It's no secret that there are some politicians who seem to be less compassionate than others when it comes to the current humanitarian crisis happening at the U.S.-Mexico border. For some, the divide seems to be between Democrats and Republicans. In recent news, “House Democrats publicly shamed Republicans” and asked for them to “have a heart.” You can read the full article here.
While you can debate the politics surrounding the crisis, it is amazing to me that there are some people who are not putting that aside when it comes to the well-being of these children. Over the last several weeks, there have been reports of thousands and thousands of unaccompanied children coming from Central America to the U.S.-Mexico border. These children have risked their lives to come to the U.S. and escape the terrible violence in their home countries. How can we turn our back on them? House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said that those kinds of actions are like “sending them back into a burning building.”
Not too long ago, House Republicans offered up a bill that allocated $659 million in funding to deal with the border crisis. However, the proposed legislation also includes measures that Democrats do not agree with. This includes revising a 2008 law that currently requires unaccompanied immigrants, from all countries besides Mexico and Canada, to have an immigration hearing before removal proceedings begin.
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), thinks that the bill focuses on the wrong things. "Regrettably, these migrant kids that are coming to this country are being blamed for everything right now dealing with the border,” he said. He also commented that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy needs to be updated, not eliminated. This idea is contrary to what Republicans had put in their bill.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) agreed with Rep. Grijalva's thinking and said that there is “no reason to change the 2008 law that gives legal protections to unaccompanied minors from Central America.” In part, this 2008 law, signed by President George W. Bush, was implemented to help protect these children from human trafficking or other abuses.
During the Congressional hearing, members of Congress heard testimony from undocumented immigrant minors from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The children’s testimony was moving and hopefully made some of the politicians rethink their views on the matter. The children spoke of the harsh conditions they were forced to endure while being held at Border Patrol facilities. “People couldn't sleep. We had to sleep on the floor, and they only gave us a thin nylon blanket. It was very cold in there, and my little sister's lips even turned blue,” said 12-year-old Mayeli Hernandez.
In addition, when asked if they had received legal counsel while detained, the children answered that they did not. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) requested that an investigation be conducted at border detention centers. She also “emphasized the need for more immigration judges and lawyers.”What are your thoughts on the hearing? Does this change your opinion on the border crisis at all?