The news: Well, this is just sad.
Three busloads of detained immigrants were being transported to a detention center in Murrieta, Calif., on Tuesday when they ran into this:
Image Credit: ABC-10 News
Over 100 protesters converged on their route, waving American flags and brandishing signs that read "ILLEGALS GO HOME," "SUPPORT BORDER PATROL," "PROTECT YOUR KIDS FROM DISEASES" (?) and "U.S. CITIENS [sic] DON'T GET FREE PASS Y [sic] SHOULD ILEAGELS [sic]."
Image Credit: Twitter
Image Credit: Twitter
Welcome to America, guys! As if getting here wasn't hard enough.
It doesn't get better: The cruel irony is that most of the detainees were women and children fleeing gang violence and poverty in Central America.
Since October 2013, over 47,000 unaccompanied children have been taken into custody crossing the Mexico border into Texas and Arizona. Four hundred were detained in the Rio Grande Valley on a single day in June, and analysts expect 60,000 by the end of 2014.
It's gotten so bad that President Barack Obama has declared it "an urgent humanitarian situation."
But why? People are leaving El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras in droves because 40-60% poverty rates, rampant street violence, widespread organized crime and the world's highest murder rates are not nice things to live around.
Image Credit: AP
Many are also trying to reunite with family members in the U.S., but beefed up border security has made it difficult to do so. Under President Obama, forced removals are de rigueur, and an increasingly militarized border funnels would-be migrants into dangerous regions of the Southwestern desert, often leading to their deaths.
Plus: Those who do make it across are often caught by the Border Patrol and kept in overcrowded holding facilities, where they anxiously await their fate.
Image Credit: Los Angeles Times
These cells have become so overwhelmed that agents are scrambling for new places to hold people, including Air Force bases in Texas and processing centers in California. Put simply, it's not a pleasant situation for anyone.
But you know what makes it worse? A hundred flag-waving zealots terrorizing busloads of frightened women and children.
The callousness these protesters displayed is a perfect example of the United States' twisted attitude toward undocumented immigrants. Under the guise of "homeland security" and "preventing the theft of American jobs" — a myth, by the way, plus we'd probably outsource them anyway — we've essentially placed spatial limitations on a people's right to exist. To say these immigrants belong "there" but not "here" constitutes the worst form of arrogance, in addition to reeking of xenophobia and racism:
"[If] we (think) this is a humanitarian crisis, then we need a humanitarian solution," said Enrique Morones, president and founder of Border Angels. Without a doubt, criminalizing innocent women and children is not a humanitarian solution.