Ted Cruz and Militia Take on Refugee Kids in Texas Border Surge

ted_cruz_4As reported here earlier, we’re finding a lot of children either crossing or trying to cross into the United States, coming from not just northern Mexico but increasingly from violence-plagued Central American states. As our means for taking care of these youth are being taxed, it is becoming clear that we are heading into a crisis for these children. But don’t worry, Ted Cruz, Texas, and the militia are here to take bakkk are country  scare children help out in this humanitarian crux point through what they’re calling a border surge.

Texas, under Rick Perry, is spending an extra $1.3 million each week through the rest of 2014 to assist US Customs and Border Patrol in finding and stopping crossings. In talking about this Texas Border Surge, state Representative Jonathan Strickland (R) called immigrants “illeg*ls” – which tells you how he thinks they should be treated: as less-than-human. As criminal-by-nature. During an interview for radio station WBUR, Strickland said migrants already receive a lot of benefits. In an effort to also aid with this surge (a military word, IJS), militia members are also organizing what they say to be 500 “militia troops” along the Arizona border as well as several others in Laredo, TX.

This can’t end well at all…

Ted Cruz is of course on board with the Texas Border Surge and is pressing the Obama administration – which he blames for the crisis – to help foot Texas’ bill.

Without a doubt, the growing humanitarian crisis at our border is a direct consequence of the Obama Administration’s refusal to secure the border. Children are pushed into the hands of criminals because the Obama Administration has made it clear to the world that any child who arrives, regardless of whether they are granted formal legal status, will be permitted to stay in the United States.

It’s odd to say that Obama is responsible for this. Among pro-immigrant communities, Obama is called the Deporter-in-Chief for the fact that official deportations and detainments have drastically risen with him in charge. The vast majority of those deportations, however, have been at the border. Cruz brings up a spike in undocumented immigrant population in the US since 2000, but I’m not sure it’s responsible to blame that on Obama. Now, note that Teddy calls this a humanitarian crisis. Because that doesn’t seem to be his focus.

Preventing people from illegally immigrating to the United States should be the primary purpose of Customs and Border Protection. And, although this critical task is primarily a federal responsibility, Texas is prepared to take action to gain control of our borders.

For Cruz, this is about the borders. But what this crisis is really about is the kids. This spike in immigrant children from Central America has been astronomically increasing since 2005, but not because of any so-called promises of amnesty. It’s because Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala are now in the top five most deadly countries – with Honduras laying claim to the Murder Capitol of the World with an average of twenty slayings a day – and children are trying to escape the violence themselves. They are ending up in Belize, Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and the US. They are seeking asylum and about 60% have “viable” rights to make that claim legally, according to the UN.

They come not as invaders or agents of cartels, but as refugees from war-torn countries. We should recognize them not as a threat to be returned back to their violence, but as a potential to do good in the world. We should be, if we are the greatest nation on earth, welcoming them with open arms, not with rifles pointed at their heads.

The unaccompanied minors captured by US Customs and Border Protection are given to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which places them in temporary shelters until some family members can pick them up and watch them until the deportation hearings. But that’s all becoming exponentially harder, even before this year. In a report for Mother Jones, “In fiscal 2011, ORR had 53 shelters that housed 6,560 kids. In 2012, those numbers increased to 68 and 13,625; in 2013, there were 80 shelters and 24,668 unaccompanied children.” This year, there is expected to be 90,000 unaccompanied minors arriving in the States.

How one defines the crisis is dependent on how one views the humanity of our visitors and asylum-seekers. To call them “illegals” or treat them as pawns is to diminish their humanity and merely see them as a threat or a political tool. According to Cruz, the Texas GOP, and the militia, the only humans then in need of rescue are white Americans – and that from “invading” “hordes.”

It doesn’t appear that the militia’s nor even Texas government’s purpose is to be humanitarian or really to help these children. It is to militarize the border in an effort to scare back Latin American children. Many of these groups, as Conservative Tribune points out, were present at and assisting the Bundy Ranch takeover. The racism in that episode was deeply evident long before Cliven Bundy ever opened up his mouth about people of color. Do we trust them to have these kids’ best interests at heart?

On the other hand, it may be prudent to look at what our responsibilities are – both to these children and to the countries they come from. If these militia groups really want to be humanitarian, they would help secure beds and food and clothes and financial aid for these kids. They would see to it that the children are safe. They would help provide medicine and health care.

They could also petition the US government – as we all should – to help get to root causes of this epidemic, or at least ones we are responsible for. Children are fleeing from their home states due in large part to gang culture exported from the US. Due to our War on Drugs, which enriches while weaponizing the cartels. Due to disastrous financial policies like NAFTA which have heavily hit the North American countries to the South of us (in addition to our own unions).

So, yes, we have a humanitarian crisis here, partly if not largely of our own doing. We should work towards identifying and solving the problem rather than misidentifying and aiming at kids.


When he’s not riding both his city’s public transit system and evil mayor, Jasdye teaches at a community college and writes about the intersection of equality and faith - with an occasional focus on Chicago - at the Left Cheek blog and on the Left Cheek: the Blog Facebook page. Check out more from Jasdye in his archives as well!


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