“As of February 28, 2021, there are approximately 7,700 UC [unaccompanied children] in HHS [Health and Human Services] care. At the end of January 2021, the average length of UC care was 42 days.” — Unaccompanied Children Program, Fact Sheet, March 1, 2021
From the mouths of babes. No, I am not quoting scripture, though that reference comes from Matthew 21:16. Instead, those words about the border crisis for unaccompanied children come to us from the federal government. It’s listed on their latest fact sheet. It’s hard to see any way to count the new administration’s border policy as a success when 7,700 kids are locked in facilities for an average of six weeks. I seem to remember something about howling over how Trump kept kids in cages. Maybe, I just imagine things. Surely, our legacy media wouldn’t say such a thing to pander for votes before an election, only to be silent after their preferred candidate ‘won.’
Writing this article is personal for me, though probably not for the reasons you would expect. A reader—yay, I have a steady reader—reached out to me and asked me to look into the five “W’s” (who, what, when, where, why) of the unaccompanied minor story at our southern border. I love to hear from readers. I especially love when they ask me to research stories that are personal to them. Yet, this story is unique to me for another reason.
I was not an unaccompanied minor crossing any border. I want to be clear about that. I was an unwanted minor. I lived in foster care for about eighteen months after being taken away from my biological mother. I don’t lament the fact. I was blessed beyond my wildest dreams. I was adopted by a wonderful family a month after my third birthday (I still remember meeting them the first time), and the rest is history. Still, I can’t think about—or write about—children in compromised positions without at least juxtaposing my own experiences as a measuring stick.
So, we are left with the unaccompanied. I can’t help but think this title is nothing more than a polite euphemism for what most Americans actually think—if they think about them at all—about the children used as pawns in a deadly game: the untouchables. The good news is that some organizations are trying to house and care for the kids. It’s not much. Perhaps, it will shame others into action.
NBC News reported that at least some portion of the unaccompanied children were sent across by their families. Reflecting on that deadly game being played, the report suggests that parents south of our border are gambling on the notion that America won’t reject children, thereby paving the way for some foothold in our country. I get wanting to chase the American Dream by any means necessary. I also find it incredibly cavalier to use a child to run the gauntlet. I wouldn’t let my daughter be a guinea pig for any such experiment. At least, it answers the question of ‘Who’—or, partially answers it, anyway.
Buried within the same concept is the likeliest answer to ‘Why.’ If you’re willing to send your child alone to journey to another country in the hope that it may lead to your family someday joining them, you’re operating under the assumption that things are terrible where you’re at. I recognize aspiring Americans live in conditions many of us just can’t fathom. I suspect that might make a mother or father consider some awfully crazy ideas to provide a better life for their children. While I can’t imagine doing it myself, it does offer some context for my simple mind to empathize with desperate folks in desperate situations.
On a more sobering level, Reuters reported how the business of smuggling children across the border has boomed since President Biden took office. One emboldened smuggler allowed himself to be quoted by the news agency, offering, “it’s good to take advantage of the moment, because children are able to pass quickly,” said Daniel, a Guatemalan smuggler. “That’s what we’re telling everyone.” If that doesn’t jump up and smack you in the face, I’m not sure what will. It gives us answers to the ‘What,’ ‘When,’ and ‘Where’ in a straightforward statement.
Coyotes, then. The infamous group of guides that run from questionable to downright seedy and dangerous is doing the ‘What.’ They smuggle kids across the border for money. There’s always money in the illicit; more money even than in the transparent. As a result, not only has our border policy shifted towards a laissez-faire attitude on the illegal crossing, we are apparently comfortable with nefarious groups profiting off the trade.
The ‘When’ is clearly now. Who knows how long the current border policy will remain in place. Speculation grows as Americans from both major Parties continue to express concerns about the crisis. The unaccompanied—or untouchables—are political fodder in a game of chicken between the feckless administration and citizens of foreign nations who feel now is the best time to take advantage of the tumultuous infighting taking place in Washington D.C.
Finally, we have the ‘Where.’ It seems to be anywhere that Coyotes can smuggle kids across the border. In some cases, brazen smugglers are using commercial flights to transport minors directly to Houston or Phoenix. Please don’t take my word for it. That gem comes to us from the same Reuters report mentioned above.
We have enough of the story to know we are being played. Months of loud talk on the campaign trail about open borders was always going to turn into mass migration. The borders are clogged with what can only be described as detention camps. No matter how Jen Psaki tries to spin the narrative that Biden and Harris inherited the crisis from Trump, this mess belongs to the current President.
As false bravado on the campaign trail often does, the baited sound bytes are feed for anyone who took them seriously. The evidence suggests that many foreign nationals took Biden at his word. Parents went so far as to gamble their most prized possessions—their children—to see their dreams become a reality. The unaccompanied are the victims in the charade. They are ping-ponged between their families and the American government like a hot potato nobody wants to hold. Who, exactly, will be left without a seat when the game of musical chairs comes to a screeching halt remains to be seen.
As always, this has been the World According to Chris. please hit the like button or leave a reply.