Sunday, July 27, 2014

Suffer the Little Children

But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come to me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven -- Matthew 19:14 (American King James Version)
There has been a lot to talk about  providing relief and support for undocumented children.  21 children have been placed in South Dakota and the Governor is none to happy about it.  Daugaard complains in a press release about his anger that the federal agency didn't clear it with him.  Then he tries to use fear and xenophobia to label the children as threats. 
“It is disappointing that, despite assurances from federal officials, these children have been placed in South Dakota without notification to the state,” said the Governor. “Although federal officials indicate that these 21 children have been screened and vaccinated, we will be asking for more information so that the state can be sure that these children pose no risk to South Dakotans.”
A lot of people have been discussing this response.  Over at Madville, Cory pointed out the silliness of bringing up a lack of vaccination for the children as a major threat to South Dakota.  The Displaced Plainsman cites the Bob Mercer and points out that all this freaking out over 21 children shows that lack of foresight and planning that is the SD GOP (and national GOP in my opinion).  Over at Dakota War College, you are getting statements from GOP rank and file like these:

SpencerThe National Guard should be called out NOW to remove these kids and their illegal families. Are we really going to wait for Obama to handle this? Take them to the nearest blue state and dump them. No damage or harm to South Dakotans? Really? Illegals are syphoning education and Medicaid dollars away from every other South Dakotan among a multitude of other services and resources while some fools sit there wondering if there is a down side to taking these illegals. Wake up South Dakota!
Charlie HoffmanThere is a Win-Win in this politically nationwide for the GOP but fear is killing the initiative needed. 
DNA ID every child and photo fingerprint them onto the Federal database. Then get a judge to put a secrecy cloak on their location and status. No news going out to further illegal importations. Instead of Obama and Company shoving kids into Gestapo type barracks we put them in homes clearly identified as Pro-American. The adults/parents here illegally gave up their parental rights years ago when they left their children in the slums while they high tailed into the USA whenever they could. 
While politicians and other bicker over these children, we forget that these are children.  Children whose life has been one of hell and suffering.  Whose parents were so desperate that there children could have a better life, or in some cases a life period, that they allowed them to go.  Not everyone of the SD GOP thinks the same as Daugaard and others.  Rep. Steve Hickey (R) makes a fair point on the comment section of Dakota War College:
Steve HickeyWow. Lighten up Spencer. Kids aren’t political footballs to kick back to some other state. I’d like to meet them and hear every single one of their stories. Don’t misread me, I think we can and should shut down the border. But that’s not happening. We have room in SD to love on 21 more kids – it’d actually do us some good. Political leaders can sort it out without tossing kids back and forth. Hopefully it’s not true that SD cares more about stranded cows and wet river communities than it does the children of the world....
We do have room to love on 21 children.  We should have room to love on all of our children.  When you see footage of grown up adults screaming "Not our kids, not our problem!" and those asking, "why can't we just ship them back," I think John Stewart summed it up best: "What the f*** is wrong with you?"

Sister Janet Horstman shared a story in the Argus Leader about what is facing many of these families:
Horstman cited a 2012 case that illustrates the consequences of deportation decisions. Parents from El Salvador sought residency for their children, ages 19 and 15, who had arrived illegally. 
"These two young men were being recruited by gangs and threatened, so they decided to leave. The oldest, who was 19, was sent back." Three or four days later, Horstman said, he "was killed because he had tried to run away."  
The paper hinted at a plan by McCain and Flake being brought up to handle refugee status in the home country.  When trying to see exactly what the plan would do, the focus seems to be on getting these illegal children out of here (still wrapping the language in xenophobia).  However, I did find some information that shows the Obama administration (this might cause it to fail since Obama supports a GOP idea) is considering such a move.
Kevin Appleby, director of Migration and Refugee Services at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the plan would be welcome, as long as it does not substitute for protections Central American children currently receive under American law. 
“This program would certainly be a formal acknowledgment by the administration that these children are refugees,” Appleby said. “That’s huge, because they have yet to utter that word.” 
When a similar plan was adopted in Haiti, as a way to keep people from taking to the high seas, he said, it was ultimately criticized because Haitians already in the United States did not receive help. 
“It ended up being counterproductive to the goal,” Appleby said. 
Stacie Blake, the director of government relations for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, an advocacy group, said the processing of potential refugees in Central America could be handled by the U.S. government or by the United Nations, which makes refugee determinations in many other countries. She said some of the people designated as refugees in Honduras could end up in countries other than the United States. 
“It’s a way to help folks avoid life-threatening escapes and journeys,” Blake said. “It’s a good idea. It’s a tested idea.”
Whatever happens in the future to try and get a better handle on the issue, let us not ignore treating the children that are here with some dignity and compassion.  Don't automatically assume that they are evil.  Maybe we could learn to be a little more like Jesus and let the children come to us.  Not to be ridiculed and seen as threats, not to be viewed as pawns, and not to be viewed as unbearable burdens and annoyances, but instead to look upon them as innocents and to reach out and provide a little relief in a difficult and harsh world. 

UPDATE: Rep. Kathy Tyler posts about South Dakota's need for immigrant labor and the complexity of immigration laws and the need to remember the children.

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