VALLEY FORGE, Penn., May 12, 2011 — Today, there are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, a figure President Obama shared in his May 10 immigration speech in El Paso. During this speech, the President acknowledged the impact of our current system on immigrant families, particularly the children. These families, living in the shadows, are the focus of the new bilingual resource Listen to the Children: Conversations with Immigrant Families/Escuchemos a los ninos: Conversaciones con familias inmigrantes by author Elizabeth Conde-Frazier.
“I don’t believe the United States of America should be in the business of separating families,” stated the President. And he noted, “We should stop punishing innocent young people for the actions of their parents.” In Listen to the Children, Conde-Frazier invites the reader to eavesdrop on fictionalized conversations between immigrant parents, their children, and their caregivers in an effort to explain those actions. She addresses:
- How and why adults make the decision to emigrate from their homeland
- How the separation affects children
- What challenges eventual reunification of the family brings
Chapters on the effect of legal status, raids, and educational challenges offer insight into the realities faced by immigrant families as they attempt to make their way forward in a new land. A practical resource for immigrant parents and caregivers, Listen to the Children will also serve as a useful tool for educators, pastors, social workers, community groups, legislators, and others.
The reason the children are impacted is that the parents evaluated a risk-reward scenario. They could stay in Mexico and try to survive in a centrally-governed, progressive-dream of a government – or they could head north.
Heading north provides possible rewards of better pay and a safer society. When you enter it illegally you take the risk that you will be arrested and punished. America is a nation of laws.
If they decide to actually have children born in the United States, they are making a conscious decision. They are taking a calculated risk. Americans should not feel guilty, we didn’t make the choice.