Does the fact that we are the largest consumer of drugs and provider of arms play a role in the unaccompanied minors crisis on our borders?
It is a natural tendency to blame others for our troubles, both as individuals and as a nation. However, occasionally, we will take our self-serving blinders off and look in the mirror to discover the real culprit. I am reminded of Walt Kelly’s play on words regarding Commodore Perry’s famous quote in his Pogo column, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Last week, President Juan Orlando Hernandez of Honduras joined the presidents of Guatemala and El Salvador in Washington, D.C., at the invitation of President Barack Obama. The reported intention of the meeting was to ask the Central American presidents to do more to stop the flow of unaccompanied children from their countries into the United States. Apparently, the assumption is that our Central American neighbors were encouraging, or at least not discouraging, the thousands of children seeking refuge in our country.
President Hernandez, in an interview with the Washington Post, reminded North Americans that to a large extent we share responsibility for the situation. President Hernandez said, “Your country has enormous responsibility for this. The problem of narcotics-trafficking generates violence, reduces opportunities, and generates migration because this [the United States] is where there is the largest consumption of drugs.”
He suggested later that American officials believe that drugs are “a health problem.”
“For us, it is a matter of life and death, and that’s not fair,” President Hernandez said. “What’s fair is that we work together dealing with our own responsibilities.”
We must take ownership of our share of responsibility for the influx of refugees. The violence from which the children are fleeing is to a large extent of our making because the market for illegal drugs is greatest in the United States. The guns that are sold to gangs and drug traffickers and that are at the root of the violence in Mexico and Central America come from our country.
The blame game is a dishonest attempt to avoid sharing responsibility for the problem and for our failure to adequately address the root causes.
Finally, we must stop demonizing the victims, who are seeking refuge in the United States. This is a moral problem not just a political one. We must remember the words of the Holy Father that “This humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcomed and protected.” They are children who need to be treated with mercy and compassion, not merely a problem to be disposed of.
It is the love of Christ that motivates us.
Image Credit: CNS