i watched an HBO documentary last night that was an eye opener for me. in the news all i have heard about was illegal immigrants trying to sneak their way into the U.S. and all the problems that causes.. i do not condone illegal immigration, however i have a better understanding now of why so many attempt to do it.
this documentary was about the kids who try to get into the states. there are a dangerously high & growing number of kids trying to get to America by riding the railroad [as well as crossing through the desert].. they jump on board, ride in boxcars and on the roofs of the trains. the youngest i saw in this film were 2 nine year olds, and the ages range into adult hood. many have never known what it's like to have a parent.
a camera crew followed a handful of these kids to tell their story. it showed how poor their hometowns were, and the conditions of swallor they lived in. the kids came as far away as Guatemala, trying to get into the states. i can understand their plea.
they grow up with very little. many are abandoned as toddlers and left to live on the streets off scraps of garbage they find. many have been abused and made to prostitute themselves to earn money for the family. most are uneducated and illiterate. others are sold to smugglers by a parent only to be placed into prostitution and drug dealings.
along the journey on the trains, there are little townships which have ministry run help centers with a shelter to sleep, food to eat, medical care, bathing facilities, and group gatherings with information on how to stay safe as they travel. they provide needed supplies to the immigrants and are considered "good will" ambassadors. they also provide counseling and prayer. the Hispanic culture is heavily catholic.
they all have one thing in common, they ALL believe that America is the magic land where everything will be great, they will find work and be able to live a glorious life and they know this "because they have seen it on TV and in movies." they believe to the point of being delusional when they think about what our country holds for them.
add desperation and hopelessness to that, and you have a mighty strong willed group of kids desperate to come to America. many youth either get raped, killed, mugged, or sold on their journey. some fall asleep on the top of the train and accidently fall off only to be run over by the train. but hardly any kids get through and end up in detention/deportation centers and are sent back to the same desperate situation they left. several die on this journey, one way or another.
they usually end up trying to leave again. it is pitiful, and sad. i found myself caught between feeling sorry for them, and feeling anger that it happens. i surely don't have a solution. but these are just kids like yours and mine. what makes them different than ours?
that's what. they are just trying to find their way, wanting the same things ours do but going about it the only way they think they have.. and they are willing to sell their soul to the devil to get it.
when the camera crew asked the kids what they hoped for in America, many answered "to be adopted". one said he wanted to go to Manhattan to live because it's nice there. others planned on working to send money back to their families. where they come from there are little to no opportunities for education or employment, unless you are already wealthy. i saw families living under bridges and doing laundry and dishes in the filthy rivers.
i understand the whole problem to be one which wont be solved anytime in the near future, if ever.. i think as time goes on, people in the world are going to become more desperate to leave their own version of hell to look for a bit of heaven, and the problems we will face in our country due to that will be enormous maybe even crushing to our society. our country has our own problems and we aren't even dealing with those very well.
is there anything we can do? does anyone have a solution? millions of dollars are being spent by our country to prevent these people from crossing the borders... walls & fences have been built, people have been hired to patrol the border.. would it be more fruitful to help them with their original problem so they would want to stay where they were born?
of course that probably wouldn't work as their government would have to consist of decent, honest, and caring individuals.... which will never happen as money buys power and corruption. unfortunately, the drug cartels own the government in Mexico. crime is at an all time high. regular folk have no chance to improve their situations... and their government doesn't care.
another question i had as i watched this film was, if and when these kids get into the states, and realize what they thought was magic land, turns out to be just like home for them, what then will they do? most of these kids are too young to work, and will live off the streets & remain homeless.
perpetrators and pimps will be lurking to force them into dealing drugs and/or prostitution in order to survive. they will then be in the same situation they ran away from. and all the problems that snowball from this will only add to our already homeless population that we don't know what to do with, either. its like a vicious cycle that turns and turns but never gets anywhere.
yes, i do have compassion and understanding for why these people want to immigrate here. but i also understand it wont solve any of the problems they run away from because they are basically coming to the same ones here due to their illegal status, age, inability to speak English, lack of skills, etc.
what really upsets me is the illusion they hold that all is well here and it's a magical place where they will never go without. these kids are at the end of their rope and the reality of what will await them if they get through will be enough to kill their very last hope.
it makes me sick to my stomach that in our world we have people SO rich they don't know what to do with their money and spend it frivolously.. while others are so poor and destitute they live like animals. it's just not the way it should be, in my opinion.