Trying to Escape Violence, Gangs, and Crushing Poverty by Coming to America

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Guatemalan Francisco Ramos shows a picture of his son Gilberto Francisco Ramos, a 15-year-old boy who died in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, while trying to reach the United States on his own. Guatemalan Francisco Ramos shows a picture of his son Gilberto Francisco Ramos, a 15-year-old boy who died in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, while trying to reach the United States on his own. (JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images/Getty)

Ian Gordon, editor at Mother Jones, discusses the issue of what to do with the child immigrants crossing into the United States. He’s traced the journey back home for children that are deported and he has reported from the shelters built to house migrants in the interim. Gordon discusses the Mexican government's response to Central American migrants, why border agents shouldn't decide whether child migrants can stay, and looks at why child migrants are fleeing their home countries. His most recent article about the crisis is “70,000 Kids Will Show Up Alone at Our Border This Year. What Happens to Them?” and is in the July/August issue of Mother Jones.


Ian Gordon

Comments [8]

Logan from Brooklyn

Sorry, the second half of my comments were directed towards Maggie not Shelly.

Jul. 22 2014 05:07 PM
Logan from Brooklyn

Imposing sanctions on these countries for their gang problems would be counterproductive and pretty hypocritical considering the U.S.' role in fostering the creation and growth of these gangs in the first place through supporting brutal governments there in the '80s that led to a flow of refugees (many of whom joined gangs in Los Angeles and then were deported back to their war torn countries of origin) into the U.S. during that time, instigating free trade policies which have further damaged their already dependent economies, and fueling the drug trade through the high demand for illegal substances in the U.S. Additionally, it would take a serious effort to improve the military and police forces in these three countries. Mexico, for example, signed a billion dollar agreement with the U.S. to help out the military and the police there and it has done little good.

A quick caveat for Shelley. Only Honduras recently suffered a coup and that was in 2009. There have been elections since that time although there are still serious problems with democracy in that country. Guatemala and El Salvador have not experienced military coups for decades and both have had elected governments and relatively free and fair elections since the 1990s. This is not to say that democracy is operating smoothly in these countries, however, it is not fair to state that "any semblance of constitutional order has disappeared."

Jul. 22 2014 05:05 PM
Maggie Mahar

Leonard, Shelly,

These governments have no power to control the gangs. In all three countries military coups overthrew democratically elected governments. Ultimately, the U.S. backed the coups. As a result, any semblance of constitutional order has disappeared.

We have spent a small amount of money trying to help police in these countries, but it's too little.
This Congress would never authorize $$ for the training that is needed.

Gangs have terrorized the population--in many cities they are in control.


Jul. 22 2014 01:54 PM

Why can't Mexico police the train that transports so many of these refugee children to the US border?

Jul. 22 2014 01:50 PM
Shelly from Brooklyn

Would it not be cheaper for the US to put pressure (eg: stop aid) on the governments of those countries where migration of the children is an issue and also provide some police or military help to curb the gang violence than to spend all the money on protecting borders and housing the migrants?

Jul. 22 2014 01:45 PM

The movie "Sin Nombre" literally was a kick in the head/eye-opener about the horrors in Central America...Don't know if you want to plug it; it is on Youtube but with out sub-titles...

Jul. 22 2014 01:39 PM
thomas from astoria

How many are coming here to join their parents?

What would happen if the US said, "Parents, come and get your children." Would the parents already be here?

Jul. 22 2014 01:31 PM
Robert from New York City

Hi Leonard. I'm a huge fan. We seem to be missing the point on the child border crossings. Americans in every neighborhood created this problem when they purchased illegal drugs. They money finds its way back to the cartels and gangs south of the border that kidnap, rape, and ruin the home countries of the refugees. We ultimately must do a better job to keep our families off of drugs and not create the demand. I've visited Mexico and can tell you that all these people want to do is go to church and raise their families in peace as the work steady jobs without being extorted.

Jul. 22 2014 10:37 AM

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