School has been in session for two days and I have gotten six new students. Six students to a new school half way through the year. This is a common thing in my school, with this demographic. Families are transient, so we see the same kids cycle in and out of our school. What makes this year different is the large number of immigrants. Four of the six students are new to the country, all from Honduras or El Salvador, three immigrated as unaccompanied minors, and one was reunited with her mother in Houston after being held in Florida for a month. That leaves two minor immigrants, living with extended family or friends.
I’m not a very political person, but there are some things I feel strongly about. One of those is immigration. I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know that these kids need our help.
The week before our winter break a little girl from El Salvador ended up in my office, crying. She had heard that her mother, in El Salvador, didn’t have any food and was sick. Her father quit sending her money.
In July, at 15 years old, my student left everything she knew to come to the U.S. She traveled with others, not family, to get here. If she had stayed in El Salvador she most surely would have been kidnapped and sold into sex slavery. Her mother knew that she would be safer getting here than staying with there. Her mother sent her on an 1700+ mile trek to get to Texas, to be safe. Can you imagine kissing your child goodbye and praying she makes it to her destination? I can only imagine the emptiness, guilt, sadness, hope, desperation, and fear both mother and daughter feel.
I don’t know the political answer, but I do know the humanitarian one. People need help. People need opportunity. People need, above all else, safety. Everyone should be able to live in a world in which they are safe. Sadly, most don’t. But as human beings, the right, kind, and just thing to do is help when we can.