Everyone talks about the latest wave of undocumented migrant children, but no one can explain what will happen to these thousands of minors who risk their lives to cross the border -- while the world and the U.S. Congress simply watch.
There are between 60,000 and 80,000 unaccompanied minors from Mexico and Central America held in detention centers in the United States. These minors have been captured while illegally crossing the border into the United States, many in search of their parents.
No one argues that undocumented workers have a right to enter the U.S. without proper authorization. However, these are children, some as young as four years old, and the detention centers where they are held are less than adequate, to put it mildly.
These unaccompanied minors are held in appalling, cruel conditions, sleeping on the floor in warehouses converted into detention centers in Arizona and Texas, while embarrassingly enough, the detention center in the city of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico, provides not only food and shelter to undocumented migrant children from Central America, but also real beds and psychological services, while they wait to be sent back to their home countries.
Is there any reason why the U.S. cannot do the same? What happened with "Give me your tired, your poor..."?
Unaccompanied minors apprehended are literally corralled in dark, cramped rooms, and no one seems to care enough to solve this situation. These children are neither released nor speedily deported back to their home countries. These children, who come here escaping violence and poverty in their own countries, or who come in search of relatives already in the U.S., are being simply hoarded in unsanitary, sad, and cramped conditions, we don't know for how long.
Is this what we a civilized nation should be doing? There seems to be no plan for these children, and no control of the situation.
Leaked photos of the terrible conditions in these detention centers clearly show the abuse of these minors.
Randy Falco, CEO of Univision, the fifth largest network in the U.S., sent a letter to President Obama urging him "Make no mistake, the world is watching".
Also, according to Politico.com, in spite of the fact that these children are sleeping on the floor and are receiving no services or help from the state or federal govenment, the Red Cross "... are not allowed to support the efforts and the conditions the children are living in".
Private companies are desperately trying to help to the best of their ability. The Los Angeles Times recently published an article regarding the efforts by La Casa Azul Bookstore in New York, where a book drive will begin on July 10th to send books to the "underequipped immigration facilities", where these unaccompanied minors are being held while the government figures out what to do with them.
According to San Antonio Express-News, over 52,000 of these immigrant children had been finally reunited with their parents and relatives in Grand Island.
But there are thousands still detained in these terrible centers, and no one seems to remember the words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt: "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."
President Roosevelt´s statement is the first thing you see when you open the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law website:
"The Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law has worked on behalf of unaccompanied immigrant and refugee minors for many years. The Center has designated unaccompanied immigrant and refugee minors as particularly vulnerable immigrants meriting special solicitude in U.S. immigration law, as well as treatment appropriate to their age and experience in encounters with federal law enforcement agencies and state child welfare entities."
According to the Center, violations to migrant children´s rights are not something new in this country. In July 2012, "Immigrant and refugee minors in Texas [were] housed in unlicensed facilities, denied access to counsel".
How can this be happening in the U.S?
A comment in a blog published by Huffington Post explains this situation so well, it is worth repeating it: "The wealthiest nation to ever have graced the face of the earth treat children like this? Inexcusable."