Don’t forget the children

No se olvide de los niños

There are political jugglers and neophytes on a mission to create an image that the jovenes on the border have become border jumpers. The process of creating and controlling media images is referred to as the “mobilization of bias”— simple to construct, they are filled with motivations emanating from political agendas. Since most Americans are immigrants and were either invited to settle or literally encroached upon this land, it is difficult to comprehend why some choose to forget the children. With a stroke of humanitarianism, these young children could be painted as powerless victims of atrocities in their own societies.

The criminalization of innocent youth seems to be through the selective enforcement of laws some which refer to such groups as refugees to safeguard them and others that refer to them as criminals to punish them. The United States of America has a long history of intervention in other countries—some for self-serving purposes others for true humanitarian assistance. America has always opened its doors to protect people. Placing a label of “illegal” rather than “refugee” sets the stage for political theater as children become pawns in a political game.

Some argue that at the base of this social/political dilemma is a question of economics—essentially that these children are taking food from the mouths of others. An interesting perspective until it is turned inside out. If America can export dollars in humanitarian aid to support struggles in other countries, why can’t it accept the importation of children and provide them the same safety net? If the expenditure of dollars is the real issue, what is the difference between spending cash in other countries and spending cash here if the objectives are the same? What objectives—the protection of innocent children. There is no question that we have a financial system that is starved for resources—but it should not blind Americans to the real issue. If economics is the primary concern why does America continue to dole out money to countries in conflict? Simple! It has to protect its investments and interests. Investing in the youth who have migrated here is wise but it does cause irrational fear.

What has been cleverly shaped as an issue of economics is really a fight between liberals and conservatives and Republicans and Democrats to try to sway voters in a particular direction at a time when Republicans have lost ground with the Latino community. Members of both parties have crossed lines on this one, probably no different than some of our mixed up carnales in the community.

There are political attack dogs that have gone after the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), an organization with a mission to voluntarily provide legal services for folks caught in immigration hassles. Join the club! Any organization that does not feed into the media frenzy will be given an equal dosage of criticism. If the interpretation of the law was so simple, what are the best legal minds in the country fighting about?

The militarization of las fronteras simply adds a false sense of security and used as a deterrence to rationalize taking action on comprehensive immigration policy. The rule of law of which supposedly no one is immune from should not become such a rigid construction that it dehumanizes children. Common sense should trump on this one.

The innocent children at the borders have not consciously chosen to uproot themselves, which is traumatizing in and of itself—choices were made based on safety and survival. Parents did not abandon their children without good reason. That would be insane and equally exploitative. Parents shuttled their children to the border so that these innocent souls could survive the violence and other social ills that is occurring in their homelands.

Why would this country turn over children to networks of potential smugglers and criminals? It shouldn’t. As a democratic nation, we have a moral imperative to protect children and those that cannot protect themselves. Sound like a preacher on a Sunday morning sermon! You should have heard Reverend Patrick Demmer of Denver as he responded to the media pundits at the press conference held on July 31st, at the Colorado State Capitol when asked what should be done about this dilemma. His retort was nothing short of brilliance as he challenged the State, which passed state law in opposition to federal law on marijuana to do the same for these “illegal” children—even if it contradicts federal law. After all, governments are powerful entities that can shape law accordingly.

The most spiritual humanitarian act that this country could do is to allow the children protection without bureaucratic hassle or intimidation. When death is knocking at the door, safety should trump any legislation.

Don’t Forget the Children

don’t forget the children!

those neglected innocent souls

abandoned by laws

by those suffering

from locked jaws

and broken straws

unable to sip

vile pouring onto

broken down streets

where empty stomachs

scorched almas

beaten minds

and wounded spirits

lay helplessly.

don’t forget the children!

fill their pails

not their minds

with sophistic

intellectual nutrition

fill their bodies

pero con frijoles

masa de atole

tortillas y mole

so they can discover life

avoiding premature


don’t forget the children!

unable to hear beautiful nursery rhymes

but now suffering

contemporary times

with swollen eyelids

with no more tears

no energy to cry

ready to die.

don’t forget the children!

those with no clothes

a runny nose

a sad face

droopy eyelids

just kids

with no one to care for them.

don’t forget the children!

of all nations

with no social salvation

just a deep craving

a human want

a human need

a human touch

a little love.

don’t forget the children!

Dr. Ramón Del Castillo is an Independent Journalist.

©8/4/2014 Ramón Del Castillo

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