Children at the border: A personal, not a political crisis

The tens of thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America attempting to cross the border is more a crisis of lack of humanity, than a…
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Children at the border: A personal, not a political crisis

A young migrant girl waits for a freight train to depart on her way to the U.S. border, in Ixtepec, Mexico, Saturday, July 12, 2014. The number of unaccompanied minors detained on the U.S. border has more than tripled since 2011. Children are also widely believed to be crossing with their parents in rising numbers. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

The tens of thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America attempting to cross the border is more a crisis of lack of humanity, than a clear and present danger to the security of the United States.

SEE ALSO: Advocates say Obama should visit migrant children at the border

President Barack Obama has asked Congress to approve nearly $4 billion to assist government agencies ill-equipped to manage the overwhelming number of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports that more than 26,000 children crossed in 2013. In recent weeks, the number of children making that plight has surged.

The images of these children, some barely old enough to be in grade school living in overcrowded shelters inspires heartache and rage.

Instead of acting to alleviate the deficient temporary shelters on military bases, community centers and other local facilities; lawmakers are using the emergency for insensitive political posturing.

The President has yet to see the situation first hand. His party appears to be in a state of dissent with some Democrats reluctant to support the President’s request to speed up deportations and many not wanting to send children back to the perilous situations they escaped.

Republicans are taking aim at Obama for what they describe as a direct result of lax immigration policies. And while the President’s proposal includes hiking up border security; Republicans don’t want to appear supportive of him.

It appears both political parties are more focused on this year’s midterm elections than they are about the well-being of children; some I would guess the age of their own children and grandchildren.

This importunate situation will be part of the discussion at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) national convention in San Antonio, Texas next month.

The programming will include a screening of “Documented”; a film by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas. “Documented” chronicles the undocumented journalist’s work as an immigration reform activist.

Jose is at the Texas border trying to shed more light to what is happening in the shelters where children who fled their violence-ridden homes are being held.

He’s reached out to NAHJ to see if any media outlets would be interested in airing a two-minute clip he shot. I’m working with local NAHJ chapter leaders to see what can be done.

I ask that all media organizations speak with their newsroom leaders and see if they would be interested in Jose’s work.

Please reach out to me at hugo4nahj@gmail.com if there’s any interest.

Where many in Jose’s situation would choose to cover such a story at a safe distance; he is risking not being able to return to the U.S. in order to shed light to the crisis at the border.

NAHJ has been asked to help and we will answer that call with every means at our disposal.

SEE ALSO: Campaign discourages children from crossing the border, will it work?

Hugo Balta is the president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists