressive liberalism condensed in a very well worded prose.

It is precisely your kind of comments I am trying to elicit from my readers.

I like the fact you have personal experience combined with your strong views on a number of the issues I addressed in my original piece.

Thanks again, and I look forward to your next comment.


Mike Patrick