Children at border should be given a chance

By Diego Pineda
Raleigh, N.C.

Tens of thousands of children from Central America are currently in detention centers around the border area. After traveling thousands of miles — trekking on top of a train known as “La Bestia” (“The Beast”) and crossing the desert —  these innocent children were caught by the United States Border Patrol as they had one foot inside and the other foot outside of making their dreams come true.

Escaping violence, poverty, deficiency of resources and persecution, the children are only seeking a light to the end of their tunnel. This tunnel might be dark and lonely as they walk through a desert that undergoes extremes of hot and cold temperatures. As they make their way through the Central American borders and Mexico, they tend to lack food and shelter. Everywhere they go there are dangerous people who try to sexually abuse them or get them to join gangs.

Even their smugglers, known as “coyotes,” tend to only care about the money they are being paid. These coyotes may treat the children like cargo and not as innocent kids who are just seeking a better education, better economic opportunities and better physical and mental conditions. The children should be allowed to stay if for no other reason than because, at the end of their horrible journey, they deserve finally to be treated like human beings.

If the children remain in the U.S., it will not only benefit them but America as a whole. After all, they are not seeking to destroy the country, but rather to contribute to it. Programs like English as a Second Language (ESL) can assist them in learning to speak, read and write English effectively — and aid them in adapting quickly to life in the United States. America is a land of opportunity, and just as other waves of immigrants have helped to develop our economy, so can these immigrants. Plus, not only can they help America economically, but they can also be a voice for the voiceless in our society.

Some Americans may think that by deporting the children, the country could put a stop to the wave of undocumented immigration. But the situations in Central America that these children are fleeing are so desperate that they and others are likely to simply try to immigrate again.

Of course, these children will have to put their all into achieving the American Dream. But if we do not allow them to stay, they will never even have the chance to try. The government should act humanely in the cases of these children. They should be given a chance to grow and learn like everyone else’s ancestors did when they set foot in America.

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