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September 1, 2014

Editorial: Lack of compassion about immigrant children

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Posted: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 7:15 pm

U.S. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, typed out a heated letter this week to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security, telling authorities that the CDP — a training site for first responders — was not equipped to house hundreds, if not thousands, of undocumented children who have recently crossed the U.S. border.

Phony crisis averted.

The CDP isn’t going to become Alabama’s largest multilingual summer-camp program — as if that ever had a chance of happening, with or without Rogers’ tough-guy intervention.

The point: Neither the CDP nor McClellan can serve as a human warehouse. Anyone with basic knowledge of the property or the training activities that take place at the CDP knows that. Likewise, much has changed at McClellan since a smattering of hurricane evacuees were stationed there in the mid-2000s. Heavy industry has moved in. The CDP has grown. Dilapidated buildings have been demolished. By any standard, it isn’t the place for children to bunk down until authorities determine how to safely return them to their home countries.

That, of course, is the heart of the matter — not protecting the CDP’s interest. Congressional Republicans like Rogers twist themselves into knots while demanding that this crush of immigrant children be deported like drug-runners caught crossing over from Mexico. Evidence of Republicans’ concern for the welfare of these children is remarkably, yet predictably, non-existent.

Indeed, this is a humanitarian problem on America’s southern border. Don’t underestimate the severity. We suggest that Rogers and his GOP colleagues should listen to the stories being told by teenagers from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador who’ve crossed over the U.S. border. In their tales are reports of beatings, rapes, molestations, sex slavery, weeks of grueling travel and fears of death, for themselves and their families.

The dangers are real, as illustrated by a 17-year-old Guatemalan, Ana, who told The Miami Herald this week that she became trapped during her journey in a mountain cottage where strangers raped her. “They threatened me, saying that if I ever said something about this they were going to kill me,” Ana said. “The only thing I begged them was not to harm me. The only thing I was thinking was that they were going to kill me. That I was going to die.”

The humanitarian emergency on our border isn’t of the United States’ making. It’s occurring throughout Central America as young people are flocking north to escape the violence and despair of their homelands.

Since last October, this sea of youthful humanity has landed on America’s doorstep. Despite Republicans’ history, it’s not too late for congressional Republicans, including Rogers, to drop the politics and offer compassion for the plight, and future, of these impoverished children.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • juauar posted at 10:09 am on Sat, Jul 5, 2014.

    juauar Posts: 33

    Lest we not forget, we are a nation of immigrants.

  • Ginny52 posted at 9:35 am on Thu, Jul 3, 2014.

    Ginny52 Posts: 2

    Well you're not spinning the facts here. Mike rogers is one of the most compassionate people I've met.

  • DP35907 posted at 8:54 am on Thu, Jul 3, 2014.

    DP35907 Posts: 1

    You seem to be saying that the government never would have housed these kids at this facility, because it's not suited for that kind of use.

    A: They had already decided to use this facility, KNOWING it wasn't suitable.
    B: They are already using similarly unsuitable facilities in other states the same way,


    C: You're an idiot. Or think we are. I'm honestly not sure.

    "Compassion" isn't piling children into unsuitable facilities like cordwood - that's the very OPPOSITE of compassion. "Compassion" would be to give these kids a bath, a good meal, a round of inoculations, and put them on a boat back to their home countries so they can tell all of their friends that the stories of quick and easy citizenship for children who survive the terrible journey to the US are the worst kind of a lie.

  • Donell101 posted at 8:07 am on Thu, Jul 3, 2014.

    Donell101 Posts: 7

    Your editorial on compassion for children has nothing to do with children and everything to do with partisan politics. This is NOT a political issue; it is a humanitarian issue. You quickly noted that Rep. Rogers is correct about McClellan's lack of facilities to house children, but turned this into an attack on Republicans without basis. These children are here because of our President's poor foreign policy. His invitation led to abuse, rape, and now literal slavery by DHHS.

    Since you want to play politics then let's play politics with human life. Democrats inhumane policy led these children to leave the wonderful socialist nations in hopes of freedom only to discover that socialism here is worse than what they left. These DHHS "shelters" give children less than 4 square feet each, filthy and disease ridden cages, limited food and water, and an environment that breeds corruption. Placed into 110+ degree warehouses with virtually no support or supervision, these children are barely surviving as lice, measles, scabies, and other communicable disease run rampant. This is the consequence of democratic policy and stupidity, and this is what you support. Sad.


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