Central American girls need asylum in the United States

Last month alone more than 6,000 immigrants were apprehended in South Texas, according to the New York Times. Most of them were women and children brought to the border by human traffickers (a.k.a. coyotes) – who receive thousands of dollars per person.

Why the sudden increase?

Many of the unaccompanied children who are coming across now are teenage girls who are fleeing gang violence in El Salvador, which has the highest murder rate of women in the world.

NPR News reports that girls disappear or are gunned down in the street daily. This isn’t necessarily due to drive-bys. They aren’t all random. Girls are singled out and shot because they don’t respond to ultimatums from bullies, or they refuse to give sexual favors, or they aren’t able to come up with money that a gang member demands.

Sometimes, the girls are found dead in the street. Sometimes, they just disappear. Some hide in their homes, justifiably afraid to leave their bedrooms.

Those who do make the trek and successfully cross the border into the United States can apply for asylum because they meet the USCIS definition of refugees, which you can read here.

Unfortunately, many of the girls never make it to the border because they’re apprehended by Mexican immigration officials and sent back.

The USCIS does allow people in the United States to sponsor refugees under certain circumstances, and some unaccompanied immigrant minors are making the trip here under this sponsorship. After reading the rules, which seem pretty strict, I thought it seemed like a great way for any of these girls to get away.

Until I read this story reported by the Los Angeles Times. According to the article, not all sponsors are screened well enough, so thousands of the girls who escape the dangers of their own country are allegedly ending up with people who have been convicted of violent crimes, including child molestation.

It seems as if the hole gets deeper and the solution gets further away with every new story I read. It’s heartbreaking, and reading the comments below the stories only makes it worse. Because “What about the strain on our resources?” follows every single suggestion that we should help.

Why do we have to choose between helping our own and helping others? As I’ve said before, I believe the government would be able to afford to help our own and others in need if they’d quit bailing out corporations and financial institutions.

However, my education is far from complete. If you have some enlightenment for me, please share.

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