Are kids being kept in cages and treated like criminals at the United States border with Mexico? If you listen to many celebrities and media people you would believe that is the case, but the truth is that that is fiction and propaganda.
Reporters were allowed into one detention facility in Brownsville, Texas last week named Casa Padre, a former Walmart that has been changed into a center to house migrant children who either came to the border on their own or have been separated from their parents, and what they found was shocking.
“We want to show you that these are not kids kept in cages,” Alexia Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the Texas nonprofit Southwest Key that runs the facility, told reporters, NPR reported. “We provide them excellent care.”
Some people have compared kids being separated from their parents at the border to Nazi prison camps, but that comparison is ridiculous when one looks at the facts of the situation. As NPR, and even MSNBC, reported, there are no cages and the kids are well cared for.
And “the great majority” of kids in the camp are there because they came to the border as unaccompanied minors.
“On Wednesday, reporters were allowed a rare glimpse inside Casa Padre, a 250,000-square-foot facility located on the outskirts of Brownsville across from a pizza joint and a McDonald’s. The boys confined there waved, smiled and said ‘hola’ to the group of visiting journalists,” NPR reported.
In what NPR called a “carefully scripted visit” it said that “the boys were shooting baskets, kicking soccer balls, playing video games, watching a movie, sitting in classrooms where they were taught about the U.S. government, learning tai chi and chowing down on a meal of chicken and mixed vegetables.”
The rules that President Donald Trump’s administration is following have been on the books for decades and have been enforced by many administrations. The rules state that children are separated from their parents if they are an adult who is pretending to be the kid’s parent, if the parent is a threat to the safety of the child or if the parent is going to be prosecuted.
It is that part of the rule, the parents being prosecuted, that has changed. The current administration’s policy to prosecute every adult who attempts to enter the United State illegally has many more parents being separated from their children, whereas other administrations would allow a parent with children to get a free pass.
One could say it was that previous policy that has encouraged parents to put their kids in danger of making a treacherous journey to the United States that has them in the position they are in now.
Others would say that enforcing this policy against every adult is cruel and an inhumane way to curb illegal immigration.
Cases could be made for both of those positions but using hyperbole to push a narrative helps no one. Comparing the United States to Nazi Germany or pretending that kids are being kept in cages, when they are being held in air-conditioned facilities with television, games and meals, is propaganda and not news.
Many claim that the migrants who are being separated have “done it the right way” and applied for asylum. But the fact is that there are better, and safer, ways to claim asylum other than attempting to sneak in, getting caught and then claiming you want asylum.
If a migrant has a legitimate fear in the nation they are coming from they are supposed to apply for asylum in the first nation in which they feel safe. In this case that nation would be Mexico. They do not get to say, “but I want to be in America.” That is not how fleeing for your safety works.
It is also safer to properly apply for asylum at the United States embassy in the nation they are from rather than hiking thousands of miles in dangerous conditions to get to the border and then claim asylum.
The fact that this is not the way many migrants have chosen to do it suggests that they are more likely economic migrants looking for opportunities to better their financial situation. Understandable, but not asylum worthy.