The summer of 2014 saw an overwhelming amount of children making their way, illegally, across the southern U.S. border. Thousands of children and adolescents overwhelmed the Border Patrol and social service agencies. Are we gearing up to see the same type of event this summer? It’s beginning to look that way.
We are not nearly at the numbers we were last year, but it looks like we are in the opening stages. We had two groups equal a little over 70 in one hour today. These were women and children,” said Agent Cabrera. “We’ve also seen a lot of children traveling alone.”
Agent Cabrera said that many of these children and women are simply turning themselves in again. He said they were seeking out Border Patrol agents instead of trying to avoid or elude them. “This is really the mark that indicates a coming crisis,” said Cabrera. “When the women and children start seeking out agents, we know there is word spreading in their home countries that they can come and be set free.”
Last summer, thousands of children were warehoused in overcrowded facilities that were never meant to be used as long-term shelters. Finally, the government of Mexico stepped up to help stem the tide of immigrants from its own nation and those traveling through Mexico from Central America.
The children who flooded into the country last year were often ill, not vaccinated, illiterate and unable to speak English. They also were highly susceptible to human traffickers, as Bishop Eusebio Elizondo of Seattle, who chairs the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Committee on Migration, pointed out last summer.
Putting a stop to another potential crisis is not a lack of charity on the part of the U.S. government. Indeed, it is the opposite. We must protect these children from trafficking, illness, even possible death. We must make it known that the children of Mexico and Central America are too precious to make this terrible journey illegally.