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Two conversations about immigration are fresh in the American political conscience of today. The first: the Syrian refugee crisis, which has led to an influx of Syrian migrants throughout the middle east, Germany, and the United States. The second: the persistent flow of immigrants from Central America over the American border into the Southwestern United States. Both of these groups contain large numbers of children, many of whom are younger than twelve, many of whom are traveling on their own.
Many of the children fleeing Syria have been raised in a state of war. Those that come as refugees have grown up in a highly stressful environment, dealing with bombings and shellings, the deaths of family members, the loss of their homes, or injuries. 50% of Syrian children have had to drop out of school, causing them to miss out of education during an important developmental period. Those who flee without refugee status have often endured many of the same hardships, but without the promise of asylum. And even for those granted asylum, many find themselves in refugee camps with insufficient resources–safer than they’d been before, but a far cry from a normal life.
The number of child immigrants from both Syria and Central America highlights the seriousness of the conditions in these areas. Failure to address these issues will not be looked on favorably by history. We must face the issues, or risk depriving an entire generation of children of a future.