Would you send 50,000 Central American children back to countries where drug wars and crime virtually condemn them to painful lives and certain early death? In most of the countries they come from, it is well documented that American corporations have long been exploiting local citizens for years with shady collaborations in mining, farming, and other economic endeavors.
Do we need more poor and uneducated children in America today? No, of course not. We have plenty of our own. But these currently fleeing children are desperate. As our youth, who spawned the Wall Street Occupiers, were the most recent public demonstration of the intensity of the need of poor youth in our own land, they and the escaping Central American youth are one and the same problem.
Capitalism has long been touted as the economic miracle of America. That is a narrowly-served claim. The real economic miracle of America was the good hearted enthusiasm and idealism of its working people, the real people who made this country what it is – despite the relentless greed and insensitivity of the corporate culture that today so often still disregards the results of its profit motive on the unfortunate.
In “Cry, the Beloved Country” Alan Paton wrote: “It is permissible to develop any resources if the labor is forthcoming. But it is not permissible to develop any resources if they can be developed only at the cost of the labor . . . It is not permissible to add to one’s possessions if these things can only be done at the cost of other men . . . Such development has only one name, and that is exploitation.”
Worldwide, people are demonstrating that no economic system is valid if it does not enfranchise all of its people. Border crossings by poor Latin American youth to our country are only another aspect of an endemic problem. The allegedly civilized, industrialized, computerized information economy of developed countries is not the angel of plenty it claims to be. It will not be until it actively embraces the poor of the world in a humanly functioning economic culture.