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The descent into Hell

26 June 2014

Editorial in Wednesday’s La Jornada (my translation):

The grave situation created by waves of minors from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador passing through Mexico to join parents in the U.S. has forced the governments of the five countries involved to turn their eyes to a problem ignored up to now: the migratory flow of people of all ages that originate in Central America, flow through our country and pour into our northern neighbor.

From the beginning it has been clear that the central cause of the phenomenon is the asymmetry in the economies, criminal violence, and the lack of employment and existential opportunity in our sister nations, coupled with the demand for labor in industry, agriculture and services in the United States.

migrantCertainly the economic management in the three Central American nations, markedly oligarchic and replicating social injustices, plays a central role in the exodus. It is inevitable to compare this phenomenon to the situation in Ecuador, a nation from which people emigrated for the same reasons, but, during the successive mandates of President Rafael Correa has managed to reverse the situation and become, instead, a magnet for immigrants from many countries.

Moreover, to the extent that the U.S. government persists in the criminalization of migrants, what could be a simple solution for all parties is turned into a serious problem, leading to deaths, suffering and abuses. The government of Barack Obama – having won a second term in the White House thanks in part to his promise to push immigration reform to regularize undocumented foreign workers — has lacked the political will to fulfill that commitment.

Mexico plays a dual role: as a point of origin of migrant flows– due, in our case, as in Central America, to ruthless and devastating economic policies.

In Mexico and our neighbors to the south, the government has has failed to induce economic growth required to generate decent paying jobs and to deter those who venture to the north,. Nor has it complied with its obligation to ensure the integrity and the rights of those passing through the country, nor has taken a firm stance on the U.S. authorities to demand full respect for the human rights of our compatriots in the neighboring territory. In such circumstances, domestic migrants are subjected to all sorts of dangers, attacks and abuses by the police forces of the two countries, while for foreigners these abuses are multiplied. Their time in Mexico becomes, as a rule, something very like a descent into hell.

Neither the adoption of immigration laws or restructuring in the business units responsible have favorably altered the drama of Central American migrants on Mexican soil. If the national population has been abandoned for years to the depredations of organized crime, foreigners are even more easy and defenseless prey.

In these circumstances, the phenomenon of the tens of thousands of migrant children, exacerbated by ambiguous information issued by the U.S. Department of State, has inflamed public opinion to the extent that the authorities now have to meet to discuss the problem. Such is the context of the regional immigration meeting to be held next Thursday in the Nicaraguan capital.

Undoubtedly, the human crisismust be addressedperemptorily, andthe security andintegrity of childrenin transit must be safeguarded, butthe underlying problemwill not be resolved: these childrenrepresentmany familiesdivided by evil immigration policiesevilthat must beabandoned.This requires aregionalmigration agreementto normalizetheexit, transitand stay ofworkers in the UnitedStates,Mexicoand Central America.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. roberb7 permalink
    26 June 2014 8:34 am

    Lots of good points here, BUT, when they wrote that Obama “has lacked the political will to fulfill that commitment,” there’s no connection to any political reality in the US. There wont be any movement on immigration policy until the Repugnikans no longer control the House of Representatives or the President is no longer black.

  2. 26 June 2014 9:34 am

    As I have said before, there is a high percentage of the American public and voter, who has a xenophobic perception of anybody South of the American border, and who is in distress that America is a melting pot, resulting in a heterogeneous American who will no longer have the hue nor covet the mantra of the old WASP system they are accustomed to. This is a major obstacle for current and past administrations unwilling to address the immigration problem. If the immigrants were brought over in an indentured worker program, housed separately away from the populous, paid less than minimum wage and required to return to their native country after a contracted period of time, the Republicans rather than sneer and stalemate, would embrace the program, since they would be appeasing their Republican based farm owned agriculture constituency……..

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