On Casa Padre and How to Help The Children of Illegal Migration.

I read an excellent and informative article in the New York Times today about Casa Padre, the living center for illegal migrant children. As someone who spends alot of time on Twitter I have witnessed the debate about illegal immigration and Trump play out. It’s pretty harsh on both sides, and both sides have used fake news to get their point across. It’s pretty depressing and confusing, but easily remedied through Googling and reading fact based reporting.

This situation all speaks of a crisis, but is it one of Trump’s governments making? I’m very much a democratic liberal, but I think Casa Padre seems to be a humane and adequate response to what is a universal human right crisis- increasing illegal migration. These children are being well fed, educated, have access to fresh air, relatives and advocacy, and are probably learning alot from the experience as children naturally do in times of turmoil and trouble. Those that aren’t on their own, need to be separated, cared for due to the government’s immigration policy of imprisoning their parents. It’s not, as is commonly believed, an act of racism, hate or arbitrary cruelty. It may not be the best solution, but it’s decreed by law, and that’s the good and real reason behind it. Whatever your opinion on the new immigration policy, it shouldn’t blind you to the reality that this is a crisis, and the government seems to be trying to deal with it.

I think adults of both political sides need to let go of their politics and hate of each other so they can see the situation clearly and help. Strictly liberal and conservative opinions leave little room for compromise or reality. Life goes on, and I think the most we can do is stay informed, and see beyond the racism, fears and fake news from both sides.

The tragedy in these children’s lives isn’t the way America is treating them, it’s in the poverty, violence and lack of social support systems they are fleeing. That seems a more helpful and useful direction for liberal focus, not this war on Trump’s immigration policy.

On a personal note, I was a child living in third world who was removed from my parents as a young child, and put into an American agency. Mine was an orphanage, not an immigration holding facility, but I assume it’s the same general experience. It was hard and disorienting, but I survived, and it didn’t damage me irreparably. It wasn’t the source of my trauma, and it in fact made me a stronger, more self reliant and more adaptable person. It also gave me a familiarity and understanding of western culture, values, and it was an interesting and comforting, not alienating experience.

This crisis is a problem, but it’s the hate around this issue that is making it worse. I think a decrease of it from both sides would help us all be able to see the reality and full picture, and allow the focus to be on why this crisis is occuring, and on what we can do to help. Isn’t that the real liberal and Christian western job- constructively helping those who need it, not just engaging in meaningless wars with the “enemy”?

I think so, and it’s time for liberalism to prove it’s point, not through divisive debate, but through turning our care into action, and our point of reference from hate back to love, care and understanding. This we can do, and in this way we will lead the world to a better world, really help those we profess to care about, and turn our mean victories into real, empowering, unifying and lasting ones.

Update: since posting this blog, the Trump government did reverse the law that required the imprisonment of parents and removal of their children. This was a victory brought about by liberal care and intervention so liberal’s did manage to achieve some good here. It still unfortunately does not solve this crisis, but it did show that public opinion matters, and that humanity can never be completely ignored.

People remain firmly against the detention of children, but equally against the “losing of children”, those who are given to sponsors in the US, and who then disappear. These children can be trafficked, abused or led into gangs, so this isn’t ideal either. I personally believe detention if well and humanely run and staffed, remains the best and safest option.

I also stand by my point that the real crisis is the crime, poverty and violence in these children’s homelands, and the US and global community need to address that to really be of any help to them.