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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Child Migrants: The View From Guatemala

Guatemalan migrant Gladys Chinoy, 14, right, waits with more than 500 other migrants, many traveling with small children, beside the stuck freight train on which they were traveling, outside Reforma de Pineda, Chiapas state, Mexico, June 20, 2014. Reached by phone in New York City, Gladys' mother said she was aware of the dangers but had finally decided they were worth it after five years apart. The mother said, "if she gets across, she can stay here, that's what you hear."(Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

Guatemalan migrant Gladys Chinoy, 14, right, waits with more than 500 other migrants, many traveling with small children, beside the stuck freight train on which they were traveling, outside Reforma de Pineda, Chiapas state, Mexico, June 20, 2014. (Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson yesterday toured the warehouse in Nogales, Arizona, where some of the 52,000 unaccompanied children who’ve illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in the past year are being held.

Republicans blame Obama administration policies for the recent wave of child immigrants. The White House blames gang violence in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

The picture from Guatemala is more nuanced. Mike McDonald, who writes for Reuters from Guatemala City, says the Guatemalan government is trying to inform people that U.S. policy towards new immigrants hasn’t changed, and immigrants fed up with gang extortion are being duped by coyotes who smuggle them across the border.

McDonald discusses the view from Guatamala with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson.

Guest

  • Mike McDonald, writes for Reuters from Guatemala City. He tweets @mdmcdonald.

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  • http://www.senorpescador.com/ Senor Pescador

    thanks , kinda incomplete and even though you are corrupt Reuters, bringing this to the forefront

  • Rick

    NPR has been ignoring the major news story concerning the Obama Administration putting out requests for bids for contractors to take care of the massive wave of young illegal immigrants on the southern border. The requests for bids were issued in JANUARY! This is all going as planned.

    The whole situation is ridiculous. It could all be stopped if Obama did his job and enforced the law. Close the border! Build a real fence! Send the National Guard! Deport all illegals!
    .. But instead, Obama allows this illegal invasion of our country because they will turn into loyal welfare recipients / Democratic voters.

    • S David H de Lorge

      Yes. Just like he uses the magical presidential power to turn off the Republican Congress.

  • M S

    Obama’s policies implanted the idea that children will not be deported.

    • S David H de Lorge

      No. Statements like that, repeatedly circulated on the web, have circulated among those children, leading them to the mistaken belief that it is true.

      • Rick

        Yeah, I’m sure the two year old kids of illiterate parents who live in a mud hut with no electricity spend a lot of time surfing the ‘net.

        • S David H de Lorge

          And I’m equally sure that a lot of those two year olds are independently hopping frieght trains and making the journey north.

          The story has been about kids old enough to be approaching adolescence. They get out and about, sometimes going to school, running the streets of nearby villages, towns and cities, and listening to and talking with lots of people. They are looking into shops with TVs playing. They are encountering multiple people with cell phones. They are hearing gossip about what is going on. They may get occasional, treasured phone calls or word from loved ones up north.

          If they’re lacking parents, or if they’re aware of parents gone to El Norte, or if, among the millions, they are the especially enterprising ones, they may decide to follow in the footsteps of other kids who have been reputed to have succeeded in going to El Norte (whether accurate or in the mind of a child is another issue). Trucks and trains rumble by; hopping on isn’t always a challenge. Judgment and planning usually aren’t mature.

          Those are the children under discussion here. Babes in arms of migrant parents are another story.

          Would you like to address your reply to me on this story in this story, or feel clever about some other wisecrack?

          • http://www.senorpescador.com/ Senor Pescador

            very well written I have been in Guatemala since 1981 working there some and will be again in Iztapa, https://plus.google.com/b/114900988324650815933/+FairtradefishOrgGodLovesYou/posts

            they are beautiful people and I was there during the civil war, horrible they come to USA for some hope, and to work and they do work, many less jobs there also due to China cheap labor and not as good I moved to El Salvador in 1994, I know first hand what is going on,

          • S David H de Lorge

            Thank you. And thank you for your work.

      • it_disqus

        Dream Act?

        • S David H de Lorge

          Accurate definition and application of that proposal?

          • it_disqus

            I will give you the version the uneducated in Guatemala hear. A chance for citizenship for children.

          • S David H de Lorge

            Pretty much. From who all do they hear it?

          • it_disqus

            You know what the qualification are, but ask anyone on the street here in the US, Dem or Rep, what they are and you will hear amnesty for illegal children 90% of the time. Now take that message to the slums of Guatemala. You can not deny the message sent.

          • S David H de Lorge

            I do? I can’t?

            In whose fantasy?

      • Cacimo

        It is not a mistaken belief. The children arrive here, are fed and given tickets to relatives homes. No one is sent back. If people were being returned to Guatemala word would get out. The Obama administration has no plan to deport these children.

        • S David H de Lorge

          What news source has been failing to tell you about tens of thousands of children warehoused in custody along the border while somebody tries to figure out how to responsibly and humanely ship them back, and to where?

          Where have you been? How do you acquire this misinformation? How much have you actually looked at for yourself?

  • Frog

    Lack of economic opportunity?….yet they have the $5000 to $10000 to pay a coyote to smuggle them over the border. At least the broadcast admitted we have a “porous border”. Of course, we all knew that. Fix the border problem.

    • S David H de Lorge

      Some people really do know how to save, and to mobilize resources from their extended networks. They have to pay back the latter.

      • Rick

        Good, then they can come up with a $5 for bring in our country illegally.

        • S David H de Lorge

          Perhaps. Usually the coyote and various thieves have gotten to it first. Among the thieves are some of the people who employ some of them here, or sell them secretive, unregulated services.

    • it_disqus

      I know some illegals who paid the $5k plus to get into the country. Their family pooled the money to get them here and now they send money back to support their family. We will never be able to fix the border as long as there is incentive. I met these individuals at the Mexican restaurant I frequent. The restaurant is fully staffed by illegals except for the owners kids who were born in the US. The farmer I worked for when I was a teen has a full crew of illegals. As long as there is a better life to be made no walls can be built high enough.

  • S David H de Lorge

    Where are the misunderstood messages, that the borders will be open to them, predominantly originating?

    If you don’t really dig into this, you haven’t covered the story.

    My hypothesis is that Fox News Spanish, and associates, metastasizing on the web, have been a major source of the misinformation absorbed by these kids, as the Foxxist hysterical voices keep proclaiming that Obama has thrown the borders open and invited them in.

    • it_disqus

      Have you heard of the “Dream Act”? I actually laughed out loud when you brought up a Fox News conspiracy. Wow. hahahaha.

      • S David H de Lorge

        B) I didn’t suggest conspiracy. I may have suggested unintended consequence of hysterical, badly informed stupidity.

        A) The dream act applies to young people who grew up here, speak English as their primary language, and barely remember their country of birrth, if at all. They have been here most of their lives, feel American, and wish for access to higher education or military service and gainful, productive employment without having to remain secretive and scared.

        The dream act does *not apply* to children and teens who have arrived at the border. One of the main sources leading them to wrongly believe that something like the dream act does apply to them is probably the huge traffic in untruthful internet screaming about Obama throwing open the borders. They overhear and believe the worst of this, or misinterpret the misinterpretations of more accurate news which they overhear.

        Now, was that so hard?

        • it_disqus

          Hahahaha. You are a joke.

          • S David H de Lorge

            Remarkable viewpoint. Does it suggest contact with reality?

          • it_disqus

            A lot more reality than your opinion and the one proposed by H&N that drug lords are forcing kids across to cover their workings. It is fine if you are for the Dream Act, but ignoring the effects is not.

          • S David H de Lorge

            If you say so.

          • http://www.senorpescador.com/ Senor Pescador

            well written and thoughtful and compassionate your writes, amazing the ignorant, uncompassionate, arrogant greedy, OBESE xenophobes on these posts sometimes huh? quite embarrassing to be from amerika to the rest of the world these days, but most all in ALL countries take us as we are personally, they most all know the reality in USA and the people these days,

          • S David H de Lorge

            Thank you again. You’ve described the type well; I do wonder if any reply longer than “says you” is worth it with these haters, but I hope sometimes other people will see the exchange and learn something.

            The embarrassing reality about the US in the eyes of much of the world is awful, and probably feeds rumors of worse things which aren’t true. Anyway, I can’t stand it, and I hope to show myself as a regular human being. Wish I could visit you where you are, but can’t.

          • http://www.senorpescador.com/ Senor Pescador

            thank you Sir,
            I am 60 and still surfing
            but hey come on down beautiful country less than $150 One way from Myrtle beach to Guate city on spirit

          • S David H de Lorge

            Thanks, but I’m unable to right now. (Besides, I’m prejudiced against Myrtle Beach and its surrounding state, and would have to leave from somewhere out west. But that’s another issue.) Anyway, I’m sorry to miss on your invitation. I’ll be hoping for better conditions next year.

          • SenorPescador

            got ya on the Myrtle Beach issue, most ignorant inbred,racist Jim Crow, corrupt place in the country, but I’m still able to get in the ocean every day,
            but polluted lots of golf courses
            don’t start me on that,
            chems no fish etc

          • S David H de Lorge

            I appreciate your taking a moment to pollute a golf course, even just a little bit.

          • http://www.senorpescador.com/ Senor Pescador

            naw they get their own Karma USA is f*****d IMO I get to get outta here the east coast will have a large event in August I am told, golfers are well ridiculous

          • S David H de Lorge

            Happy trails to you!

          • http://www.senorpescador.com/ Senor Pescador

            you the joke

    • Cacimo

      They do not need any news source. The see their friends and neighbors leaving by the thousands for the US and zero being sent back. They are simply responding to the reality on the street.

      • S David H de Lorge

        News sources contribute. So do rumors from friends and neighbors. Of course the latter have most influence, and when they are passing on misinformation it just makes it sound more true.

        Among the millions there, they see or hear about some kids leaving by the ones and twos. Sometimes they hear about those who have returned or been sent back, instead of just disappearing into the night. By the time the ones and twos get close to the border, they have accumulated into the dozens, and many more dreams and rumors are generated to travel back and out through the gossip net.

        When you try to think about these things, try to do some internal fact checking so you can hope to conclude within spittin distance of reality. Do the arithmetic.

  • Kate Richardson

    Must say the ‘coyote as smart business operator’ story, or kids going to be with dad story didn’t quite ring true. Nothing about social injustice in Honduras and Guatemala. Nothing about economic problems. How about interviewing someone with a different point of view? Try Professor Dana Frank professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

    • http://www.senorpescador.com/ Senor Pescador

      thanks, I will give him a call

  • Sid Rimmington

    If Obama wants to collect 3rd world peasants, and save them up to vote for him in the future, he should at least have the good manners to have them sterilized first, or we will be up to our neck with Tribbles, and there will be no welfare money left for the real Americans. Maybe they could all move into the White House?

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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