Public opinion remains deeply divided over whether the U.S. government has a moral obligation to offer asylum to Central Americans children escaping political persecution or violence in their home countries. According to a survey published last month by the Associated Press, 53 percent of the U.S. public think their country has no obligation to take in the latest wave of “tired and huddled masses” fleeing troubles in their home countries.
We talked to 11 scholars and activists who think the United States, a self-professed nation of immigrants, does have a moral obligation to provide asylum to Central American minors, many of whom — experts argue — are fleeing violence that resulted from U.S. foreign policy.
Fusion presents the untold history behind the unaccompanied minors, a collection of 60-second videos.
Immigration Law Professor, University of San Francisco
“The vast majority of these children would not qualify to apply [for legal status] under any existing immigration visa category.”
Former gang member and co-founder of Homies Unidos
“Gangs are not the only reason why children are fleeing”
Executive director of the indigenous community group Maya Vision
“Maya children face three additional language barriers”
President, Community Coalition
“It feels like the country hasn’t moved since the early 1940s and 50s”
Honduras History Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz
“What’s missing [from the conversation] is the responsibility of the really dangerous Honduran government”
Communications Strategist, Families for Freedom
“The way that Central Americans are painted in the media is very harmful”
Sociologist, University of California, Los Angeles
“The Central American Free Trade Agreement has been disastrous for the region”
SARAHI & ANTHONY DORMES
Mother and son who fled Honduras in June, 2014
“They killed one of my neighbors … the killers had confused him for my brother”