Thursday, August 14, 2014

Distance Between Us Artifact One

US President Barack Obama (AFP Photo / Jim Watson)
Image Courtesy of ""

Obama is saying that undocumented immigrant children will not remain in the USA, this comes after he is feeling increased pressure from border states like Texas where representatives are becoming vocal.  An influx of illegal alien children, who are unaccompanied are attempting to cross into the USA.  What to do with these children is a very hard ethical question.  Many believe that it is unethical to send children back to Mexico where the kids would possibly have no place to go. On the other side of the coin is keeping the kids here costs money and is difficult.  Up to 90,000 unaccompanied minors are expected to cross into the USA this year alone.

Before reading the Distance Between Us, I would have believed that we should have sent them back right on the spot.  I would have believed that if they have the ability to walk to the border, then they would have the ability to walk back to where they came from.  After reading the book, my views have shifted slightly.  I now know what kind of fear those children must be feeling, to cross the border with a family is scary enough, but to do it by yourself would be even worse.  Imagine how the kids would feel if after they were caught, they were sent back not knowing what to.  The kids could have taken the bus alone to a border city, then would have no way to get back to their caretakers, and would live in even worse poverty with no one taking care of them.  No one should have to live through that.  

Although no one should have to live through being sent back with nowhere to go, it raises a bigger question: what do you do with the kids if you can't send them away?  Currently we house them military bases, and similar places, but it is no long term solution.  I see three possible solutions, take away their reason for wanting to be, grant them citizenship and put them into the foster system, or improve condition is Central America and Mexico. The main reason people come here from other countries is for money to build a better life for their family, for instance in the Distance between Us Reyna's parent came here to get jobs, and gain money so that they could build a house in Mexico.  If we required people to present proof that they were legally in the country, then illegal immigrant couldn't get jobs, and people in South America, and Mexico would have no reason to come here.  If parents had no reason to come here, then their children would not be sent here unaccompanied as well.

An alternative to requiring people to show proof of being here legally is to put more of a Band-Aid on the problem and put the children who's parents or caretakers cannot be located into the foster system.  This too however is not a long term solution, with a large influx, the kids would just sit in foster homes for a very long time with the possibility of never being adopted.  The final option I see is improving condition in countries with a high number of immigrant.  By this I mean donating a lot of money to other countries to set up Welfare, and create jobs. This would give less of a reason to have people illegally come here. This idea would cost a lot money to the taxpayers.  Before reading the book, I would have immediately chosen to require citizenship or a green card to get a job without a second thought.  After reading the book, I get a greater sense of how bad it really is in other counties and am split between the two: not wanting to put our nation in even further debt, and not having others live in terrible poverty. 


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