Crossings, Coyotes And Children At The Border

Download Audio

There has been a lot of talk over the past few weeks from both parties in Washington about the politics of immigration. It’s been called both an invasion and a humanitarian crisis, and the two sides differ on what to do about the 57,000 children who have crossed the border.

NPR’s John Burnett has been talking to these children and he joins Here & Now's Meghna Chakrabarti from Los Angeles to share their stories.

Interview Highlights: John Burnett

On his first impressions of the children

“There was a sense of ‘my journey is over, I didn’t die trying in Mexico.’ And so exhaustion, relief, but still concern because they’re a stranger in a strange land.”

On the varied reactions of U.S. towns affected by the young migrants

“It really depends on where you’re looking at... in Southern California, they had this big protest in Murrieta. Down where I’m from, in Texas, in McAllen, the mayor has arranged these shuttle buses that take these young mothers and kids from the bus station where they’re waiting for buses to go further north, to the Catholic Church Parish Hall, where some charity groups have set up a sort of relief center.”

On what may be getting lost in the political tensions surrounding the issue

“They’re sort of happy to be here. People say ‘oh these poor, poor children,’ but they’re the lucky ones who have actually made it here, they’re with their parents, they’ll have potentially years to stay here before they’re ordered deported, and then they may just dissolve into the Spanish-speaking community... They feel like their journey is complete, that they’re the lucky ones, they made it.”


This segment aired on July 17, 2014.


More from Here & Now

Listen Live