Gang-based societies and immigrant children

In my research for the novel, Choices, I became familiar with the horrors of gang-based societies – of the atmosphere of constant murder, rape, and torture of and by those we consider children, of parents extorted out of their meager resources so their daughters will not be taken, of mothers sacrificing one child to protect the others. While the details of the society in my novel are extrapolations of actual facts, they are, if anything, softened to suit our comfortable, safe sensibilities. The reality in some areas is far worse and spurs the flood of children illegally entering this country.

I read posts that we, as a country, should not be assisting the children who were sent to violate the law by entering the United States. I see people posting that we, as a country, should not be providing aid to any other country as long as people here in need – even if it is need for relief from taxes so they can afford to send their children to college. I can understand that position as well.

But put yourself in the place of a mother or father – being demanded to turn over a child to be raped and killed. What would you do to save your children? Would you break the law? Of course, you would. If a child came to your door, hungry, exhausted, having escaped certain rape, torture, and death, would you turn them away? Or would you handle it in a way that you, as a parent, would want your child treated? That is the question all of us face but often choose to ignore.

I know from my research that the dangers and horrors they are trying to escape are real. I cannot unsee the child on my doorstep. I cannot simply close the door. I know whatever I do as an individual won’t solve the problem but, just perhaps, it will make a difference in one person’s life.

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