Thursday, April 7, 2016

Five Points

Women, mothers and children from El Salvador protested outside the White House on Easter.  They were against inhumane detention centers that are set up in Texas an New Mexico.  Such places, they say are dirty, unhealthy and not fit for living.  I suspect a lot of this is about fear of terrorism, but not all.  When my Irish ancestors came to the USA in the 19th century, they were "processed" on a NYC island and then released.  To where?  That was an immigrant's problem.  No detention center.   You had to find your way to the Irish section of lower Manhattan, for instance.  Five Points was dangerous, bloody, and crowded.  People were stuffed into tenement housing, little apartments.  Survive or else.  Those who did not die from disease, drink, accidents, or bloody battles, did more than survive.  But they had the Industrial Revolution, massive Civil War depopulation, and inventions to assist the movement out of poverty.  Today there are no such housing in NYC for instance.  Cities have done away with this poor housing, by law or profit.  There is no more Industrial Revolution with all the inventions of the late 19th and early 20th century.  The iPhone?  Made in some other country.  El Salvador women are not being hired by Silicon Valley.  I would like us to be rid of detention centers too.  Then what?  We welcome people who are escaping violence and this is a good thing.  But the greater solution is long term, if there is a long term.  I hope there is a long term.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you, a long term solution is needed, in their own country (for what is worth, we are at least partially responsible for what they are suffering)

    But in the short term, these people are flying violence, and we are not welcoming them. We incarcerate them, and we send them back to the violence they fled (I was very moved by that young boy who was killed less than 24 hours after we deported him). Most of them qualify for asylum, but our immigrations laws are so complicated that without a lawyer you are guaranteed to be sent back (as an immigrant I know this pretty well). Almost none of them has a lawyer.

    Check the Catholic Legal Immigration Network at and the Family Detention Pro Bono Project at