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Border Children: Immigrating International Social Justice

By: Mac-Z Zurawski

The furor over the “border children” in the United States has become a complex issue due to a lack of vision.  There are tens of thousands of children fleeing their violent situations to seek refuge (US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants).  These same children have left behind their parents, siblings, friends and much of what they thought was the safety of their own home.  They have gone through desserts, jungles, extreme weather, warring drug lords, slave traders and much more to attempt a new “safe” life.  Instead of these children being seen as the future of the American Dream, they are presented as a new burden. The media has broken the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child by skewing the view of the immigrant crisis into a two party debacle.  The two party system has Democrats and Republicans going round for round when it’s an international issue of social justice.  While Americans representative parents “fight over the kids” the role of international social justice vanished.  These immigrant children are our future and we must abide by the same rules we created in the UN charter. 

United Bonds of Agreement

The old saying, United Nations of America, should be applied here, beyond a satirical joke.  As the leader of the United Nations since its inception, the United States of America has had a powerful hand in generating the charter, guides and rules for the entire world.  One of the greatest UN treasures is the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) enforced in September of 1990.  This convention reiterated and made specific guidelines for all countries to abide by in dealing with immigrant and migrant children.  

Article 36states, “parties shall protect the child against all other forms of exploitation prejudicial to any aspects of the child’s welfare” (OHCHR Document).  We, the USA, are not to harm these migrant children by any means especially political and media exploitation.  The “kids” are not a political pawn but a human rights need that we are bound to by the leadership we emanate in the United Nations charters we agree by.

These children of war and war-like states are protected again by our agreement through UN membership as stated in the UNCRC: “Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict, Recognizing that, in all countries in the world, there are children living in exceptionally difficult conditions, and that such children need special consideration.”  We cannot turn these ravaged children back to considerably dangerous homes.  We are to make new homes for them to further protect them.  These “kids” are considered war refugees.  Take a look around and see that many more nations than the US are housing a million plus war refugees.  Sixty thousand kids that can be molded into average Americans isn’t as difficult as what Syrian refugee host countries are going through. 

A very simple but missing link in the “kids” debacle is that we have agreed by the UN in Article 6 of the UNCRC to ensure the maximum development of the child.  This means more than food, water and shelter.  One human capability need is education.  We must educate them until they are placed.  As we have seen through years of cutting US education budgets and services, an uneducated American easily becomes a vicious cycle of state, federal and community assistance. 

Immigrating Futures For All

The United States is one country amongst 196 within this entire world.  The global trade routes of yesterday have forged new paths for international deals, dreams and businesses.  As a global community immigrants bring their ideas, experiences and motivation across the world.  According to the UN’s International Migration Policies 2013 report, “since the International Conference on populations and Development in 1994, there has been a growing consensus that migration is an integral feature of global development in both sending and receiving countries.”  If this is true then we are molding thousands of future Americans to be our leaders.  The “kids” need a helping hand to start a new life.  A life where they will contribute to the American lifestyle, economy and society.  We must ensure that the social justice based international agreements we signed as leaders of the “free world” are upheld.  The world is watching. 

Please go to direct resources used in this article for more information:

United Nations Human Rights on Convention on the Rights of the Child: http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx

UN Migration policies document:  http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/pdf/policy/InternationalMigrationPolicies2013/Report%20PDFs/z_International%20Migration%20Policies%20Full%20Report.pdffor more information on the above stated UN guidelines.

Mac-Z Zurawski is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science, International Politics, and Criminal Justice at Chicago State University. She is an experienced adult educator, political scientist, writer, blogger and social activist in political science and sociology. Feel free to contact her regarding new consulting, adjunct and seminar opportunities at www.linkedin.com/in/maczzurawski.

 

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