CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Close to 60,000 undocumented immigrant children have been detained at the US border since last fall. We’ve seen the video of their young, often frightened faces after making the dangerous journey alone from countries like Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The images are moving, but to many, no more important than the faces of Americans who need help.
“We’ve got plenty of children here who are homeless and veterans who are homeless. I think we should start taking care of our own people first,” said Robert Paul from Chicopee.
A new Associated Press poll reveals 53% of Americans believe the United States has no moral obligation to offer asylum to people fleeing violence or political persecution.
Other critics told 22News they wonder if some of these undocumented children are truly seeking safety from violence in their own countries, or whether their parents are sending them to look for opportunity in the US.
“We do have an opportunity for their children. The United States is one of the best countries, education-wise. But we’ve got to take care of our own first. Take care of your front yard before you take care of someone else’s backyard,” said Gary Hicks from Chicopee.
In the same poll, by a 2-1 margin, Americans support changing the current laws so that border patrol agents can send unaccompanied children back to their home countries, rather than letting them wait for a deportation hearing.