Border Children – “It’s a Small World After All” Comes to the U.S. – Part 1

border children, Honduras, violence, homicide, murder rates, crime rates, income inequality, Gini coefficients, New Orleans, Congressional gridlock, partisan politics, polarization

When Congress departed Washington last week for its month-long August recess, it left unresolved the question of the growing number of “border children” – minors from Central America who have crossed the Mexican border into the U.S. without either an adult or papers.

The largest number of border children – 13, 244 in FY 2014 – currently comes from the Central American country of Honduras. Of these minors, more than a quarter are aged 12 or younger.

Honduras is currently experiencing an epidemic of violence.

The murder rate in the country of Honduras as a whole is 90 homicides per 100,000 population. The murder rate in San Pedro Sula in northwest Honduras is 169 homicides per 100,000 population. This amounts to 3 deaths a day in that city, and 2,000 of the border children come from San Pedro Sula alone.

In contrast, the most dangerous city in the United States, New Orleans, has a murder rate that is a “mere” 21.4 homicides per 100,000.

Honduras is not only a poor country but one that has extreme levels of income inequality. In 2007, it ranked as the 8th most unequal of the world’s 141 nations.

Honduras’s Gini coefficient, the standard measurement of distribution of family income, is 57.7.  In theory, a Gini coefficient of 0 represents “perfect equality” while 100 is “perfect inequality.” In reality, national Gini coefficients range from 23.0 in Sweden to 63.2 in Lesotho.

In the U.S., increasing income inequality is a rising political issue. The U.S. is the 41st most unequal country with a Gini coefficient of 45.0. It compares unfavorably with other developed countries, but that is still significantly less unequal than Honduras.

All over the world, people who experience war, famine, scarcity, persecution, or poverty leave or are driven away from their homes.

People who leave one place arrive another.

As the world grows increasingly small and interconnected, the effects of what happens in one country will be felt more and more by other countries.

The U.S. is no exception.

by: Palma Joy Strand


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