The sight of unaccompanied children waiting just inside the border for the border patrol is, to say the least, surreal.
We view this wave of migrants, at best, as a humanitarian crisis– and at worst, as an invasion of disease carrying third-world latinos. (I spoke to the latter interpretation in an earlier post.)
Perhaps what haunts me more than the desperate hopefulness in the eyes of those seeking refuge from poverty and violence, are the eyes we will never see.
For every would-be immigrant arriving on the border are other children who die somewhere in the desert. Years ago, I wrote of one such young teen who died in an Arizona desert but it appears that her tragic story has been repeated often.
The Guardian once posted an article about a fifteen year old Guatemalan who convinced his parents to pay a coyote to take him to a brother who had successfully entered the US. His motivation? To work and send money back to his bedridden mom for medical treatment.
According to the article, they had paid $ 2,000 of the $5,400 of the to get their son to the United States. Rather than seeking a border guard, the teen and his smuggler crossed into Texas after he had called his father with instructions to pay the next installment. Then there was no additional communication.
One week later his parents were notified that his body had been found in Texas, the apparent victim of a heat stroke.
“The coyote told me that he was going to take him to a safe place and I believed him,” his mom said. “But that was the fate of my son.”
I mean it quite literally when I say that God only knows how many others there are whose eyes we will never see.