Editor’s Note: So word is spreading more and more that our boarders are wide open, yet our government is doing nothing about it. Who knows how many enemies of the USA have already flooded over the border line. This is appalling.
Claudia Sanchez crouched on a grassy slope alongside the railroad tracks, breast-feeding her 10-month-old daughter, Heather.
It had already been a long journey from Honduras to central Mexico, clinging with her baby to the top of a rickety train. They still had a thousand or so miles to go to reach the U.S. border.
Her 3-year-old boy, Jonah, ran up and down the empty rails with Ethan, also 3, who was traveling with his single dad, Kenny Rodriguez, from the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa. Ethan’s mom abandoned them long ago.
Amid cactus pads and pepper trees, they were waiting for the next arrival of La Bestia (The Beast), one of several so-named freight trains that thousands of mostly Central American migrants ride hobo-style northward, facing murder, rape, extortion and other dangers.
Asked why they would take such risks, the answers from Sanchez and others are nearly uniform: gang violence at home, poverty, no jobs.
But press a little more deeply and many acknowledge having been told — by friends, relatives, even aid workers and, of course, the coyotes, or smugglers — that it can be easier these days to cross into the United States and stay, especially if you are carting kids.
Some minors go it alone, although it seems that most have at least a protector — often the paid coyote, as dubious as such protection might be.
“I am going to turn myself in” at the U.S. border “and pray,” said Eralinda Aguilar, 30, a single mother seated on a rock, her 2-year-old daughter, Ixel, on her lap. Ixel played with a blue stuffed dog and looked sickly, dark circles under her eyes.
“I have faith in God,” Aguilar said.
God and the Americans, it seems.
“We’ve heard that it’s easier now, but it’s not 100% guaranteed,” said Juan Artiaga of the Honduran island of Roatan, two children at his side.
“The Americans treat us fine,” said another Honduran, Genaro Solis, making the trek with his 4-year-old daughter, Rachel, and his wife, Vanessa Flores. “The problem now is the Mexicans.”
The phenomenon of unaccompanied minors, children with a single parent or lone women making the perilous crossing through Mexico from Central America to the United States is at least two decades old. But suddenly it is garnering U.S. headlines, in part because the numbers have shot up and the issue has been politicized in Washington.
In recent days, the Obama administration has recognized it as an “urgent humanitarian issue,” while Republican opponents blame the president for attracting the crowds in the first place by loosening border-crossing restrictions.
On Friday, Vice President Joe Biden, visiting Central America, sought to discourage the word-of-mouth exodus, and the government announced a crackdown on detentions and deportations.
But for those already on the rails, there’s no turning back.
Amalia Diaz, 22, her 5-month-old daughter bundled in a pink hoodie and strapped to her waist (so her hands were free to grab onto the train), said she had an aunt in Houston who had offered her a place to live.