Today, I’m feeling America’s Immigration Crisis, children traveling alone are inundating the U.S. and Mexican border of Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico from Central America, including Guatemala and Honduras (Honduras, you remember, was the site of America’s Iran/Contra scandal).
Some children are traveling alone, some with smugglers, and some with an older children, to the American border and then they surrender their self to immigration authorities as refugees, believing they will be allowed to stay in the U.S.A. as a refugee. Unfortunately, that is not true; most will be eventually deported.
However meanwhile, the Central American children are by law entitled to a court hearing before being deported, in order to determine whether or not they are illegal immigrants or legitimate refugees like the Batista Cuban refugees, Vietnamese Ho Chi Min refugees, Iraqi refugees, and Jewish refugees from Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
The crisis is the fact that our immigration authorities and border control are being overwhelmed by the numbers of Latino Central America Refugee children to care for; the children are escaping from the violence of Central America and the depressive economic conditions in ancient Central America in a 21st Century Economy, seeking refuge in America. America must care for them until they can be deported or resettled as refugees.
Coincidently, a few months ago I embarked on a cruise to these very Central American nations, including the Panama Canal; we took tours in all of these countries. Now with this immigration crisis in the news, I vividly remember a conversation after our tour of Honduras, with a well traveled tourist who described his impression of Honduras as the most poverty stricken people he had ever seen. I agreed, though I am not as well traveled as my companion. While on the cruise, I took a lot of pictures but no pictures of poverty.
The poor could not afford to live in the city; they were in the city only to sell their cottage industry wares and farm goods. And, I did see evidence of poverty in the jungle, but nothing to photograph that represented poverty; the peasants had nothing to photograph, except their self, hauling their wares on their backs to the city to sell at market.
The picture below was actually an affluent urban neighborhood in the city that I mistook for the slums; that’s how bad it is. There are no poor living in the city; they can’t afford it. In the city, the poor children are evident only selling trinkets for pennies. Rich children, of course, were seen playing in the parks.
What I saw in these places like Guatemala and Honduras was astute poverty, 21st Century Feudal class distinction, consisting of exceeding wealthy and peasants living is desolate poverty; then in contrast is the advertised tourist attractions like the beautiful (and costly) Cathedrals, fountains, statues, and parks filled with rich children playing, their nannies, and poor children selling cheap hand made trinkets.
Religious wealth midst astute poverty
Wealthy children playing in the park; a beautiful scene amidst astute poverty/
In Guatemala while on the tourist bus, we met two different military convoys; admittedly it was chilling to meet these convoys with men in trucks seemingly aiming loaded machine guns between your eyes, coming down the road right at you.
Our guide admitted, the Guatemala Civil War technically over, but realistically it still exists there, as evidenced by political posters illegally pasted on rocks along the highway throughout the trip.
Since I do not read Spanish, I was unaware of the poster’s political context; in America, I am used to highway signs advertising toilet paper and beer obliterating the natural beauty roadside’
My interest when traveling is always observing the culture of the people; this trip it was sad for me to observe the natives of Central America with such a limited, lowly standard of living and no working Middle Class. There was sadness in the eyes of the poor children and, they were just adorable children.
Central American churches are beautiful; but how does God rationalize the churches wealth and the peoples poverty
Of course I have difficulty seeing the wealthy churches rising in the midst of the Peoples poverty; Just what does God have in mind when the creates a costly Cathedral looking down upon the suffering humanity below?
Then, I’m reminded of the Amish community in my native Illinois; they have no Godly edifice, hold services in a different home each Sunday, and lead the painful ‘plain life’. But they lead an intentional harsh life, with money in their pocket. I just do not understand religious cults and the part they play in the economy.
When visiting the Vatican and Rome, I stood in St. Peters Square and I could not reconcile all the wealth and grandeur of the Vatican with the humble existence of the poor and homeless, Jesus Christ. Never have I been able to picture Jesus in a coat and tie. Of course, I have personally been poor like Jesus all my life, however, I’ve been comfortable and happy. I believe that God is really good; it’s his human representatives that I question!
In conclusion, I have no solution for the poverty stricken of the world, those of the United States, or Central America’s children; but I most often wonder, is poverty really necessary? Did American Indian tribes have poverty; or did the White Man introduce poverty to America? I don’t remember Indian lore mentioning poverty!
So, I am a father; I cannot help but have compassion for Central American children seeking refuge in America. I think some of those children will be exceptionally gifted and make a great contribution to society; the child refugees are worthy of being saved.