To me it seems our morals have somehow gotten lost in the jingoism and made a straw man out of a really complex and ugly problem. These children are fleeing endemic violence, corruption and exploitation so terrible that the prospect of walking through the dessert in the middle of the summer is the better option. Mind you this is after all the other dangers they had to face to get that far.
There's a story that goes something like this: "A girl was walking down the beach, picking up starfish that had washed up during a big storm and throwing them back into the sea. A man came along and looked down the beach at the thousands of starfish and said "You can't make a difference, there are too many starfish." The girl calmly looked at the man, picked up a starfish and threw it in the water, turned to the man and said, "It made a difference for that one."
This is a ugly problem. However, I feel it's morally wrong to send children back into an environment where their only options are going to be poverty, gangs and exploitation.
There's also another flip side to this that I don't think people have fully contemplated.
If there's anything a country is built on, it's its children. These central american countries are exporting their next generation of doctors, engineers, lawyers, etc. Those children who end up staying in the united states and end up getting an education are going to grow up and contribute to our society, not theirs. Thinking ahead in 30 years, these countries are going to be cleaned out. It's going to be a society of old men, some of whom are drug lords controlling streets full of uneducated street thugs. If you think Guatemala is bad now, imagine what'll look like in 30 years.
I don't have any answers or good ideas on how to fix this. Many of these places are just so corrupt that just throwing money at the problem isn't going to fix it. However, pretending we don't have some moral obligation to help children in need is about as un-American as it gets.