The Real Sad Facts About the Migrant Issue

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryWhen I hear some of the ugliest political rhetoric coming out of the Republican Party about what they think the migrants are, it makes me cringe to say the least. There are so many extreme right wing elements in our society who think that the whole world wants to get into the United States illegally through the southern border that they call it an “invasion.” This is pure non-sense, and totally detracts from what is really going on. Right wing news media sources, such as Fox News and Newsmax, liken the issue to an “invasion from China” or a “serious border breach and war against the United States.” These same outlets are calling for the whole border to be militarized. These measures will not only not help the situation, but will not change why peoples from wherever they are coming from to come to the United States.

First, we should be clear where most of the people to the U.S.-Mexico border are coming from. They are coming from Mexico (mostly the southern states), Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Cuba, Haiti, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela. This is based on U.S. Border Patrol apprehensions at the border. The reasons why from these countries is entirely understandable. Venezuela is a failed nation state. Nicaragua and Cuba are brutal dictatorships. Guatemala and Honduras as well as Ecuador are having serious poverty and political instability issues. Haiti is a total basket case. Given what is going on in these countries, if I was a resident of these countries I might head for the United States too. We are talking about poor, desperate people who may have lost loved ones due to government repression, gang violence, or lack of health care. If Venezuelan hospitals cannot even supply aspirin for their patients, then you know things are bad.

Even if American streets are not paved with gold, these migrants would prefer an American street no matter what condition it is in compared to where they came from. As hard and desperate as these people are, I estimate 95 percent of all of them will have their applications rejected by U.S. immigration because they will not meet the criteria for political asylum. They may be sent back to their country of origin, or to Mexico because their country of origin will not accept them back or U.S. immigration will deem their countries too dangerous to be returned to. If they go to Mexico, they may try again to return to the United States. It is a tragedy more than anything which seems to have no real solution (unless these governments become stable or democracies). The remaining 5 percent will be allowed to stay on certain conditions.

Many of the Republican-run states on the U.S.-Mexico border have made it clear they for the most part do not want most of the migrants, and are sending them to northern, mostly Democrat-run, states far from the border. This creates two major problems. First, the border states are usurping federal authority of the U.S.-Mexico border. The federal government should be the final authority that deals with the situation. For individual states taking on this authority is unconstitutional. Second, sending these poor unfortunate people to northern states (where almost none of them want to be) is just plain cruel. If any of these people are able to to get out of the internment camps legally, they will most likely head for the southern states where they might have family or relatives. However, as has been seen in a growing number of cases, many of these migrants cannot get to their destinations due to lack of money and so they are stuck in states like Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, etc. Because of this, many of the locals are incensed to see these poor people in their midst.

And this is where politics is coming into play. A growing number of Republican candidates are playing both the immigrant and race cards to gain votes. This only turns up the hatred level against people who did no real harm to Americans. My own wife, who is Korean, has been affected by this racial hatred even in Illinois. This election cycle has been getting pretty ugly, and the politicians are using it as a weapon rather than finding ways to deal with the people in Latin America and the Caribbean trying to escape poverty and repression. I just find it all sad that our country is descending into an extreme out-of-control spiral of political partisanship that could do damage to America for a generation.

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