Ongoing conversations and opinions about the thousands of unaccompanied children who have crossed the southern border of the United States focus on one question – What is the solution to this “problem”?
Many people have questions about when the problem started and what is the root of the problem. Many people also ask, “What can I do to help?” This same question is asked by warm-hearted people from all walks of life, including executives in large corporations. My answer to this multifaceted question is in a nutshell: The only real solution to our immigration system is Comprehensive Immigration Reform. We must not allow our efforts or any other problem to derail our focus on the true solution. Everything else is equivalent to a hand, an effort to suppress, an effort to heal – a band-aid.
Many children and families have left their home countries due to the harsh reality of gang violence or domestic violence. Others are immediate relatives of holders of Temporary Protected Status, lawful permanent residents, and US citizens.
Our current immigration system makes it impossible for most to immigrate legally. There is no “line” for them to legally immigrate to the US from their home countries. There is no “line” for them to be legal in the US once they are here. And there is no “line” for the 11 million or more undocumented immigrants already in the US Your legal option, if any, is limited to … Band-Aids.
The brave children who have made this journey to the southern border are making a huge impact on our immigration dialogue – in the US and around the world – without even knowing it.
Social networks have become a container for different messages for and against children. Some ways to help these children immediately are, for example, volunteering in detention centers.
As attorneys and non-attorneys alike, you can donate to organizations that spearhead immediate humanitarian and legal relief for children. Also pronounce in favor of the non-return of children to their persecutors in their countries of origin. Although these are all band-aids.
The only real solution is to focus on reform – a comprehensive reform of our immigration system – that’s not a band-aid.