As people of faith and members of the United Church of Santa Fe Immigration Task Force, we are concerned that our political leaders are asking the wrong questions about immigration. They are asking: “What should we do with all the people coming over our border?” While this is one question that needs to be answered, it is shortsighted to stop the discussion here. Many politicians need to change the lens through which they view immigration.
The real questions we need to ask are: “Why are people fleeing their homes in Central America in such large numbers? Why are they risking a dangerous journey to come to the United States?” Then we could ask the related question, which is: “What can we do to help them not need to leave their homes in the first place?”
Here are some possible answers to the first question. A little more research on the part of our government could clarify what is happening in Central America and how it could be resolved.
We know that criminal gangs control large regions in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, and that when people flee, they are fleeing because they are afraid they or their family members will be killed if they don’t. This seems like a perfectly legitimate reason to flee one’s home and also one that the government of the United States might be able to do something about with targeted foreign aid and law enforcement training.
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