Word on the street in Central America is that if you make it across the U.S. border you're home free. That's said to be especially true if you are a child or traveling with a child. "Go to America with your child, you won't be turned away," is the message that is sweeping the region as tens of thousands risk their lives in a perilous journey north.
Vice President Joe Biden was sent to Guatemala on Friday to try and correct this impression. Though Joe being Joe he stepped in it. While he did say that most illegals would be sent back he made it clear that some would stay. And he went on to say that judges and lawyers provided at taxpayer expense would be available to help those who could make a claim for asylum. It's mostly a moot point anyway since we are releasing illegals and simply requesting they show up for hearings. That's unlikely and even if they did their numbers would overwhelm the immigration system.
Most illegals seem to have accepted Biden's advice and are ready with their story:
Asked why they would take such risks, the answers from Sanchez and others are nearly uniform: gang violence at home, poverty, no jobs. But press a little more deeply and many acknowledge having been told — by friends, relatives, even aid workers and, of course, the coyotes, or smugglers — that it can be easier these days to cross into the United States and stay, especially if you are carting kids.
|Does this look safe for children?|
The story of unaccompanied children making the perilous journey of thousands of miles is heartbreaking. Many run out of money to bribe the Mexicans or pay smugglers:
REYNOSA, Mexico –Fourteen-year-old Brayan Duban Soler Redando left Honduras in April after hearing a rumor that children who can make it to the U.S. are being given permission to stay so they can go to school.14 year old Brayan is one of the lucky ones. At least he reached a place of safe shelter in Mexico. Countless others aren't so lucky:
He traveled alone all the way from the village of Quebrada Maria on the Caribbean coast of Honduras, through El Salvador, Guatemala and then Mexico. To reach Reynosa,, Brayan begged for bus fare, hopped trains, walked, hitched rides and even swam at night across a river between Guatemala and Mexico.
But in Reynosa, Brayan ran out of money to pay smugglers to take him across the Rio Grande.. And now he, like many others following these false hopes, is stuck in one of the most dangerous cities in the world, in shelters like Senda de Vida, which sits on a hill overlooking the Rio Grande in this border city.
The trip can take weeks or months; some get off the train along the way to beg or work, and those with children stop to rest and maybe pick up donated diapers or food before hopping another train.Some say that this influx of immigrants can be beneficial to U.S. society. But an unchecked surge of immigrants, many carrying diseases like Tuberculosis creates a threat to public health in the U.S.
They ride on the roof, holding on for dear life, the luckier ones wedging themselves between jostling cars. Almost every one of them has had to pay bribes, either to Mexican police, immigration officials or gangs.
In a twist, along some segments of the route, the notorious Zetas drug and extortion paramilitary force has been replaced by members of the equally ruthless Mara Salvatrucha gang, originally from Los Angeles and El Salvador, migrants said. They charge the migrants $100 at each stop, Honduran Jose Eduardo Calix said.
"If you don't pay, they try to throw you off the train," Calix, 30, said, adding that he had seen five people shot to death because they didn't have the money.
Many Central Americans detained by Mexican authorities are held in limbo for weeks or months in dank detention facilities, where they say they have been beaten, forced to pay for food and tortured.
The immigrants who make it across will cause a strain on already overburdened social services, health and education resources. Consider this:
Doris Martinez, 46, left Honduras on April 24 with her 5-year-old daughter, Anni, traveling most of the way by bus. Anni has Down syndrome. Before leaving, Martinez heard that the U.S. government was giving women traveling with children "permisos" — permits — to stay in the U.S. if they could make it across the river on their own.As sympathetic as Americans are towards those with disabilities, it's clear that Ms. Martinez's daughter will remain a burden to taxpayers and not contribute to the revival of the U.S. economy as some open border advocates claim. But what about 14 year old Brayan:
"My intention is to cross to the other side to the United States because my daughter has special needs. I am looking for help. I heard there is a special school for children like her," Martinez said. "In Honduras, they don't help children like her. They discriminate against them. They treat them like they aren't even people."
Fourteen-year-old Brayan Duban Soler Redando heard about two friends who made it to the United States, Brayan left the next day.The chance of Brayan coming up with a legal source of that money is next to nil. I fear that for him and tens of thousands of others seeking to come here there will be no miracle. Just the opposite.
"They say when you get to the other side, go to la migra (the Border Patrol) and la migra will help you," Brayan said, sitting in the shade of a tree at the shelter.
But after his long journey to Reynosa, Brayan ran out of money.
The smugglers charge as much as $400 per person for a trip that in most spots in this area is no more than 100 yards wide. Criminal gangs that control the waters stand between the migrants and the U.S.
At one point, Brayan walked up to an embankment and stood contemplating how he would come up with the $100 — a fortune — the smugglers want to take him across the Rio Grande.
"If I can pay the fee and make it across, I will turn myself in to la migra and, hopefully, they will help me," he said. "It would be a miracle. I pray God allows it."
Obama Praises Illegal Immigrants at White House Event
Had the word gone out from Obama on down that we intend to secure our border and refuse entry to all those attempting to skirt our laws this human tragedy would not be happening. But what message did Obama send last week? He hosted an event at the White House to honor illegal immigrants whom he has granted amnesty calling them "champions for change." That's the message that kids like Brayan and mothers like Doris hear and they are coming by the thousands!