The Lost Children
Each year, an estimated 700,000 immigrants enter the United States illegally. Since 2000, nearly a million additional immigrants annually, on average, have arrived legally, or become legal residents. . . . In recent decades, the increase in divorce and family disintegration in Latin America has left many single mothers without the means to feed and raise their children." No one knows the exact number of mothers coming north without their children, but a University of Southern California study shows that 82 percent of nannies and one in four housecleaners are women with children left alone in their home countries. And now that these mothers have come north, their children are following. It is now common to find 15-year-old walkers caught in the border patrol nets. But this is a catch-and-release sport, and these fingerlings are tossed back into the bigger pond of Mexico to try their migration again.
Why is this allowed to happen? The undocumented worker can be hired for wages far lower than the American worker; moreover, their presence tends to depress the minimum wage. They lower production costs, they serve as union busters, they save money in terms of benefits, and they are a pliant and compliant workforce. The paradigm has shifted from under-the-table cash payments to formalized employment. Any border patrol agent can explain to you how money withheld from the undocumented worker's paycheck pours into state and federal coffers. For example, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, illegal workers donate $6.4 billion annually to Social Security. But these illegal workers will never collect benefits from that program. On the other side of the tattered fence, the Mexican government appreciates the stunning $17 billion in remittance money -- money sent home from that maid who cleaned your house, that fast-food cook who salted your fries -- that arrives each year.
Why does the problem continue? Follow the money. Everybody wins -- except the abandoned children. Who can blame them for trying to save themselves the only way they've been shown? The U.S. government's slipshod attempts to bolster security at the borders have made the passage more deadly. In the madness of the harsher border, drug lords and gangsters rule the day. Any border patrol agent will tell you that criminal elements are on the rise -- as are violence and the terrible toll of deaths due to heat, cold, misadventure and homicide. The death train is running all night, and it makes stops in Tegucigalpa, Mexico City, Juarez, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City.
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