When you hear about the “unaccompanied minors” showing up illegally in the United States, your mind likely drifts to sad images. You think of 12-year-olds, having made an arduous journey across inhospitable terrain in order to escape violence in their homeland.
The reality, as it always is, is somewhat different.
Take, for instance, what’s happening in New York City. The New York Times reports that 350 unaccompanied minors are being housed in the city, something that NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio wasn’t aware of. (Bill de Blasio isn’t aware of a lot, it seems.)
“Speaking outside Cayuga Centers in Harlem, one of a group of social service agencies in the state that contract with the federal government to take in unaccompanied minors, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday afternoon said 350 children had come through the center and that 239 of them were currently in Cayuga’s care; the agency is not residential, but places children in temporary foster care and runs day programs,” The Times reported.
“The children included a 9-year-old boy from Honduras who had come alone on a bus from Texas, and a child as young as 9 months old, Mr. de Blasio said, as he issued a scathing rebuke of the Trump administration.
“How is it possible that none of us knew that there were 239 kids right here in our own city?” de Blasio asked. “How is the federal government holding back that information from the people of this city and holding back the help these kids could need?”
Affecting stuff, and a “scathing rebuke of the Trump administration.” One thing that received less comment in The Times’ story, however, was video of some of these “unaccompanied minors” arriving at LaGuardia Airport in Queens.
Take a look:
A group of seven boys, who appeared to be unaccompanied migrant children, arrived at New York’s La Guardia Airport from Texas on Wednesday night. Read more: https://t.co/6M83JFEP26. pic.twitter.com/tBASq8j0c3
— New York Times Video (@nytvideo) June 21, 2018
Now, these individuals may indeed be underage. They may indeed be in need of some assistance. However, this rather shatters the narrative of the helpless unaccompanied minors showing up at our border with or without parents and being ripped from their guardians into state custody.
In other words, these are not 9-year-old Honduran boys. That is not who the government is marching through the arrivals terminal at LaGuardia. While that may make for excellent copy, that seems to be an outlier as opposed to the norm, at least when it comes to New York
Whether or not that’s an outlier in a wider sense, that’s all that the media seems to be able to focus on.
Meanwhile, the real problems — immigration fraud, human trafficking, dubious asylum cases and a maze of immigration statutes and court rulings that are mostly based around the assumption that the underlying laws wouldn’t be enforced — won’t be covered.
If anyone talks about those inconvenient facts in any sort of public forum, meanwhile, it will only be proof that they’re an evil, heartless individual who wants immigrant children in cages.
Either way, it’s pathetic and irresponsible to argue that “children” this age being detained and/or separated is the same thing as detaining 2-year-olds, to say nothing of the parents (or “parents”) who brought them here. It’s time that Americans started calling the media out on this utter ridiculousness.
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