Over the past several weeks, there have been many people who have spoken out about the situation at the border. Since May of this year, there have been hundreds of undocumented immigrants being transferred to Arizona in order to help with processing. An intense surge of apprehensions near the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas have overwhelmed Border Patrol agents in that area.
Now, immigrants are being transferred throughout the American Southwest for processing and intake services. Another issue related to this surge is the fact that many of these undocumented immigrants are unaccompanied minors coming from Central America. The general consensus is that these children are attempting to escape terrible violence in countries like El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
You would think that these immigrants, especially the children, would be welcomed by people in the U.S. Our nation was built by immigrants, after all. However, not everyone sees the situation clearly. To help encourage people in the United States to do the right thing, Pope Francis has addressed the issue.
Pope Francis wants all governments to protect the children who come to the U.S. with the hope of finding refuge. The pope's comments come not too long after leaders in the U.S., Mexico and Central America are working to “contain what President Barack Obama and others have called an ‘urgent humanitarian situation' unfolding along the U.S.-Mexico border.”
In a letter, the pope wrote that it is his duty to “call attention to the tens of thousands of children who migrate alone, unaccompanied, to escape poverty and violence.” The full letter was read at a migration conference held in Mexico City. These children should be given special care, according to the pope. There is a need, however, for the governments in these childrens' home countries to update both security and economic conditions so young people are able to have “viable futures.”
It has been reported that there have been in excess of 57,000 unaccompanied children detained by Border Patrol agents since October 2013. And there are thousands more mothers who have turned themselves and their children in to immigration officials, thinking that it would mean they could remain in the United States.
This significant increase at the border has further clogged an already overwhelmed immigration legal system. Under the law, unaccompanied minors from Central America are required to have an immigration hearing before being deported to their home countries. Given the current situation, many of these children have been released in the care of relatives while they await their hearings.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has remained steadfast to their doctrine that all those who attempt to come to the U.S. without documentation will be deported. Meanwhile, Pope Francis, since the beginning of his papacy, has been vocal about helping those who migrate to other countries. “Many of their rights are violated, they are forced to leave their families and unfortunately continue being the object of racist and xenophobic attitudes,” he said.