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October 24, 2018

The Caravan and Its Causes

Patricia A. Kelly

Seven to fourteen thousand people are on their way, depending on the reporter of the moment. President Donald Trump says they’re not going to be allowed to enter the United Sates. He says there will be a wall of people at the Texas/Mexico border to stop them.

 

President Trump’s efforts to get Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to stop it came with the threat of withholding foreign aid. Some consequence seems appropriate.

 

Why they are coming, and coming now, is certainly of interest.

 

Liberal funding of the march has been suggested, from both inside and outside our country. Another possibility suggested is that coming in such a large group is safe and avoids the huge departure fees in several Latin countries, not to mention the alternative of paying a “coyote” to help.

 

It’s imperative that we re-vamp our legal immigration laws, to include an end to non-immediate family chain migration, revision of present amnesty laws, a requirement that immigrants have some skills necessary to support themselves, an end to the visa lottery, priority for those proficient in English or committed to learn it, and fair allocation of permits to most prospective countries of origin.

 

All immigrants should expect to declare loyalty to the United States upon arrival and commit to becoming citizens.

 

Why Congress and our presidents have made no serious effort to do this since the Clinton Administration is beyond understanding. They should all be sent home for this. The American people want this solved, and our present laws encourage illegal entry.

 

Other responsibility certainly lies in the home countries of the immigrants. Corrupt, often insolvent governments where the leaders show no concern for their citizens, and even require large payments for those who wish to emigrate, leave people with no hope of improvement in their lives. The poor often have no affordable way to emigrate legally.

 

President Trump’s threat to withhold American aid is a reminder to consider the question of why we are giving money to corrupt governments with no benefit to needy citizens.

 

We have quite a history of doing this, often to make specific deals rather than provide benefit to their people

 

We gave money to Egypt under Hosni Mubarak, who enriched himself at the expense of the Egyptian people. Our money went to the Egyptian military, the deal being an agreement not to attack Israel, while the poor of Cairo died from liver flukes from the water system, and trash piled up in the streets.

 

Long ago, we funded Ferdinand Marcos, the incredibly corrupt president of the Philippines. The deal that time was to keep our military bases there. The U.S. once paid three times for the upgrade of a mountain road between the San Miguel Communications Station and Subic Bay Naval Station, whose shipyards employed many Filipino civilians. After paying twice, the Americans said we would build the road ourselves, but Filipino authorities promised to build it if we paid the third time, and they did.

 

There are many examples of these choices by our government and, occasionally, a deal might be necessary, but giving aid to corrupt governments who exploit their own people is not an appropriate use of taxpayer funds. It also increases, rather than decreasing, our illegal immigration problem.

 

In South and Central America, we should make our money count. We should direct how the money is spent, demand an end to government corruption, and champion the right of citizens to fair treatment, job opportunities and infrastructure improvements, including such things as running water, electricity and reasonable roads.

 

Their truly needy people, who know through social media and mass communications what they are missing, naturally want to come here in the hope of a better life and more opportunity.

 

We could even use foreign aid to support ex-patriot worker programs, managed by local governments, so that people could come here temporarily, or work elsewhere, thus continuing the flow of money to families at home. It’s been done quite successfully before.

 

The causes of the current migration to our country from the south are complicated. We must insist that our leaders take the steps necessary to secure our country’s borders and use our money and influence to limit the pressures that cause so many to come.

 

As for the caravan, it must be stopped. In the end, if we don’t, lawless mass migration lies in our future.

 

patriciaklly@aol.com

 



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