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Life, Liberty, and Migrants

Life, Liberty, and Migrants

Some of our friends, missionaries in a poor and gang-controlled area of Guatemala, began to ask our perspective on the newly popular media trend of children entering the United States illegally from Guatemala. I wonder why it took so long for people to start noticing! Ever since God called us here 3 years ago, we’ve been trying to explain to others the crisis of extreme poverty in Guatemala that has caused Guatemalans to risk everything for their chance to live in the United States, just to send back a few dollars. the rest of their families.

Life, Liberty, and Migrants
Life, Liberty, and Migrants

For those of you who didn’t see our first presentation at various churches in 2012 as we prepared to come here, I will directly quote the statistics we have provided as evidence of the ongoing problem:

If we can get communities to a point where people are happy to live in them, they won’t be flocking to the US illegally and depleting our resources any more. The 2000 U.S. census counted 480,665 foreigners born in Guatemala, but International Immigration data shows that nearly one million Guatemalans currently live in the United States. Although the International Organization for Migration estimates there are 200,000 undocumented Guatemalans living in the United States, some nonprofits believe the real figure is higher.

Life, Liberty, and Migrants

They also estimate that between 6,000 and 12,000 new Guatemalan immigrants arrive in the United States via Mexico each year. Why would Guatemalans want to move to the United States? More than half of the population lives below the national poverty line and 15% lives in extreme poverty. 43% of children under the age of five are chronically malnourished, one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the world. 42/1,000 children die before the age of five, the highest death rate in the hemisphere after Haiti and Bolivia. To put this in a more personal comparison, as of 2004, 56.2% of the population in Guatemala is below the poverty line. Against only 15.1% in the US.

The numbers got worse. I’m sure anyone who’s ever paid attention to the news in the US has been flooded with statistics, pie charts, and reviews of past, present, and future policy change on all of this. I do not plan to isolate certain news clips or refute certain theories that have been developed and repeated. I want to give some perspective here, not only as someone “on the ground” working with some children who immigrated to the US, but also as someone who aims to come here and help prevent this.

Life, Liberty, and Migrants

God’s vision for us in Guatemala is simple and difficult at the same time: to help strengthen the local church so that it can grow as a fountain of hope and God’s power for those in the surrounding community. I was disappointed to find a few dead children in the desert on the US border so people started paying attention to this issue. The question is not “how do we stop people from entering our borders” but “how can we help these countries better serve their people so that they are happy living in their own country?” should be.

Life, Liberty, and Migrants
Life, Liberty, and Migrants

As a Marine Corps Veteran sent to fight in foreign lands and a believer in the right to freedom from oppression, I wonder if we’ll ever really stop thinking about the ideals of our founding ancestors. America, long touted as the “Land of Opportunity,” was founded on the backs of migrant workers who appreciated the value of hard work, strong family principles, and a desire to serve our Creator in a way that pleases them. He is our Father. The USA has become lazy and the American dream is slowly dying because we have more than we can imagine and refuse to share it with others. We know that this is not true for everyone;

Life, Liberty, and Migrants

There are many people who are aware of the struggles of the rest of the world and serve whatever God calls themselves to help alleviate that suffering. That doesn’t mean no one is doing anything, but we could be doing a lot more, to highlight per capita and compared to the amount we have as a country. There are still many people in the USA who drown in the river of dreams Billy Joel sings and try to keep everyone else out. I know this may seem like a departure from my point, but I am presenting this as a comparison to what my wife and I witnessed in Guatemala.

Education in Guatemala is considered a luxury commodity. Families know the importance of being able to send their children to school, but the challenge is they can’t afford to send them. There are public schools, but the quality is extremely low. This does not mean that teachers are not doing their best, but schools are underfunded and undersupported. One of the local schools we worked with last year receives about 5,000 Guatemalan Quetzi

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