Texas’ Refugee Crisis

New Information added 6/10/2014, 5 PM

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27)

My heart aches when I see photos of scared and hungry children in refugee camps near war torn countries, but what can I do when it is so far away? Well it’s not far away anymore.

Border Patrol officials along the Texas Rio Grande Valley have been overwhelmed with wave after wave of unaccompanied minor children coming across the Mexican border mostly from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

 

A young illegal migrant finds comfort in a Spanish language Bible (photo by New York Times)

A young illegal migrant finds comfort in a Spanish language Bible (photo by New York Times).

Emergency shelters have been hastily set up at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, a California Navy base, and a makeshift detention center in Nogales, Arizona.

Just how bad is the problem? Normally the US handles 7,000-8,000 illegal minors per year. But, there are currently around 60,000 who have come to the US. But, Federal officials have just increased their projection to 90,000 minor children expected to have gone through their hands by the end of the fiscal year which is September! Today, June 10, officials said the number will hit 150,000 in 2015 according to Fox News.

But this year alone that is 90,000 kids under the age of 18 living in crowded old facilities stretched to the limit. An estimated 1,200 of them are currently just down the street in San Antonio at the Lackland Air Force Base.

This is a refugee crisis on par with a scale we typically see in Africa, but this one is right here.

Forget the harsh rhetoric that the two parties hurl at each other over who is at fault. I think we Christians should be concerned about the children and understand how desperate of a situations they have escaped.

 ”I remember a little boy of 9 years old and I asked if he was going to go meet someone and he told me `No, I’m just going hand myself over because I hear they help kids,’ ” said Father Heyman Vazquez who met the boy in Mexico, according to Fox News. What would drive you to release your nine year old to travel by himself or with a smuggler all the way from Central America across Mexico to sneak across the border in Texas?

Many of these are lonely broken children escaping horrible circumstance. Some are with their mothers, but many are alone. Another  report noted a sign over a kid’s bed read “I miss my family.”

Reports I have read say conditions in El Salvador and Honduras have crumbled into total lawlessness. Gangs rule many areas and corrupt government officials commonly use their power only for self gain. Companies won’t come in to provide jobs because of the lack of security and lawlessness is increasing because there are no jobs.

The US State Department has issued special warnings for traveler to Honduras  and El Salvador. “From mid-February through April 2014, El Salvador has experienced an average of almost 10 people killed per day…

“Since 2010, Honduras has had the highest murder rate in the world…,” says the Department of State.

I can understand why parents  want something better for their child. I don’t have the solution, but I know who does – Jesus.

UPDATE: June 10, 2014

The Valley Morning Star, that covers news in the area posted a report today. “Across  the Rio Grande Valley, U.S. Border Patrol agents made more than 160,000 apprehensions between October 2013 and May, an increase of 70 percent over the same period the  year before, officials said. Nearly one-third of those detained — 47,000 — were children traveling alone,” they said in the piece. The New York Times and some other news outlets have run stories on the crisis, but much of mainstream media has been silent.

An Austin-based organization operates two shelters in San Benito and others in the Valley area. The facilities hold undocumented immigrant children who crossed the U.S. border without their parents. About 12 area shelters hold about 1,500 immigrant children, said Rogelio Nuñez, executive director of Proyecto Libertad, an immigrant rights group in Harlingen, said the Valley Morning Star.

Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/06/us/faces-of-an-immigration-system-overwhelmed-by-women-and-children.html?_r=0

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/06/08/arizona-sends-supplies-to-illegal-immigrant-children-dumped-in-warehouse/

http://www.valleymorningstar.com/news/local_news/article_ab85b558-f04f-11e3-8c3d-0017a43b2370.html

2 comments to Texas’ Refugee Crisis

  • Diane Spears  says:

    Hope many people see your report. Not everyone has Fox network.

    • admin  says:

      Thank you for your comment. I pray that everyone who gets this information will share it. This is a huge under reported story – it seems sometimes like South Texas is invisible to national media.

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