Saturday, August 9, 2014

Safe Haven


Children seeking shelter and safety should never be considered or treated like criminals. We all need to be safe havens for children, especially those in dangerous places and situations.

Do we even need to have that discussion?

23 comments:

Marshall Art said...

"Do we even need to have that discussion?"

Yes. Because it is not as simple merely letting all of them come here. It simply isn't. We are not limitless in our wealth and it is very much in doubt as to whether or not their presence here is attributable to dangerous conditions at home as it is a scheme to gain access here, which would indeed indicate criminal-like activity.

Is it the children who are considered or treated like criminals? Mostly only those who are actual criminals (and not truly as child-like as the term is meant to convey). But the parents who send these kids (those who are actual kids) are considered less than honorable both for sending the kids in the first place, as well as for the scheme behind the action itself. It is another way to enter the country illegally. It is no less than, "Hey! Let's send our kids over there and once they are there, we can expect that something be done for the kids by the Americans!"

There are two MAJOR ironies connected to this post:

1. The host speaks of shelter and safety for children while supporting the legality of killing children in the womb.

2. The host purposely avoids wealth creation leaving the cost of providing that safe haven to others.

Dan Trabue said...

The topic is not abortion, Marshall. Nor is it wealth creation or how much you'd like me to earn which, I hope you know and can understand: I don't care how much you'd like me to earn.

The topic is that we have desparate children escaping from danger and starvation to safety.

Where you say that there is a chance, in your mind, that all, most or "many" of these kids are part of a criminal scheme to gain access here, is that what you're meaning to say?

That they had a safe and easy life with enough food to eat to survive where they were, but then they chose to forgo that comfortable life to cross a dangerous desert with sometimes dangerous people all as part of a scheme to move to the US? To what end?

Here's a report from the NY Times about some of these kids...

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/13/opinion/sunday/a-refugee-crisis-not-an-immigration-crisis.html?_r=0

"an 11-year-old sixth grader in the neighborhood of Nueva Suyapa, on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa, tells me he has to get out of Honduras soon — “no matter what.”

In March, his father was robbed and murdered by gangs while working as a security guard protecting a pastry truck. His mother used the life insurance payout to hire a smuggler to take her to Florida. She promised to send for him quickly, but she has not."

Do you think reporters are making up these stories? Do you think the children are making up these stories?

As the writer of the article above notes: This is a refugee crisis, not an immigration crisis.

If a child knocks on your door and says he's escaping from an abusive family, can you help? Would you send him back to the family or would you help?

How is this any different?

Dan Trabue said...

What data do you have about the children who are coming here, Marshall?

Marshall Art said...

What data? Have you not heard reports of gang members entering along side these "refugees"? Are those reporters lying? Are those kids disguising themselves with tatoos proclaiming their gang affiliations?

Other reports state that the "refugee" kids are sent by their parents knowing that Obama stated he wouldn't send them back. Are these reports lies?

As is typical, you quickly latch onto whatever leftist report tugs at your heartstrings without a reasoned thought to whether or not the report is an accurate reflection of the situation.

As to how much you make, it is indeed relevant when you insist "we" need to be charitable to any cause. You eschew wealth creation out of some twisted understanding of Scripture, but then insist that "we" care for some unstated/unlimited number of needy people, as if the money just flows without effort on someone's part.

So how do we handle the true "refugees" that other countries, including their own, won't relieve?

Dan Trabue said...

Children in need need to be cared for, their needs attended to by rational, caring people AND by nations. In the Bible, nations are judged harshly AS a nation when they fail to take care of those in need.

"This was the sin of your sister, Sodom, She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy."

The nation as a whole was judged, Marshall. I am open to all sorts of ways of finding relief for these kids - including sorting out some who might actually be criminals. Gov't, private, some combination.

What I am not open to is simply sending them back, point blank or condemning these children en masse of being criminals and "illegals."

They are refugees.

This is the sort of behavior that nations are condemned for in the bible.

Can we be open to finding the best ways to assist these needy children, do we need to have THAT conversation? Sure.

Do we need to be open to a conversation that begins with these kids being treated as illegal? No.

If you want to have that conversation, take it elsewhere, you'll find no patience here for that argument.

Craig said...

I'm confused. I thought that these children were being given places of safety and shelter pending determination of their legal status. Have I missed something? Where are these children, who have broken US law, being deprived of safety or shelter on this side of the US border?

"Can we be open to finding the best ways to assist these needy children, do we need to have THAT conversation? Sure."

Of course we do, but how can we rationally have that conversation when the starting point is let's ignore US immigration law, bring in untold numbers of children, then we'll figure out what to do. At this point there is no rational conversation.

The bigger question is, how many of these children have/are you or your church helping, Dan?

Why are we not focusing on how to make life better in their native countries, rather that simply throwing open the door to unlimited numbers, turning these minors into citizens, and letting the child welfare system take care of them?

Should these children be treated humanely, of course.
Should they be given food, clothes, and shelter as needed, of course?
Should they be given an end run around US immigration law, of course not.
Is there a process in place to determine if these children are truly refugees, of course?
Should they have equal access to said process as anyone else, of course.

But, unfortunately that's not the discussion being had.


FYI, I could be wrong, but it seems as though the topic of this post is about providing safe havens for children in danger. If so, then shouldn't we provide a safe haven for all children in danger? It seems to me that to focus on one group of children in danger, while ignoring others could be seen as hypocritical.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig...

I thought that these children were being given places of safety and shelter pending determination of their legal status. Have I missed something? Where are these children, who have broken US law, being deprived of safety or shelter on this side of the US border?

The point would be that escaping a life-and-death situation is not "breaking the law..." even if you technically break a law in the process. For instance, in Tennessee (maybe elsewhere), you may legally "break into a car" to save a child inside from suffocation/heat exposure. It's not a crime, even though normally breaking into a car IS a crime.

The circumstances of saving a life outweigh the normal rules. Thus, children escaping to safety are not "illegal immigrants." They are - should rightly be considered - refugees seeking safe haven.

Do you agree with this in the case of breaking into cars?

If so, can you see why the same should apply for crossing an invisible border?

Marshall Art said...

"It's not a crime, even though normally breaking into a car IS a crime."

I've no doubt you misunderstand the law. "Breaking into a car" is NOT a crime anywhere. If you locked your keys in your car, are you breaking the law to smash the window (given that it might be the only way to gain access)? Of course not. And unless you cite the code that covers this, I doubt it mentions "breaking into a car is against the law" or "a crime" unless attached to it is something along the lines of "to steal the contents". "Burglarizing" a car might be illegal, and one needn't "break in" if one manages to obtain the key.

The point here is intention and motive weighs heavily in regards to criminal intent. If it can be determined that any of these kids were targeted specifically, as opposed to merely leaving an area of high crime, then you could use the "refugee" tag legitimately. Those who move out of the inner city, where crime is often close to rampant, are not refugees despite their fleeing the potential danger to them by staying. Those who flee war zones are in situation where the difference between potential and being targeted are almost non-existent. Think Israeli citizens here.

In this case, one must consider the relatively recent nature of this phenomenon, especially given Obama's proclamations regarding providing a safe haven, and how that can so easily be used as an excuse to gain access to this country's bounty without the hardship attached to waiting in line at the border. Are these kids from these S. American countries only now in danger? Did the danger to them begin only after Obama opened his stupid mouth? Is that really reasonable to believe?

Not for rational and thoughtful people. Every easement of the rules regarding immigration leads to large numbers of people trying to get in without going through proper channels, all of them hoping to be forgive at some point. I regard the whole thing with suspicion because of this pattern that began with Reagan's amnesty. This is just the new twist on the line jumping activity.

Craig said...

I don't see where escaping a life and death situation is breaking the law.

What is being said is that every country has laws that control immigration. So for anyone to travel across multiple national jurisdictions without regard for the local laws is by definition breaking the law.

In this case, US immigration law provides a process for these children to be evaluated to determine whether that legitimately meet the criteria for refugee status or whatever other options there are. As long as these people are treated humanely while they are going through the process, and as long as the legal process is followed correctly, I don't see what the problem is.

I agree with the breaking into cars rule as the child is in immediate imminent danger that can be alleviated by breaking a window and pulling the child out. This is not the same as sending children off for a week/months long journey of hundreds/thousands of miles on the hope that the US will waive current immigration law when they get there. Any person who can manage to get themselves from central America to the US is not in imminent danger of death.

"If so, can you see why the same should apply for crossing an invisible border?"

It's 2 completely different situations.

1. Lack of imminent danger
2. Even though the border is not visible it doesn't mean it's not real.
3. It's not just one border, it's multiple borders.
4. In the US we have a tradition of laws applying equally to everyone, why would anyone waive the legal process for any group of people.


I think it's interesting that the only situation the American left can come up with it to throw open the borders and damn immigration laws.

While we're seeing some of the evil uncaring conservatives raising money and trying to improve conditions in the countries where these children came from.

It brings me back to one of the most profound conversations I've ever had with a Haitian.

The guy in question was well on his way to becoming a Dr. and had relatives in the US and could have come to the US at any time and been successful. When I asked him why he stayed his response was so simple and profound it shocked me. He said "I'm Haitian".

How much damage is being done to these countries if we let their future come to the US?

Is adding thousands of children to an already overburdened family services system really a great solution for the children?

Craig said...

Just one more thought.

It seems to me that simply flinging open the borders, disregarding existing immigration law and letting everyone get a free pass into the country isn't actually a solution to the real problem. It could be argued that it is actually making the problem worse. If this policy is implemented, what incentive to the families, cities, states,and countries have to improve conditions for their people. Ultimately, once you look beyond the short term easy fix and the political benefits to the democrats, one has to ask the real, hard questions, and try to figure out how to stop this tide by helping improve their homelands, not by letting them hop in the social welfare wagon in the US.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig...

It seems to me that simply flinging open the borders, disregarding existing immigration law and letting everyone get a free pass into the country isn't actually a solution to the real problem.

Of course it isn't. Wouldn't dream of saying it is.

Food stamps aren't the solution, they're only part of a bigger solution.

Subsidized housing isn't the solution, only part of a larger solution.

And making safe havens for children is not the whole solution, but it must be part of the solution.

Craig, if you had beloved children living in a location where there was not a man prepared to shoot them right then and there, but there WAS a 50% chance they would not live to adulthood, would you advocate sending your own beloved children somewhere safer, or would you say, "We need to keep them here and hope for the best..."?

I, for one, would send loved ones to a safer place. 50% are not acceptable odds. And if I broke minor laws to save lives, I'd break minor laws.

What would you do?

If you'd do as I would do, can you blame families for doing the same?

And in the case where there is no family, would you blame children for making that choice for themselves?

Dan Trabue said...

If I lived in a dangerous barrio in Guatemala with my wife and children, a place where children and innocents are routinely killed, raped or kidnapped or otherwise harmed, I'd certainly want to send them away. Of course it all depends on the details and this is just wild speculation, but I suspect that I'd want to stay and fight for the change you say needs to happen, but I wouldn't want my children on the front lines while I did so.

Would you?

And you say that there'd be no incentive to return if we accepted these refugees? I'd tend to disagree. The immigrants whom I have met here in the US - just about to a person - would MUCH rather be back home. They left to stay alive. Literally. But they don't want to be here, they want to be back at home.

I don't think that would be an uncommon sentiment. If you had left your home in the US out of fear for your life and moved to a nation whose language you didn't speak and whose cultures were not yours, wouldn't you want to go home?

I think the Golden Rule comes in play here, for all those who believe in living that way. If we would send our children to safety, even if we broke laws to do so, then we shouldn't blame others when they do so.

If we'd be greatly relieved to be accepted as a refugee, not vilified as an "illegal immigrant," where we escaped to, then we should do the same for others.

This just seems straightforward, to me.

Do we need to encourage other nations to improve their own conditions? Absolutely.

Do we need to end our laws that make it harder for other nations to do so? Absolutely.

Do we need to encourage governmental and NGOs to work to help improve conditions in other nations, especially our neighbors? Sure.

In the meantime, we must take action to save lives where we can and simply sending children back to dangerous situations as soon as possible is not doing so.

Craig said...

Dan,

The problem with every analogy you've offered is that the process of sending these children to safety involves a long dangerous unaccompanied journey to an unknown result. We don't know how many of these children die on the way, and we won't because it hurts the narrative. We don't know how many of these children will be kidnapped and enslaved or forced into prostitution, again, it's not part of the narrative.

If this was all as simple as pulling a kid out of a hot car, I'd agree with you.

If we had folks, especially folks advocating for unrestricted access to the US, stepping up and offering to care for these kids, I'd be more willing to agree with you.

As far as breaking "minor" laws, I'm not sure that I'd brush off the right of sovereign nations to enact laws to control their borders "minor". But your welcome to your opinion.

Again, there is an existing legal process in place to deal with these children. As long as it's followed, I can live with whatever the outcome is.

Dan Trabue said...

So, you're not going to answer questions, you're just going to gripe? Feel free to take that to your own blog. I am open to give and take dialog, but continued ignoring of reasonable questions is just ranting, not dialog.

I have no time or room for that.

A few final comments to you:

1. If anyone was in a similar situation, they would appreciate a welcome and safe haven. The Golden Rule applies here, if you are a believer in the Golden Rule.

2. The situations for this latest concern about young refugees are different from case to case. Are some sent by parents? Perhaps, but I have seen no data to suggest this is a majority. Some of these are children with no parents in their home country deciding to try to find a safe haven. Perhaps some of them have some family there, but their parents are here. Perhaps some are already coopted into gangs they want no part of. The situations differ from case to case. Regardless, providing a safe haven to those in trouble is a reasonable and moral thing to do, even if we have to re-write laws to make doing so "legal."

3. Everyone is well aware of the risks of crossing the border. You should ask yourself: What is their situation like THERE if they are willing to risk abuse, rape, kidnapping and murder to escape it? Use your head, people as a rule won't risk their lives for a simple joy ride or to simply get to America to be "on welfare" here or gangstas or whatever it is you are imagining their reasons are. People, by and large, only risk their lives when their lives are already at risk and the crossing seems the lesser of two evils.

4. You keep bringing up my small church and what we are doing. We already work with the homeless, with the mentally ill, for peace and justice causes to help make Latin America a safer place to live to begin with and yes, with refugees. I encourage other churches to do the same. I am open to a wide range of ways of helping refugees whose lives are threatened. What I am not open to is ignoring the problem or simply sending them back.

If you want to answer questions and dialog, by all means, answer the questions I've asked. Otherwise, take your rants elsewhere.

Thank you.

Craig said...

Rant, really?

"Do you agree with this in the case of breaking into cars?"

"If so, can you see why the same should apply for crossing an invisible border?"

Both answered already.

"Craig, if you had beloved children living in a location where there was not a man prepared to shoot them right then and there, but there WAS a 50% chance they would not live to adulthood, would you advocate sending your own beloved children somewhere safer, or would you say, "We need to keep them here and hope for the best..."?"

Personally, I'm not really sure that this is a question. But, since I'm making a serious effort to answer ever direct question you ask so can't accuse me of dodging questions, I'll treat it as one. I'll also note that you make several claims of fact without providing evidence.



Personally, I would do everything in my power, within the law, to raise my children safely in our homeland. I fail to see how sending children away and allowing the "bad guys" to take over is a healthy solution for anyone.

"What would you do?"

Is there a reason you asked this question twice? Do I need to answer twice or is the first answer enough?

"If you'd do as I would do, can you blame families for doing the same?"

I wouldn't do what you'd do, and I don't think assigning blame is the issue. I would say that, as a general rule, if people knowingly choose to violate laws then they should be prepared to accept the consequences. That's how I try to live my life.

"And in the case where there is no family, would you blame children for making that choice for themselves?"

Without any evidence of these children making reasonable rational decisions based on accurate information, I really have no grounds to speculate on this hypothetical. But again, as a general rule, there is a reason most societies limit the decisions that children can make due to the fact that children often don't make wise decisions. So again, without specifics, I just don't know how to answer.

"Would you?"

You know, probably I would. If I felt that was important enough to stand and fight for my community, then I'd want my kids to be a part of transforming the community. It seems like we as parents should set good examples for our kids, and it seems to me that watching your parents work for a better life and community is a good thing for kids to see. However, i wouldn't suggest that my personal choice should be a rule for anyone else. That's just how I see it, some things are worth taking a risk for.


"And you say that there'd be no incentive to return if we accepted these refugees?"

I'd happily answer this if it made sense,could you please try again? Thanks.

"I'd tend to disagree. The immigrants whom I have met here in the US - just about to a person - would MUCH rather be back home. They left to stay alive. Literally. But they don't want to be here, they want to be back at home."

This seems to be another case where you have taken your very limited personal experience and extrapolated it into an opinion of entire groups of people. You may be right, but you'd need to provide some sort of actual evidence beyond "the people I know say...". They may well say that, they may well be telling the truth, but absent something more than second hand anecdotes, I can't really take it as any more than limited personal experience.

To be fair, most of the immigrant families I work with have no desire to go back (of not for more than a visit), and are working their asses off to establish themselves here. I'm talking about people who fled their home country with a bounty from Al Quieda on their head, or fled the genocide in the Congo. Not that my experiences are more representative than yours, but it seems silly to try to generalize based on limited personal experience. Don't you agree?

Craig said...

contd.

"If you had left your home in the US out of fear for your life and moved to a nation whose language you didn't speak and whose cultures were not yours, wouldn't you want to go home?"

I don't have a simple answer for that. On the one hand I personally would probably take a page from those who fled Cuba and work in exile to change things. On the other I could see (as many of the immigrants I work with have expressed) being so grateful to this country that took me in and gave me opportunity, that I would throw myself 100% into being the best citizen of the new country that I could. Unfortunately, we also see the folks that come to the US and "shop" for the states with the best welfare benefits (It's one reason why we have such a large immigrant population), and are satisfied to take advantage of others generosity.

There, I've answered all of your questions directed at me.

Unfortunately, there's been no griping from me. Just a slight difference of opinion on how to handle the situation, as well as some agreement with you. If you'd like to characterize that as griping, OK.

I will also admit that the more I've read, and am continuing to read, about the ways that charity can cause serious damage to the recipients I've been forced to re think both the involvements I have as well as how I view things like this. So, I'm trying to evaluate this situation with an eye on a number of factors that I probably wouldn't have before.

Again, no rant, no griping just disagreement.

To your numbered points.

1. Since I've said that these children should be given a safe haven, and full and equal access to the US legal system, I'm not sure how that violates the Golden Rule. Perhaps, you've misunderstood. If I can clarify something specific, I'll be happy to.

2. Again, nothing I've said excludes this. It is interesting that you've changed your position from "break laws" to "re-write laws". Again, I have no problem with these people having full unfettered access to our immigration process, which currently allows legitimate refugees legal access to the US. I have no problem if our legislators want to pass new laws to accommodate this situation. I also agree that all of this should be handled on a case by case basis, which is what I've been saying all along. Run them through the immigration system and make individual assessments based on actual situations. I know that may seem radical, but we do live in a nation of laws.

3. Until, you can provide some sort of support for your "everyone is aware of the risks..." statement, I'm not sure what I can do with this point. I find it hard to accept that people (coyotes) who make a living smuggling people across borders (breaking the law) and have a financial incentive to move as many bodies as possible, are completely up font and honest about the risks and dangers of crossing the border.

But, even if your statement is true, it still comes back to letting the immigration system sort this out on a case by case basis under existing (or new) law. You seem to be assuming that if I don't agree with you 100% then I must be advocating just throwing people back across the border with no food, clothes, or money. But, clearly, I am not advocating that in the least. But, you act like I am. why is that?

4. Great, I'm glad. It just seems like if you are going to advocate for opening "our doors", then you should be willing to open your door. Maybe you are, when the refugees move in, you can post pictures.

Fortunately, no one else in this conversation is advocating for ignoring the problem, or for sending them back without following immigration law.

Maybe someone else is advocating ignoring the problem and sending them back wholesale, but it's not me.

Questions answered, no rants.

Feel free to answer my questions if you want. Or ban me, either way.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig asked some questions, many of which had obvious answers...

"Is adding thousands of children to an already overburdened family services system really a great solution for the children?"

Answer, "NO." Of course not. Do you really think I'd advocate creating a policy and then endorse not funding that policy? While many modern GOP types might love the unfunded mandate, not so much for me.

But at least one question he raised was a very good and important question with no obvious, easy answer.

"How much damage is being done to these countries if we let their future come to the US?"

Of course, the short, direct answer is, We don't know.

Our policies - immigration, NAFTA, Drug War, etc - ALL of these impact not only us, but our neighbors to the south in ways that can be hard to predict.

Consider this data...

* Thanks to NAFTA, Mexico lost 1.3 million farm jobs.

If Mexican farmers are out of jobs and increasingly desperate, does that impact immigration trends? Probably so.

* NAFTA expanded the maquiladora program, in which U.S.-owned companies employed Mexican workers near the border to cheaply assemble products for export to the U.S. This grew to 30% of Mexico's labor force. These workers have "no labor rights or health protections, workdays stretch out 12 hours or more, and if you are a woman, you could be forced to take a pregnancy test when applying for a job,"

source for the two bits of data

But it is a good question to consider and try to answer.

I am going to try to find some source that pulls together data about how our policies interact and affect the US, Latin America and the world and how much it costs.

I don't expect that's an easy or simple dollar figure answer, but it is a good question.

Craig said...

You're right, it is a good question.

Unfortunately, it's not the question that I asked.

Maybe, you could answer that question.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig, if you are intentionally being a tool, I'll ask you to leave.

You asked, and I quote...

How much damage is being done to these countries if we let their future come to the US?

I responded that the answer to that question is, and I quote, "We don't know.

THAT question has been answered. Do you disagree with my answer? Then provide some data to support your response. If you agree, then POOF, the question YOU ASKED has been answered.

How about it, Craig, you asked me the question. I'm asking you the same question.

How much damage is being done to these countries if we let their future come to the US?

Enlighten me. Or are you not willing to even answer the very questions you put to others?

Craig said...

No, just pointed out that your question, while it is good, is not the question I asked.

Sorry, I guess I'm not sure "We don't know" adds anything to the discussion.

If, as you assert this current policy is good, then it seems as if assessing the damage caused by this policy might be worth discussing.

Dan Trabue said...

Okay, Craig, seriously, last time and I'm writing you off as a jerk to be ignored.

Where you said...

Sorry, I guess I'm not sure "We don't know" adds anything to the discussion.

That is the FACTUAL answer to the question. Is it not?

If it's not, then provide some meaningful data.

You can answer that or be written off as a common troll, at least for this thread, maybe forever.

At one time, I thought you were more of a serious visitor/commenter. Your behavior is getting worse and I'm having to re-evaluate that.

~Dan

Craig said...

Sorry, my hurried response was misconstrued.

My point is that if one is advocating such a major shift in immigration policy, with such significant potential negative consequences, I would think that it would be wise to put some thought into all of the potential ramifications.

But that's just me, influenced by some stuff I've been reading over the last few years.

Craig said...

While I'm not sure that this question is not rhetorical, I'm not taking any chances as this is the only question I see.

"That is the FACTUAL answer to the question. Is it not?"

I don't know if it is the factual answer to the question, I realize it could be a factual answer to the question, but I just don't know for sure, so I'll have to assume it is.