Lately, news items have focused on the Immigrant Crisis in the United States with renewed enthusiasm. Shah (2016) recorded that in the summer of 2014, news were awash with stories of children from Central America fighting to enter the United States. The crisis in the immigration problem was that children from Central America were pouring into the U.S. unaccompanied by their parents or guardians. In 2014, Shah (2016) reported that about 69,000 or 25% of children from Guatemala, 24% from Elsavador, and 27% from Honduras who crossed into the U.S. in 2011, only 4,059 of the total number were recorded and the number has continued to grow to 24,000 in 2012, and 39,000 in 2013. The children often expect to be granted asylum by the United States and later reunite with their families in the U.S. as reported by Hipsman and Meissner (2015).
Shah (2016) explored the reasons as to why such children were on the move from their countries en mass. The article report that 66% and 44% of children from El Salvador and Honduras respectively cited being victims of violence through organized crime, while 20% from Guatemala were reported to be fleeing from violence in their immediate society. More than 50% of the children interviewed reported to have been victims of violence. Shah reported that the claims by the children were cross-examined and it was found out that in Honduras for instance, there is a town known as San Pedro Sula, which records the highest homicide rate in the globe with 187 murders per 100,000 in 2013. Poverty came in second with rates hitting 30% in Honduras, 26% in Guatemala and 17% in El Salvador.
To respond to the situation, Shah (2016) reported that the then President, Barrack Obama, used the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008. The Act protects children from countries, which do not have a common border with the U.S. The children receive preferential treatment through an opportunity for an immigration hearing and later turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services for care. In this case, the Act ensures that immigrant children cannot be quickly removed from the U.S. On the other hand, Trump’s administration came with a zero tolerance policy where such kids were separated from their parents using the same law. The law provides for the differential treatment of children as compared to adults. To do this, the administration operates detention centers, which have been reported to be characterized by poor medical care.
The immigration crisis has further picked up this year with the formation of a caravan from the Central American countries mentioned above (Perez, 2018). The caravan, which is increasing every day is a testament to the increasing enthusiasm that migrants have to enter the United States. The number of unaccompanied children arriving in the U.S. is, therefore, expected to increase every day.
The immigrant children crisis in the American landscape has consistently been shifting between stage two and stage three. In stage two, the focus is mainly on the victims and the responses from authorities. The media and the general public has been giving attention to the way the government has been handling the children. The reunion of separated children with their parents, especially during the Trump administration has been at the center stage. In stage three, blame dominates crisis. In this, people point fingers to each other and have diverse opinions about what should or should not be done. The crisis oscillates between these two positions because it is a problem that keeps on recurring.
All along the crisis, the government has been actively involved through the immigration department, Homeland Security and border control agencies to control the situation. Handling such numbers of people during short instances has proven a challenge to the government and people, especially with the current criticism from the media about the execution of the whole process. The challenge of ensuring that the health of Americans is not compromised by the influx of immigrant children and adults is a major concern since diseases can easily be spread through uncontrolled human movement. To ensure that the American public is secure from such dangers, the immigrants have to spend some considerable time in detention camps as they get vaccinated.
To communicate the crisis to the public and to the world, the government used to release status updates periodically but when things got to the third stage where people started blaming the government the strategy changed. The government took the challenge by responding to critics and accusations. The international community also started questioning the government and this is how information was being passed.
In conclusion, a crisis at a national level and touching on the well being of Americans and their economy is sensitive. As such, the crisis as the one described above draws a lot of attention from the public. The public in return demands for answers besides blaming the government. To ensure public emotions are maintained at normal levels, the government has done its best to ensure that there is little speculation and that the public was contented.
Hipsman F and Meissner D. (2015, August). In-Country Processing in Central America: A Piece of the Puzzle. Migration Policy Institute. Available at http://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/country-processing-central-america-piece-puzzle.
Perez, M. S. (2018, October 21). Caravan of Central American Migrants Swells to 5,000 as It Advances Toward U.S. Times. Retrieved from http://time.com/5430542/caravan-central-american-migrants/
Shah, S. (2016). The Crisis in Our Own Backyard: United States Response to Unaccompanied Minor Children from Central America. Harvard Public Health Review. Retrieved from http://harvardpublichealthreview.org/the-crisis-in-our-own-backyard-united-states-response-to-unaccompanied-minor-children-from-central-america/
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