Central American Children:

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-2004
Central American Children:
5
Thu, 07-10-2014 - 12:46pm

      I feel that the most important factor to think about in regard to the recent increase in children coming from Central America to seek asylum in the United States is that these children did not enter the country illegally.  This is due to the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008.  It is my understanding that this act requires that children from Honduras, San Salvador, Guatemala and possibly other nations, but not Mexico or Canada, must be allowed into the United States in order to appear before an immigration court to determine if they were or would be if returned to their country of origin victims of human trafficking, including sex trafficking.  I understand that this act was passed unanimously by both houses of Congress and signed by President George W. Bush at the end of 2008.  Before I go further I want to say that I applaud this Act and commend President Bush for signing it.

      Now, it’s been said that some of these children are released into the United States under the understanding that they would appear later in immigration court, but that they do not do so.  First, many adults who have committed crimes are released to their own recognizance pending a court appearance and not only have these children not committed a crime, but they have not broken any law at the time that they are released into the community.

      My understanding is that the countries these children are fleeing are for all purposes “war zones” Honduras is reported to have by far the highest homicide rate of any other nation and I completely understand why these children would do what they are doing.  I believe and hope that if I was in their situation I would do the same.

      Tom,

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-2004
Tue, 07-15-2014 - 1:06pm

      What does “Crisis on the Border” mean?  The word “crisis” denotes very serious problems, but doesn’t say very much more.  Is there an illegal immigration crisis?  The data for the number of illegal immigrants in the United States between 2005 and 2010 (based on the 2000 census) found here at a website for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) peaked at 11.8 million in 2007 and declined to 10.8 million in 2010.  Two figures are given for 2010, one based on the 2000 census (10.8 million) and one based on the 2010 census (11.6 million).  The data for the years 2011 and 2012 are only given based on the 2010 census data.  According to the data based on the 2010 census for the years 2010, 2011 and 2012 the number of illegal immigrants in the United States decreased from 11.6 million in 2010 to 11.4 million in 2012.  These two series suggest an overall decline in the number of illegal immigrants in the United States between 2007 and 2012 and according to DHS data the number of illegal immigrants in the United States decreased by 100,000 between 2011 (11.5 million) and 2012 (11.4 million).

      According to data found here at a website for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection between October 1, 2013 and June 15, 2014, 11,436 unaccompanied alien children were encountered from El Salvador, 12,670 from Guatemala and 15,027 from Honduras for a total of 39,133 from those three nations.  Now, as explained in the first post to this thread these children have not entered the United States illegally and, at least until they fail to show for a court hearing, they have not broken any laws of the United States.

      Now since fiscal year 2014 will not be over until September 30, 2014 and the 39,133 number is likely to grow before then let’s double it to 78,266 and make what I feel is a very unlikely assumption that each one of those children will become illegal immigrates to the United States and then compare it to the other figures shown in the first paragraph to this post.  That 78,226 figure is less than the 100,000 decrease in illegal immigrants from 2011 to 2012 according to DHS figures (78%) and only 0.7 of one percent (0.7%) of the DHS figure (11.4 million) of the number of illegal immigrants in the United States in 2012.  Further there are currently more than 300 million people in the United States.  The 78,226 figure is less than 3 hundreds of one percent of the current population (0.03%).  In my opinion that does not constitute a crisis for the United States.

      But, then there is the cost.  Recently President Obama asked the congress for $3.7 billion to deal with this.  The figure given by the Bureau of Economic Analysis for the Gross Domestic Product of the United States for the year 2013 is $16,799.7 billion.  The amount the president has asked for ($3.7 billion) is under three hundred of one percent (0.03%) of the figure for GDP.  In my opinion that does not constitute a crisis for the United States. 

      However, I do believe there is a crisis regarding this issue, but the crisis is not one directly for the United States.  I believe there is a very large crisis for the children of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.  I plan to discuss that in my next post.

      Tom,

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-2004
Tue, 07-15-2014 - 1:07pm

      The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) provides a table labeled “Intentional homicide count and rate per 100,000 population, by country/territory (2000-2012).”  Of the figures for 2012 or the last year with a figure, Honduras is given as having the highest homicide rate at 90.4, Venezuela is next at 53.7, Belize is third at 44.7, El Salvador is fourth at 41.2 and Guatemala is 39.9.  In comparison the figures for Mexico is 21.5, for the United States is 4.7 and for Canada is 1.6.  As I wrote in an earlier post to this thread I do not see this as a crisis for the United States, but I do see it as a very serious crisis for the children of Honduras, Venezuela, Belize, El Salvador and Guatemala.  Also what I see as part of the crisis is that many children are fleeing some of those nations unaccompanied or in the company of criminals.  I see this as evidence of how bad things are in those nations for children.  What I would want is to allow the children who are facing the worse situations to come into the United States and I would want to discourage them from leaving their homes unaccompanied or with criminals.

      I believe that one way to do this is to set up offices in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala and perhaps other nations to screen children who are seeking refuge (refuge means “shelter or protection from danger, trouble, etc.”) in the United States and then transport the children who are found to be potential refugees, along with at least one parent or an appropriate relative if such a person can be found to the United States.  Children from these nations who show up on the US border will be returned to their home nation to be screened.  Offhand I would initially set a quota of 31,390 per year (one hundred of one percent of the current US population).  I do not feel that this would burden the average resident of the United States to any great degree, but would greatly help many of the children seeking refuge.  These people could then be dispersed through the United States so as to not burden any particular region significantly more than other regions.

      Tom,

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-2004
Tue, 07-15-2014 - 2:18pm

      I feel that I would like to explain more about my suggestion of a quota equal to one hundred of one percent of the current US population (see above).  I would not want any quota to result in fewer children getting refuge in the United States than would be getting such refuge under current conditions.

      Tom,

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2011
Wed, 07-16-2014 - 10:24pm

I don't believe all of these children were victims of sex trafficking, possibly only a tiny percentage of them are.  With the state of our economy, I am more worried about American children who go without healthcare, food and whose parents don't have jobs.

The USA can not take in everyone in the world who wants to come here. It is unfortunate but true.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-2004
Mon, 07-21-2014 - 11:04am

      Jyladvik, thank you for your reply.  I didn’t say that all the children were victims of sex trafficking, but it is my understanding that the law says that all have to appear before a court to determine if the particular child was such a victim.  Also, I did not say that the USA can take in everyone in the world who wants to come here.  Further, the Federal and State governments spend a great deal of money on providing food heath care and other necessaries to children whose parents don’t have jobs and I believe that money spent on children coming from these Central American nations does not have to reduce spending on “safety net” programs.  Actually I feel that government money spent on these children will increase the number of jobs in America as would money spend on these children by relatives or other guardians. 

      Tom,