A Letter to a Faraway Parent
Dear Parent of Unaccompanied Minor From Honduras/El Salvador/Guatemala,
I want to start off by saying you have a beautiful child and our hearts went out to him. When he made it to our country he was tired, hungry and scared. But he was not lonely as he came with 50,000 others just like himself. Your child was one of the lucky ones. He made it here in one piece. We did our best to provide your child with emergency food and a place to sleep, address his lice problem and attend to medical needs.
Now that you can breathe easier knowing your child is safe, you should also understand we can’t keep him. We continue to send your country money to help you with your problems. US Aid, which tracks government aid spending shows America has sent you funds. In 2012 we sent Guatemala $57.8M; El Salvador – $49.9M; Honduras received $39.7M. This is aid just for these three countries. We help people across the world. And this is just our government funded by our taxes. Our charities add so much more for the humanitarian aid picture.
Are these funds enough to fix all your countries problems? Of course not. I know this because my own country is struggling. we can’t get the funds for our own problems. There are not enough jobs for Americans who want them. We have our own homeless families and hungry children. Our shelters do their best but are often overflowing. Our emergency food banks are always needing donations because hardworking Americans have lost their jobs and can no longer feed their families. We have drug wars. Violence. Child rapes. Illiteracy. And sickness. Just like your country. All this is happening to our American citizens. But, we also have too many illegal individuals here already who disregarded our laws and broke our immigration system. They did not follow the rules. By not leaving when their visas expired, they denied another person a chance to enjoy our country for awhile. Others have crawled over our border then complain because they aren’t being given citizenship fast enough. They claim we are heartless. I would argue they are ungrateful. We would love to be able to simply absorb your child into our system. Your child, along with the 50,ooo he came with and the other 90,ooo expected soon. Do you understand why we can’t? We can give him a cheeseburger and a teddy bear today, but we must also give him a plane ticket back to you. Before he gets transported to a city only to become an invisible citizen and strains our resources even further.
You must have been desperate to send your child, unaccompanied across that great a distance. I sympathize. We here in America are afraid to let out children walk to the corner store anymore for fear of the violence, rapes and drugs I mentioned earlier. America may not be quite as bad as your country, but only by a few degrees. This is not Latin America’s Shangri La.