Posted on July 25, 2014 at 11:28 PM
Saturday, Jul 26 at 4:35 PM
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11)– Hundreds of the unaccompanied immigrant children who have crossed the border illegally are being sheltered in the state of Kentucky right now, according to new federal information released Friday.
The border and Washington are in crisis mode. Illegal immigrants flooding into the country; crime and violence driving them from home. But, the U.S. border is overwhelmed. More than 30,000 children just this year have been captured and turned over to sponsors, often relatives in the U.S..
Working with the Presbyterian Mission Agency out of Louisville, Paul Seebeck went to El Paso, Texas this week to work with volunteers helping immigrant women and children. He described horrific conditions mothers suffered to give their children hope for a better future. One mother, he said, baffled them when she refused the food they offered her child.
“The volunteers say, ‘Why? Why no food?’ and then they came to discover sores in the child’s mouth because of no food and water for days coming up on the train,” Seebeck explained.
Families are often convinced by traffickers that for the right price, they can send their children to the border and the legal issues will be worked out later. Most of these children are coming from areas teeming with drugs and violence in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. But, what should the U.S. do with these refugees when they land on our doorstep?
“I think these kids should be treated humanely, fed, clothed, and sent back to their country of origin. And I’m a welcoming person. I want people to come to our country, but they have to come legally,” said U.S. Senator Rand Paul.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear explained the government will be in charge of the children.
“We just want to make sure that they are going to be fed and clothed and taken good care of until they can be returned back home,” he said.
Where the 237 unaccompanied children have landed in Kentucky is unclear. Texas, New York, and Florida have taken in thousands of children. Seebeck said after seeing those children and mothers, he feels we as a country are obligated to help them.
“The women and children coming here, they’re not coming here for any other reason than that they are doing it for their children. They’re trying to save their children,” he said.
Seeback explained that many of the volunteers no longer see it as a political crisis, but a moral one.
Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernandez said the demand for drugs in the U.S. is partly to blame for the problem. He said it’s created crime and violence in his country that drives people to escape.