There have been plenty of mixed reactions over the last few weeks related to the increase in undocumented immigrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. Many of these immigrants are unaccompanied minors who are fleeing terrible violence in their home countries in Central America. The majority of these children are coming from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.
Even after U.S. citizens have become aware of the frightening conditions these children are trying to escape from, some are still unmoved. Unfortunately, there are those throughout the U.S. who feel that we should not help these children. An example of this came recently during a demonstration that was held in Oracle, Arizona.
As reported by the Associated Press, there were two, distinct groups that gathered to either support or protest against the transport of an estimated 40 immigrant children to an academy for troubled youths in the town of Oracle.
The group that was there to protest the transportation of these youngsters said that they were ready to physically block the bus if needed to in order to stop these children from getting to the school. Meanwhile, just a few miles up the road was another group who were there to welcome the children to the town. There were welcome signs had hearts drawn on poster boards.
Those against the children coming to the area are seemingly worried about being “forced” to help these undocumented children. However, others, like Emily Duwel said that she would hate for her town to be misrepresented by just a few who are against the transportation of these children. “I'm just concerned about these children who have had to escape worlds of incredible violence,” she said.
It seems as though those protesting the transportation of these immigrant children were hoping to create something similar to what happened recently in Murrieta, California. There, three buses carrying immigrants had to reroute to a different location because protesters blocked their path. In Oracle, residents became aware of the transportation plans after Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu “warned residents last week that immigrant children from Central America” who were apprehended while attempting to cross the border without documentation would be brought to the Sycamore Canyon Academy in Oracle.
Although some consider Babeu to have alerted anti-immigrant protesters, he did talk with both groups during the demonstration in Oracle. He asked them to “remain civil, abide by the law and keep the roads cleared.” He said he is also concerned about public safety and is unsure as to whether these children have gang affiliations or health issues.
Although he is trying to appear neutral, he cannot escape the anti-immigrant statements he has made in the past. In 2012, after an SUV containing five dead bodies was found in Pinal County, he declared it was “the work of a drug cartel.” After just a few days, it was determined that it it was actually a murder-suicide involving a “suburban Phoenix family and not drug-related.”
At this point, the future of the approximately 40 children is yet to be confirmed. Calls to the Sycamore Canyon Academy had not been returned to reporters at the time this post was written.