Commentary: Despite Trump, this migrant caravan must be stopped!

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Anthony L. Hall is a Bahamian who descends from the Turks and Caicos Islands. He is an international lawyer and political consultant - headquartered in Washington DC - who also publishes a current events weblog, The iPINIONS Journal, at http://ipjn.com

By Anthony L hall

Don’t let your hatred of President Trump blind you to this fact.

The caravan of migrants from Central America grew to roughly 5,000 Sunday, a massive group that stretched along this city’s main highway for more than a half-mile.

They spoke in different accents, fleeing different disasters: joblessness in parts of Honduras, a mounting political crisis in Nicaragua, cities in Guatemala where they were sure their children would languish as they had.

Now, they were traversing Mexico while President Trump tweeted about their journey, demanding that the migrants apply for asylum in Mexico before continuing north, threatening to close the U.S. border as Mexican authorities appeared to allow the caravan to proceed.

(The Washington Post, October 21, 20118)

In fact, Trump has threatened to deploy the military to stop these migrants in their tracks – if they make it to the US border. Except that his threat rings as hollow as his promise to get Mexico to pay for the wall, which was supposed to do what he’s now saying the military will.

Not to mention his cut-off-nose-to-spite-face threat to cut aid to all Central American countries that failed to stop this caravan. After all, that would only worsen the conditions that gave rise to this mass migration in the first place.

In any event, I suspect most of these migrants will end up huddling along the border. There they will lie in wait to cross illegally, praying they’re not apprehended and deported after internment in the United States.

I hasten to clarify that I couldn’t care less for the racist and xenophobic Trump. On the other hand, I couldn’t care more for the huddled masses of asylum seekers caravanning towards the border.

But I fully appreciate the categorical imperative Trump has to stop them. Because it’s untenable enough to have a few migrants sneaking across; but it poses an existential threat to have them doing so in caravans of thousands.

After all, if they’re allowed to cross the border into heaven on earth with little or no trouble, every one of the tens of millions they left behind will soon be fleeing their hell on earth, in sequent caravans, too.

This raises the question: Then what? And any Democrat who fails to provide a comprehensive and credible answer is being disingenuous. Never mind that this is a far cry from the dishonesty Trump displays on this and every other issue.

For example, this mendacious buffoon is trying to convince Americans that this migrant caravan is a Democratic ploy to smuggle MS-13 gang members from Central America and Muslim terrorists from the Middle East into the United States.

Both are demonstrable lies of course. But only a brazen and shameless liar like Trump would peddle the absurdity of terrorists flying from the Middle East to Central America, to join a migrant caravan, on a four-month, Death Valley-like walk to the US border, hoping Trump’s border agents will let them in, to carry out 9/11-style attacks.

Any such terrorist would know that it’s far easier to fly into the United States on a tourist visa directly from the Middle East or any country in Europe. After all,

For an increasing number of immigrants, illegal status arrives overnight, without a single step.

In each year from 2007 to 2014, more people joined the ranks of the illegal by remaining in the United States after their temporary visitor permits expired than by creeping across the Mexican border.

(The New York Times, March 6, 2017)

Yet the willful ignorance of far too many Americans is such that many will believe him. Believe me!

That said, I reiterate what I’ve been arguing for years, including most recently in “Separating Immigrant Children from Their Parents. This Is America … Too,” June 20, 2018.

____________________

The only way to truly stem this tide is to marshal American resources (political, financial, and even military) to change conditions on the ground that are causing people to flee for their lives. …

The best way to deal with a neighbor’s house on fire is not to build a wall around your house to keep that fleeing neighbor out; rather it’s to help that neighbor put out the fire, lest it engulfs the entire neighborhood. …

It would be refreshing to have a US government offering direct assistance to help regional governments combat indigenous violence and provide basic services for their people, instead of trying to overthrow them. As part of this assistance, it could help those governments build, protect, and sustain safe havens within their respective borders, as well as launch public information programs to discourage people from thinking the reason America is a ‘Shining City on a Hill’ is that its streets are paved with gold (you know, all that glitters is not…).  …

Ultimately, though, the only way to truly fix America’s inherently flawed immigration system is to kick Trump and his enablers in the ‘cult-like’ Republican Party out of office. Because only Democrats seem committed to comprehensive immigration reform. This would include not only a guest-worker program but also incentives for illegal immigrants now living in the shadows to assimilate, assimilate, assimilate!

More to the point, such reform would practically end any need to cross the border illegally.

Incidentally, only the congenitally ass-backward Trump would think that withholding aid from these poor countries – as he is threatening to do – would stop what he says are illegal immigrants ‘infest[ing] our country.’

____________________

This June 20 commentary also references America’s mercantile policies and insatiable demand for illegal drugs, which are the root causes of Central America’s migration crisis.

Unfortunately, Trump’s anti-immigrant, America-First policies have alienated most, if not all, Central (and South) American leaders. Therefore, they’d be forgiven for feeling as hostile towards the United States today as Fidel Castro felt at the height of the US-led embargo against Cuba.

Most leaders would welcome such a Marshall Plan for their region of course. But nobody should be surprised if one or two of them prove all too happy to create the kind of trouble Castro caused for the United States when he launched the infamous Mariel boatlift.

On April 20, 1980, the Castro regime announces that all Cubans wishing to emigrate to the U.S. are free to board boats at the port of Mariel west of Havana, launching the Mariel Boatlift. The first of 125,000 Cuban refugees from Mariel reached Florida the next day.

The boatlift was precipitated by housing and job shortages caused by the ailing Cuban economy, leading to simmering internal tensions on the island.

(History.com, “1980”)

Still, I cannot resist sharing this abiding lament:

The United States has wasted trillions of dollars over the past 17 years trying to change conditions that make Afghanistan and Iraq breeding grounds for jihadi terrorists. But imagine the salutary benefit if it had spent just one-third of that money changing conditions that make countries in Central America breeding grounds for wretched migrants.

At the very least, the United States would not have caravans of “homeless, tempest-tost” souls marching towards the “lamp beside the golden door” that is the US border with Mexico.

Related commentaries:
Separating families
Migrant caravan (Update)

* This commentary was originally published at The iPINIONS Journal on October 22

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Some of your article actually makes sense discounting your blind hatred and the jealousy you exhibit for President Trump. Your unfounded accusation of his racism quite frankly is getting old, and in fact it is nothing more than a Democrat talking point which is tiresome. I agree that more could be done to aid and assist these poor people in their own countries but how to do it without overthrowing the existing governments is where the problem lies. As in all situations just throwing money at the problem does nothing but enrich a few oligarchs and further exacerbate the situation. By the way Trump did offer an immigration plan, which did include the wall, and it was turned down by the Democrat party. Your comment to the opposite is another Democrat talking point which is a bold face lie.
    As to our involvement in Afghanistan, I completely agree and so does President Trump. I’m sure in the very near future when it is politically and fiscally expedient you will see our involvement there come to an end. Not, I might add, soon enough for me. I agree that the trillion of dollars totally wasted there would have been better invested in both the U.S. and in Central America.
    You see Anthony, other than your blind hatred for President Trump you do make sense on occasion.

  2. 1. More aid to Central America would be squandered and stolen by kleptocratic political and other elites just like similar billions in aid to Africa.

    2. As a neo-nationalist, part of a growing and welcome movement around the work, Trump is operating under the policy that charity begin at home in a country with millions of disadvantaged and homeless people. What’s wrong with putting your own people, especially Black people who now have their first decent job in years, first?

    3. History will remember Trump as the first truly Black American president: the first president for Black America.

  3. Mr. Hall, you make some good points, but I wouldn’t have gone there. After all, this is a nation of immigrants and I hear where you are coming from. I do believe that Trump created this thing, but I’m sure that you know your history when it comes to Latin America. The United States is responsible for the plight of that so called caravan because, they backed those regimes for whatever reason. We have done unthinkable things to just about everyone in this world and now that the chickens are coming home to roost we don’t like it a bit. A little respect for those countries in question and I guarantee you that people would not be leaving in droves. If they have nothing to live for they will leave. We are part and parcel responsible for this. We backed the wrong horses and this is the result. The United Staes was always the place you could come to to get away from oppression. Now it appears that one comes here to be oppressed. Read the history of those countries and what we were a party to. Start with Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala and what we did to him.
    Anthony, what you say makes sense and we should instead of putting up barbed wire fences and having the U.S. Military waiting for them, should be trying to help. The Ugly American once again rears his ugly face. It e.is oft said that the sins of the fathers are visited upon the sons. Sooner or later, that is the case.

    • Generally speaking, the USA under various regimes has generally, albeit imperfectly, backed three fundamental principles in the Western Hemisphere: (1) democracy, (2) capitalism, and (3) stability.

      Even when Cuba defied the first two of these and threatened the third with its efforts to stir up conflict around the Third World, there was no use of overwhelming force to destroy the Castro revolution even though this could have been done in a heartbeat.

      What’s wrong with that and why was there conflict with America except when Latin American communists, fascists, and tyrants, aided and abetted by outside forces challenging the Monroe Doctrine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monroe_Doctrine), defied one or more of these three principles.

      If truth be told, the USA has been the most passive and benevolent hegemon in the history of inter-state conflict. Yes, there were grevious errors made including Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. in other parts of the world but worse countries have done far worse things thoughout human history.

    • Mr. Hodge, I agree that the U.S. has certainly made some errors of judgement with regards to backing the wrong people in the various Central American countries. However my point is that the tendency is to blame President Trump for this problem and that’s where I draw the line. He gets enough bad press from the biased Liberal Media in the U.S., that he doesn’t deserve, and this “Caravan” was not a result of anything he said or did. This is a decades old problem and certainly needs to be addressed but it needs to be done in an orderly fashion. Given the latitude and the time I’m certain that President Trump can and will find a solution, but 3 or 4 or 10 thousand people storming our border will never be tolerated, nor will the current thousand or so who are currently doing it on a daily basis. Perhaps they should be directed to travel south into Costa Rica or Panama and with the assistance of an appointed overseer of sorts, (not the U.N.) funds could be directed to support and aid these countries to assimilate them into their societies where at least they have a cultural connection. This problem can and should be solved and President Trump is the person to do it, however calling him a racist at every turn is certainly not the way to achieve a solution.

  4. People need to stay at home and make their own countries into something, rather than help the Americans dote on themselves with false (and frankly laughable) claims of being the best country on earth. I was born in the U S of A and wouldn’t live there if the rest of the world was flooded under 1,000 feet of water. Would sooner evolve gills and webbed feet.

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