Ramona's picture

    These Children Are Lost and They've Entered Our Village


    Thousands of Latin American children have been arriving in the U.S. over the weeks and months, in scenarios more like that of a fictitious screenplay than of real life.  Out-of-control gangs, drug cartels, and corrupt government officials are the antagonists in horror stories of a kind we can only imagine. Poverty, exploitation, rape, torture, murder--so common now in Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, there is little chance those countries will ever float free.

    The parents, seeing no future for their children, have taken the most extreme, heartbreaking measures: they're sending their young ones away.  They're forced to pay dubious characters large sums of money to transport their kids over the Mexico-U.S border into what they've been told would almost assuredly be a safe sanctuary.

    The children, some of them barely walking age, don't know why they were sent away or why they're here.  They don't even know where "here" is.  They're in a strange place, far from anything familiar,  their only safety in a group of other terrified children.

    The older ones, hardly old enough to take care of themselves, have been charged with caring for the young.  By the time they've reached the border leading into the U.S, they've traveled over a thousand miles from home.  They're dirty and hungry and the fear of what's ahead (or behind) stays with them every waking moment.

    Once across the border they're in desperate need of some proof that they are safe.  The promise was that the hellish thousand-mile journey would be worth it in order to get them to a place where they could breathe free, where they could ease their own fears and those of the smaller children they carried, and where, maybe, possibly, they might finally face a life where there is hope.

    Instead, soon after they cross the border they're being met either by officials who move them into jail-like pens where they'll wait until, most likely, they'll be sent back to their home countries, or--and this is where it gets crazy--by angry protesters carrying ugly signs telling these small, defenseless beings to go home.  They're being told by snarling grown-ups that we don't want them here.

    These children are refugees from war-torn countries.  We are the kind of country that demands of other countries the safe passage of refugees.  The U.N has already declared these fleeing Latin American children refugees and is asking the United States to treat them accordingly.  If we turn these children away, forcing them to return to their homes, we do it knowing we're sending them back to a life of abject, unrelenting misery. 

    There is no good answer, no ready solution, when thousands of children arrive at our borders without our permission, but at this moment we're in the throes of a humanitarian emergency.  We have children in need in our midst and if we're who we think we are, we will dry their tears and calm their fears.  We will fill their bellies and tuck them into warm beds.  We will keep them safe.  They came out of the darkness and into our light.  While we didn't ask for this, they are children and they are here and now it's our job to take care of them.   

      So who are these screaming, sign-carrying monsters who see these kids as some kind of marauding enemy?  Where do they come from?  Who taught them to hate so broadly they think nothing of scaring already terrified kids?


    This was the scene near an intake center in Murrieta, California last week.  The buses being held back by American-flag-waving protesters are full of those scared kids who spent many uncomfortable if not terrifying days trying to get to our border and the safety beyond.  They were instead caught by border patrol agents and put on these buses heading for a detention center, where they're to be housed until our people can figure out what to do with them. 

    In quiet moments I see in my mind's eye busloads of frightened children.  I see a menacing mob pushing toward those buses, blocking the drivers from moving forward.  I see signs that say, "Go away!  We don't want you here!"  And I have to remind myself that this is not a scene from their own ravaged countries but is, instead, a scene unfolding in the United States of America. 

    I worry about those children and what will happen to them, but I worry, too, about the people waving those signs and turning away busloads of frightened, defenseless children.  They are a problem; their numbers are growing, and someday soon, when we've figured out how to keep those kids safe, we're going to have to figure out how we're going to live among people who would knowingly, purposely do this.


    (Cross-posted at Ramona's Voices)


    There is a small town in Michigan, Vassar, that is considering housing some of the undocumented kids, up to 120 of them. The local news judiciously call the residents "divided" about the situation, but if you read the comments below the story linked above, the welcome mat is not out for these children.

    I cannot know for certain, but I would reckon none of the commenters are from Vassar itself. None has identified themselves as a local resident, but whoever they are, they have no problem declaring their hatred of the refugee teens that the Wolverine Human Services are hoping to house.

    I can actually feel the hate coming from these habitual bitchers.

    That's sickening.  I notice they do call them "undocumented children" rather than refugees.  And I see they've picked up the meme about immunizations.  Wouldn't want them around their children.  Who knows what they might catch?  (Maybe a little humanity.  Wouldn't want that now, would they?)

    Those kind of trolls run in gangs and go from one thread to another.  It makes you think that there are millions of them out there but it isn't so.  Many of the far right internet sites have had declining views and visitors since the second election of our president.  Some of them are hired to troll by Republican groups. 

    I am embarrassed with the fact that is what other counties see on their news.  People standing there with face masks on with signs because they think these kids are going to bring in Ebola.  How stupid that makes us look as a country?   

    I also worry about these flag waving protestors.  How is it that they have so much blasted free time that they can spend it doing this?

    I guess you could say the same about any protests--even ours.  They make time.  Because, you know, this land is their land.

    I can't help but imagine that they're underemployed  and don't see the irony of protesting people who are mooching off the system.

    At least the Occupy protesters admitted they were underemployed.  They were protesting for the opportunity to work not to stop other people from working.

    I don't know about being under- or unemployed but I don't have to use my imagination to come up with the idea that they're hopelessly ignorant, not to mention heartless.

    But where is the Occupy movement now?  We could use their energy again.

    Many of them have moved on to grass roots organizing. 

    These children are a gift in so many ways.  Some of them will return after living here to their countries and work to change them.  Looking after them is good for us because maybe one of them will discover a cure for diabetes. It is always in out best interest to treat children well.  

    Exactly, Momoe.  I don't know what kind of person it takes to turn their back on children.  The only way they can do it and still stay human is to dehumanize those kids.  It makes it easier for them when the kids are brown, of course. 

    If these were Canadian kids crossing over because of some internal strife, they would be welcomed with open arms.

    Some of these kids are European descendants and some are from indigenous peoples that where here before Europeans came. 

    The 'kind of person' who turned their backs on these children:

    1) Their parents, who reportedly have encouraged them to make the journey.

    2) Their governments, who have failed to provide safety and opportunity.

    3) Their fellow citizens, who tolerate, or run, gangs and criminal organizations in their countries of origin.

    4) The Catholic Church and it's Pope, Bishops and policy makers, who refuse to stop condemnation of birth control/contraception for women who want to limit family size to what they can handle or afford.

    So I guess since they've been so sorely abused and neglected by their own, we shouldn't worry about them once they get to our borders?  It doesn't matter how it happened or who dropped the ball; they're here and now they're our problem.  We either take responsibility for their well-being or we make excuses about why we shouldn't be helping them.  Most want to take the easy way out and pretend they'll be just fine if we just pack 'em up and send 'em back. 

    They didn't come this far because they wanted a vacation in America.

    But please don't include their parents in your list.  Most of them are poor and uneducated and have been convinced by others that sending their children to America is their only hope.  They do it because they love their children and want a better life for them.

    Can you even imagine what it must be like for them to have to say goodbye?  It's not neglect, it's a supreme sacrifice on their parts.  They are desperate and at their rope's end.  They need to be pitied, not condemned.

    You guess wrong.

    Abused or neglected children are not helped by making long lists of excuses for those who failed them, parents, communities or governments included.

    And I imagine those right wing Confederate flag wavers you have expressed such magnanimity towards are chomping at the bit to add the US to the register of those who have failed these kids.

    Wow, NCD, that's harsh.  The line you responded to first was sarcasm, of course, and if you had taken the time to read the rest of it you would have seen that you and I agree on that.

    I'll skip the last paragraph since I don't quite know how it fits with what I had to say in this piece.

    Nice restraint, Ramona. And a really beautiful post.

    Thank you, barefooted.  See you at the New Dag.

    Take the gloves off, is anything I said not true? Sorry if it sounded harsh.

    These kids don't need excuses or rosy speculations of how their parents were responsibly looking out for their welfare, maybe some were, each family had their own reasons, each case is different, each is difficult.

    Obama doesn't need right wingers blocking necessary funding for housing, medical care, legal counseling for the tens of thousands of them that they are here, and that looks like what he is getting so far.

    The subject concerning refugees has always been with US.

    MSM covers Syrian refugees and Iraqi refugees and a host of other countries dealing with refugees.

    The fact is, refugees have always been with US.

    Peggy Noonan and a host of other repubs love to distinguish between THEM and US.


    NORMAL PEOPLE; the kind of people worth millions of dollars?

    Glenn Beck of all people is involved in sending these children food and toys for chrissakes!

    This is the second time this year I agree with Glenn Beck and hope he succeeds in finding funding for his aims!


    Pied Pipers may be involved in all of this, but damn


    Some faith-based organizations and community groups are reaching out to those in need in a fashion consistent with the words on the Statue of Liberty.

    New Colossus
    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
    "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
    With silent lips. "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-tossed to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

    this is delightful!

    I hereby render unto rmrd the Dayly Comment of the Day Award for this here Dagblog Site, given to all of rmrd, from all of me!



    We have a history in the country of failing to offer refuge to refugees.  We purport to be ashamed.


    There is, of course, additional irony in a comparison between our response to tens of thousands of refugee children and the daunting efforts even now being made by countries like Jordan and Turkey vis-a-vis millions of Syrian refugees of all ages.


    Further irony: we are largely responsible for the conditions from which these children flee.  Viz, our drug laws, our history of Central American oligopoly enablement, and, even our policy of deporting gang members (after they have learned their trade on our streets) in lieu of imprisonment here.

    I don't remember when I first heard about the U.S turning those Jewish refugees away, but I remember what a shock it was and how ashamed I felt that our country could do something so terrible.  I remember it as being the first time I recognized that we weren't as wonderful as our press and our textbooks made us out to be.

    Unfortunately, it wasn't the last.

    More on our culpability for the indigenous crises themselves...



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