The Christian Science Monitor Weekly

Vol 106 / Issue 30

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S omeone leaves a child on your doorstep and rings the bell. You don't just slam the door and turn away. You take care of the child, at least until a more permanent home can be found. But then a second child arrives, and a third, and a fourth. Times are hard, and more and more children nearby are being driven from their homes by crime and poverty. You wonder if you've gotten a reputa - tion as a softhearted neighbor. But you also know you still have to help. Some 60,000 children, unac- companied by any adult, are ex- pected to pour into the United States illegally this year, the Obama administra- tion estimates, 10 times the number estimated as recently as 2011. Since Oct. 1, an unprecedented 47,017 unaccompa- nied children have been caught trying to cross the southwestern border of the US alone. T h e n u m b e r h a s l e a p t s o quickly that it has overloaded the ability of the US to respond. The White House and the United Na- tions have both declared the influx a humanitarian crisis. Taking a chance on a 'coyote' Many of the children don't come from Mexico but from far- ther south in Honduras, El Salva- dor, and Guatemala. They often arrive at the border by bus or by jumping on freight trains headed north. They pay "coyotes" – some- times members of criminal gangs – to help them sneak across the US border. An unknown number don't make it and perish. The improving US economy ac- counts for a part of the general in- flux of undocumented immigrants of all ages coming to the US seek- ing better lives. But why so many children, and why now? What kind of parents would send their offspring alone on such a perilous journey? Some parents are already work - ing in the US and desperately want their children to join them. Other youngsters are escaping wretched home lives and abuse. In many cases they are choos- ing to run away to the US rather than be forced to join one of the many criminal gangs that control neighborhoods in their homelands. Is the US being 'soft'? Some observers suggest that the US has earned a reputation in Latin American countries for being "soft" on undocumented women and children, a policy, they say, that only encourages more of them to cross the border. Some of the children are being allowed to join family members already in the US legally. Oth- ers are being passed along to private aid o r g a n i z a t i o n s f o r temporary shelter. Politicians in both US political parties, as well as pri - vate aid agencies, wonder how the US will be able to afford to care for such an influx of vulnerable children and, in some cases, their mothers. The cost of dealing with children entering the US illegally is expected to rise to $2 billion in 2015, up from $868 million in 2014, the Obama administration estimates. It is in the nature of Americans – as well as in America's self-in- terest – to want to help improve, through aid and diplomacy, the economic and political situations south of its border so that fewer desperate individuals, including children, will try to cross into the US illegally. Helping is the only choice The US can also try to put a stronger fence around its "yard" to keep unwanted immigrants and their problems outside. But once a child is here, on the doorstep, Americans know that bringing that child inside and pro- viding help is their only choice. Children on the doorstep A surge in children entering the US illegally poses a humanitarian crisis. BeIjIng / China Daily US accusations hypocritical and self-deceiving "China was completely justified in rejecting remarks made by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the 13th Asia Security Summit, or Shangri-La Dialogue, in Singapore [in late May]," writes Wang Hui in re- sponse to remarks by Secretary Hagel about China's "unilateral" actions in the South China Sea and cyberspying against the United States. "The US has thrown its weight behind Japan, its regional ally, since Septem- ber 2012 when the Japanese government unilaterally announced its decision to 'nationalize' China's Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea." BeIrUT, LeBanon / The Daily Star Delusions of a superpower In his commencement address to West Point graduates in May, President Obama "stressed that the U.S. would not become isola- tionist, and that 'America must always lead on the world stage. If we don't, no one else will.' This smacks of self-delusion. Once the world's leading superpower, the U.S. looks increasingly dwarfed by Russia and China," states an editorial. "Though much of the American public might believe Obama's interpretation of events, the rest of the world is watching, and it is not so easily deceived. Where Obama sees success in soft diplomacy and stepping back, the international community sees stumbling and inaction." ToronTo / National Post New rules on coal underline US hypocrisy "Washington has spent a good deal of time complaining that Canada lacks an adequate strategy to address the emissions issue. Coal is by far the dirtiest way to produce electricity, and Canada uses far less of it than the U.S. ... yet Washington keeps citing Canadian emissions policies as a significant reason Mr. Obama hasn't been able to bring himself to make a decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline," writes Kelly McParland about US emissions regulations proposed in early June. "Now that the U.S. has an actual plan on the table, maybe it will quit beefing about Canada and focus on whether its own efforts are adequate." London / The Guardian US foreign policy: principle and pragmatism "Mr Obama is striving to steer a middle course between the isola- tionists and interventionists ... [with] a varied toolbox for dealing with foreign challenges: unilateral military force, if necessary, to defend against direct threats to Americans, US core interests and allies; in all other circumstances, America will not go it alone, and will prefer non- violent means if possible," states an editorial. "As sensible as it is to have [an] extensive toolbox, however, the real challenge for a US command- er-in-chief is knowing when to use each tool. On that measure, Mr Obama has a reasonable scorecard." How the world press sees America T H E V I E W F R O M A B R O A D r e n o n t h e d o o COMMENTARY e n o n t h e d o T H E M O N I T O R ' S V I E W "First the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear." EDITOR: Marshall Ingwerson SENIOR EDITOR: David Cook CHIEF EDITORIAL WRITER: Clayton Jones EDITOR AT LARGE: John Yemma MANAGING PUBLISHER: Jonathan Wells CHIEF STRATEGY AND MARKETING OFFICER: Susan Hackney Founded in 1908 by Mary Baker Eddy COMMENTARY 34 THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR WEEklY | June 16, 2014

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