Thoughts on Current Immigration Crisis
This post was first published in July of 2014. Back then the immigration crisis involved unaccompanied children coming to our country, now we have whole families. The words remain relevant.
Immigration Crisis of 2014
From blog post of 2014 – With all of the news recently about the situation of thousands of children coming to our borders from Central America, I feel the need to share first hand information from a missionary in Honduras on why the children are leaving. I’ve been in contact with Suzy McCall founder of The Lamb Institute in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, as part of my research for my book, Land of Deep Waters. Lamb Institute provides multiple services for people in one of the most violent and poverty-stricken areas of Tegucigalpa. Their services include a school, a home for abused and neglected children, a micro-finance program, a Safe House for teenage girls rescued from traffickers, and the Alonzo Movement designed to help children stay out of gangs.
Significant Factor Contributing to Immigration Crisis – Gangs!
Gangs are a huge problem in Honduras contributing to the immigration crisis. As Suzy wrote in an email (from 2014):
“If you look at the NYTimes article on my FB page, you will see what children are facing each day in the large, marginal neighborhoods (slums). Either you (1) join a gang, (2) refuse to join a gang and face execution, or (3) flee. Imagine how parents feel! Young girls in particular also face constant danger from traffickers. I’m sending my 19-yr-old stateside again soon, partly because of educational reasons, but also because I do not want her to get picked up by traffickers or gang members. Yesterday gang members threw grenades into a chicken restaurant burning alive the waitress who worked there. They do this when the business owner cannot or does not pay the “war tax,” which is an amount levied by the gangs themselves. In the States, it’s sometimes called “protection money.” If you do not pay, they sentence you to death. Of course this woman had nothing to do with it; she was just an employee. But the gangs have no respect for human life.
Anyway, the huge influx of child refugees is an effort on the part of their families to save their lives. It is estimated that 70% are sexually abused before they even reach the States. It is truly a “Hail Mary” journey. I find it all so heartbreaking.”
Since 2014, Suzy has turned over the leadership of the Lamb Institute to local Hondurans. She remains as spiritual director for the organization, living in Tegucigalpa with her seven adopted children.
Ways to Help
The root of the immigration crisis remains in these countries where gangs, drugs, violence and political corruption run rampant. On the one hand, we Americans have already contributed substantial amounts of money through our churches and our government. On the other hand, we have also contributed to the problem through CIA intervention to support American corporate interests over the years.
Unfortunately, far too often, aid money is taken by corrupt officials and just trickles down to those most in need. That’s why I support grass root efforts for change in these countries. The Lamb Institute is just one of many such organizations. I also support Unbound and their work to better the lives of children and seniors in third world countries. Formerly CFCA, you can sponsor a child or senior or contribute to other programs to support education and job creation.
My Small Effort
One dollar out of every print sale of my book, Land of Deep Waters, will be donated to The Lamb Institute to support their ministries in this troubled country. It is just a small effort to tackle a huge problem, but many small efforts can reap huge benefits. For more information on The Lamb Institute go to their website.