Foreign Policy Corner: (big policy implications) Art Lerman on Plight of Latin American Children Crossing the Border

immigrant_children_crossing_border_2014-06-24_af4b20children crossing border

To the Editor: (Bergen, NJ, RECORD)

Regarding “Paying for kids who entered illegally” (Your Views, Sept. 1):

In reference to the flood of “children who have illegally crossed the border [into the United States] since October,” the writer asks, “…Who pays for their health, education, maintenance and support? I worry that those expenses will be pushed onto taxpaying [U.S.] citizens…”

The writer feels that the children are freeloaders, sent to our care by parents who are not taking responsibility for their own children. It’s their responsibility, not ours! “Where are their parents?” he asks.

But maybe we are responsible—very responsible for the plight of these children and their parents.

Is it not the U.S. drug laws, and the widespread willingness of Americans to break them, that have created the incredibly lucrative illegal drug market, motivating and funding the gang violence that drives Central American parents to send their children to our borders?

And is it not our guns, bought in U.S. gun shops and shipped to Central America, that makes the gang violence so lethal?

And maybe it is also a lack of attention by our society, thinking that poverty rates of 65% in Honduras, 75% in Guatemala, and 40% in El Salvador will somehow not spill over to our borders–and thinking that Central American governments, run by tiny, sometimes even uncaring elites, facing the threats of drug gang guns and the temptations of drug gang money (both originating in the U.S.), can turn the tide without our help.

Arthur J. Lerman

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