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Readers React: Don’t send migrant children back; take them in

Sixteen Guatemalans who spent three weeks traveling across Mexico are taken to Border Patrol officials after crossing into the U.S. near McAllen, Texas.
Sixteen Guatemalans who spent three weeks traveling across Mexico are taken to Border Patrol officials after crossing into the U.S. near McAllen, Texas.
( Los Angeles Times)

Unaccompanied minors are leaving their homes in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to escape life-threatening violence, poverty and growing unrest. Their families believe that the risks of crossing the border and finding safety in the United States outweigh the dangers they face in their homelands. (“The new crisis at the border: undocumented and unaccompanied minors,” Editorial, June 15)

This is a humanitarian crisis that should be met with compassion, adequate funding by the government for basic human needs and assistance with reuniting families. Children should not be punished, held in detention and treated as prisoners.

This should not be debated as a political issue; it should be seen as an obligation to offer refuge and support to young immigrants who have left families behind in search of relatives and security in a country that could offer hope for their future.

Lenore Navarro Dowling

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Los Angeles

The Times criticizes House Republicans for intransigence on immigration in spite of their insistence that the Obama administration first seal the borders before pushing “comprehensive” reform.

It is obvious that President Obama has no credibility on this issue.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which gave a path to citizenship to most existing immigrants, was supposed to solve the problem for the few million in the country at the time. But 28 years later, we have at least 11 million here.

What is happening now shows that without sealed borders, we are getting a repeat of the same problem.

Gary A. Robb

Los Angeles

It’s a shame that in response to this unprecedented wave of children coming to the United States, we aren’t talking about the horrid conditions that compel the parents of these children to give them up and send them north.

This is not unlike the Kindertransport that brought Jewish children out of Germany in the months before World War II.

That children as young as 5 years old are leaving their homes is absolutely heartbreaking. We must do everything we can to help these children, not just heartlessly pack them up and send them back to where they came from.

We also must change our focus from the sectarian conflicts in the Middle East to fighting poverty in our own neighborhood. This human wave will not stop until problems in Latin America are solved.

Latin America needs to fix itself so some of its people won’t be dying to escape.

George E. Turski

Venice


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