What are we going to do with the 15-year-old ganged-raped girl from El Salvador knocking at our border? When Attorney General Jeff Sessions triumphantly proclaimed that the immigration policy known as "catch and release" was history it pays to consider its implications.
What are we going to do with Lola?
She is fleeing for her life; her monstrous rapists took away her innocence, now we may take away her last chance on life. Mind you, catch and release was an abomination! For decades, those seeking asylum or another form of immigration status were released by border patrol ― to await their day in court.
Almost 98 percent of them never showed up in front of the judge.
Unfortunately, the constant flow of illegal immigrants, and the inability of the courts to expeditiously process and decide their cases, made “catch and release” a license to violate immigration laws with impunity. The wait got longer, the court backlogs got bigger, and the number of undocumented flooding the country got larger; detaining all of them was impractical ― a huge drain on the system ― and illegal, according the federal courts.
Now, the Trump administration is determined to put the immigration house in order. That is exactly what should have been done since the beginning of this century. Catch and release is done. Now, it’s “catch and deport.” Secretary Sessions’ memo implies that much.
But the nagging question remains: What are we going to do with Lola?
One of the unintended and tragic consequences of the “new status quo” is the fate of “Lola,” when she shows up at the U.S. border. How will she be treated? Will there be a disposition from our immigration system to hear that five monsters raped her repeatedly in her Salvadorian town; or care, that after endless days walking to get to Texas — “the promised land” ― the coyotes hired by her mother raped her again as “bonus pay.” Will my immigration guys care?
We are the best country in the world. Yes, we have to care.
My concern is that Mr. Session's relentless pursuit of criminal illegal aliens ― in most cases justified ― will make it almost impossible for us to have any sympathy for Lola’s plight and that of more than 40,000 unaccompanied minors (under 17 years of age) looking for refuge in our country since 2014.
I understand we can't give shelter to every girl who has been brutally marked for life, but I believe Lola is our problem too, whether we like or not, because she lives in our back yard only three “doors” down the road. The justified anger and frustration of millions of Americans over our failed immigration policies will lead many to say, “Sorry, not my problem.”
The temptation will then be to turn her away after a rushed and superficial, pro forma — cover-your-butt ― review of her case.
But we can’t erase the distinction between one illegal alien and Lola. We can’t dump everyone seeking asylum into the same bin with the label:
We can’t paint everyone with the same brush. Reuters published a story recently claiming that the Trump administration, from day one, targeted one specific immigrant group:
Women and unaccompanied children who had become the fastest growing demographic among illegal immigrants in the last 2 years.
Lola is in that group.
Most Americans are woefully ignorant of what is going on in Central America — a hotbed of violence and crime. Take El Salvador where Lola was born. It has the highest homicide rate in the world. There were more than 6,000 killings in 2015. That is almost 116 homicides per 100,000.
Just compare it to St. Louis, the murder capital of America; there were 59 murders per 100,000.
Take another of our backyard neighbors: Honduras, 90.4 homicides per 100,000 people.
The average world-wide is 6.2 per 100,000. Has due process for illegal immigrants become a low priority?
That's all what Lola needs: to have her case heard, and heard well.
To send her back home to the same conditions she was fleeing from... is to condemn her to being consumed alive… literally, in a living hell. The United States of America is still the moral compass of the world… the city upon a hill.
A nation whose greatness is not measured by the might of its guns, but by the way it treats the most vulnerable. If we send Lola back, we will have we lost our soul, and our presumption of being exceptional among the nations will be an empty boast.
Elvira Salazar is a five-time Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist and news anchor of MEGA TV. She has interviewed Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and was the only U.S. Spanish language television journalist to obtain a one-on-one interview with Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Salazar wrote her first book, "If God Be With You, Who Shall Be Against You?" selling out the first edition in three months. She holds a B.A. in Communication from the University of Miami and earned her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. To read more of her reports — Click Here Now.
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