Monday 4/3 - Dr. Fernando Stein - President, American Academy of Pediatrics - Immigrant children in American detention

Monday 4/3
Dr. Fernando Stein
President, American Academy of Pediatrics
Immigrant children in American detention

In deciding if the end justifies the means, you probably should also consider the beginning.

For the majority of people apprehended entering the United States without the proper documents, the beginning of their journey was in Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador.

These are all places known for poverty, crime and violence, and for governments that are weak, corrupt and neither willing nor able to protect their citizens.

This is why, when they are represented by a lawyer, roughly 3 out of 4 undocumented immigrants from there are granted an opportunity to seek asylum here.

The Obama Administration recognized that immigration problems begin in the source countries and devised plans to encourage improvements in governance in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador.  Unfortunately, those plans were undermined by Congressional resistance to funding them.

The Trump Administration has shown little interest in the beginning of the refugee trail.  Its strategy is to make the end of the road so unwelcoming that staying home in Central America seems a better choice.  

Statistics from the Department of Homeland Security say the inhospitable endgame is working.  In February 2017, US Customs and Border Protection caught 18,762 people trying to enter the country from Mexico, a 40 percent drop from January and the lowest monthly total since first kept in 2000.

Perhaps even more significant, in the first full month of the Trump Administration, just 27 percent of those apprehended immigrants were unaccompanied children or family groups, usually mothers and children,—a huge drop-off from the last three months of 2016, when they made up 48 percent of apprehensions at the border.

Homeland Security Secretary Gen. John Kelly says, “The early results show that enforcement matters, deterrence matters, and that comprehensive immigration enforcement can make an impact.”

But what have been the means employed to secure the end of deterring migrations of women and children?


Fernando Stein, MD, FAAP, is the 2017 president of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Dr. Stein began his one-year term as AAP president on Jan. 1, 2017.

Dr. Stein is a practicing pediatrician and critical care specialist delivering bedside care for the past 35 years in Houston. A native of Guatemala, he did his specialty and subspecialty training at Baylor College of Medicine-affiliated institutions.

Dr. Stein has been an advocate for children in impoverished environments at the global level as a member of the technical advisers for the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses of the Pan American Health Organization.



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