By Razia Sultana
The recent crisis at the Southwestern border of Texas has sparked a dialogue within Princeton. On a recent Saturday, residents offered their perspectives on the controversial topic, adding to an ongoing national conversation.
Since last October, there has been an influx of undocumented immigrants entering the United States. According to the New York Times, nearly 63,000 undocumented minors remain detained in hotel spaces throughout the country. Congress continues to debate possible solutions for this humanitarian crisis.
Some Princetonians feel that the situation has spiralled out of control. “It seems like a very complicated thing. It’s hard to unthread everything,” said Sara, 40, a local resident and mother.
These minors are traveling from Central America. Their journey often consists of sex trafficking, drug cartels and desert treks. Despite the dangers of this journey, parents continue to send their children to the United States to give them a brighter future.
Joanne Parker, 56, said she feels that the conflict can be reduced to one word: sad. “Parents are trying to give them a better life. We need to try to help the situation,” she said.
Having arrived in the United States after 2007, these minors do not qualify for deferred action. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a law passed in 2012, granted deferred deportation for undocumented immigrants under the age of 31 who had resided in the United States continuously for the preceding five years. The recent arrivals are not eligible to avoid deportation or legally acquire employment. Some politicians believe that granting them refugee status will send a message that America encourages illegal immigration.
Edward Wysocki, 51, a self-identified liberal-progressive, said that he believes these minors are not America’s responsibility. He said he feels that most Latin American governments are corrupt, and that it is unjust to burden the United States with their problems. “We have to take care of ourselves first.”
Smugglers, also know as “coyotes,” transport the children to the border, earning up to $10,000 per child, according to NBC news. Sana Bdiiwi, 40, feels that the smugglers are a big problem and should be held accountable.
Bdiiwi also believes that the crisis has developed gradually. “We’re not treating these kids the way we would want to treat our kids. These kids did not come overnight. They should be a priority.”
Most Princetonians feel that these children should be given an opportunity to stay in the United States. However, some say doing so will cause problems for the country.
Meanwhile, some Princetonians argue that Barack Obama will not be able to solve this issue, while others believe that he has done his best under the present circumstances.
Princetonians want to see Congress find a concrete solution to this ongoing crisis. For her part, Sara’s daughter Molly, 7, has already discovered a solution: “They should stay here because their parents sent them here to be safe.”