Immigrants on the United States southern border is not anything new. Also not new is the current response. Growing up around migrant field workers in Indiana I saw how hard these immigrants worked. As I started to learn their stories when I got older, I started to realize that many came here for what they perceived as a better life. Even when I was younger, there was the erroneous idea that they would take American jobs, commit crimes, and be a drain on the social systems in the US.
Sound familiar? It is the same rhetoric that the extreme right and Donald Trump used during the 2016 election cycle and continues with the conservative population. While some think the attitude comes from prejudice (and much of it does), a deep seated fear is more the reason. A fear of change. A fear of the unknown. Deep seated fears that have been fed to the American public in media, political propaganda, and cultural misunderstanding. So this article is to try and alleviate some of that.
I am not naive enough to believe that one article (after millions of others) would have any real impact. And this article, while going to the general public for view, will essentially be for the Christian Right that has gone off track over the last few decades. Especially those that believe former President Trump is the chosen savior for America. Because somewhere along the way, while the liberal Christian has been accepting sin into its ranks, the conservative Christian has forgotten the teachings of the Christ they are claiming to follow.
This article will be less ‘in your face’ and more educational. It will take into account some of the actions that led to the masses at the US southern border, the legal aspect of those trying to enter (whether by legal means or just crossing), Human Rights, and Christian principles and doctrine. This is a combination of Human Rights and Christian faith issue.
Having watched a HIAS online meeting, I was intrigued at how those seeking a better life are treated on the journey and at the border. As well as independent study and research on core causes in the various nations that caused these sojourners to face the trip. Because, let’s me honest. The intervention in foreign areas by US administrations has helped lead to the crisis we now face. And let me make this point clear, The crisis is not one of an influx of undesirables, it is a HUMANITARIAN crisis that the US is partly responsible for.
\According to the Pew Research Center (Gramlich & Scheller, 2021), the majority of those coming to gain access to the US are from areas that generally did not come to the border in large numbers. From 2020 to 2021 fiscal years. Places like Ecuador, Brazil, and Venezuela saw massive increases. Cuba and Haiti are on that list as well, but each of these can be talked about somewhat separately.
Those seeking to escape Cuba have generally done so by water. There used be a policy named the dry foot/wet foot policy. Is simple terms, if a Cuban national could make it to the shore with one hand before being caught by the Coast Guard, they made it. Not that they could immediately go on their way, but they would be received as asylum seekers and given protection pending the results of their applications. Currently, Haiti has had to recover from natural disasters that came close to eliminating the population and political assassination. This two nations have had a long history of their nationals being in the US.
With the nations of Central and South America, the reasons for wishing to emigrate to the US, either through asylum or not, are because of issues like extreme violence and death squads/cartels, the massive failures of socialism, food insecurities, etc. Some of this is why I said that the US has played a role in countries of origin in relation to the crisis we now see at the border.
It should be pointed out, that many seeking entry to the US from these regions have family already in the US. That being said, Let’s look at a couple countries and the reasons they choose to travel to the US with hope.
Let’s look at Ecuador. In 2021, there were 95,692 encounters with immigrants from Ecuador at the US. That was a jump of about 75,000 since 2020. If you remember, 2020 was the emergence of COVID globally. This health crisis weakened an already down turned economy. Corruption is rampant, and there were issues of extreme violence.
How does the US play into this. The drug wars and economics. The US and Ecuador have been partners int the war against the cartels since the 20th century. This resulted in extreme violence for the cartels, corruption by officials, and death squads (Gorder, 2022). As the cartels grew financially, the economics of the country led officials and law enforcement to go deeper into corruption. Things such as giving arms to the cartels. Imagine being the target of a death squad. And history shows that the intended target also endangers family and friends. Not only in country, but can happen elsewhere. The US also has a main interest in Ecuador’s petroleum, as well as a few other exports like cocoa.
Just a quick look directly south of the border in Mexico. Here, like many nations south of the US, Mexico has a major issue with drug cartels. The US drug war. And their involvement in fighting the cartels of Mexico has led to US expats or travelers being attacked and killed Thompson, 2017). So many of the issues that drive these people to the US border were driven here in part by the US involvement.
As I said earlier, I listen to or watch HIAS information meetings. They work with various refugees and asylum seekers and work on both sides of the border. They provide shelter, health aid, violence prevention, legal aid, and etc to those seeking entry into the US, usually as asylum seekers and the displaced (HIAS, 2022).
There are 2 programs that is used for those seeking asylum. The first is the Migrant Protection Protocols (MMP) or the stay in Mexico program. Essentially, this program was designed to allow migrants to stay in Mexico while their entry case is being heard and decided. However, this makes them vulnerable to attacks and sickness. Local thugs or cartel members have been known to obtain information on the waiting migrants from corrupt local officials. This leads to harassment, attack or worse.
The Supreme Court has determined that the Biden Administration can end MPP in October of this year. But in the mean time, actions by US state officials, like Gov. Abbott of Texas, have decided that he will take the matter in his own hands. He has transported immigrants to DC as well as called up the TXNG to transport immigrants back to the crossings. The issue with this is simple. THE IMMIGRANTS NEED TO BE ON U.S. SOIL TO APPLY FOR ASYLUM.
This also is an issue with Title 42, enacted by Trump. Originally adopted in WW2, Title 42 is a health code to prevent health issues from crossing the borders of the US. Former President Trump re-enacted this to stall Covid carrying immigrants from crossing the border. However, it was all encompassing and used the health provision to stop ALL immigrants from crossing the border, sick or not.
This enactment of Title 42 was to end in May of this year. In May, Federal Judge Summerhays, appointed to Louisiana by Former President Trump, blocked the Biden Administration from lifting the order (Garcia, 2022). His reasoning was violation of administrative law. This violation? The lifting of the program would cause “irreparable harm because the states would have to spend money on health care, law enforcement, education and other services for migrants”. It is expected that the suit filed by the DOJ in the 5thCircuit Court of Appeals will be accepted and the program will be lifted. It is undetermined how long this ruling may take.
For further details on the results of forced remain in Mexico and non-hearing deportations can be found at HIAS website article list at https://www.hias.org/tagged/us-border-response.
My belief is simple. To ease and cure this problem we should take a page from the EU’s book. Create an open border policy from the tip of South America to most northern point of North America and include all non-European controlled islands in the areas surrounding these continents. It would allow free movement, fair trade initiatives, and bolster the economies and societies of each. Each Country still soveriegn, but working together to ensure Human Rights and aid criminal investigation and prosecution within the confines of this American union border.
The reason I called out the Christian Conservatives that believe these actions are appropriate, forget the teachings of the Old Testament and the teachings of Christ.
And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him(LEV 19:33).
For I was an hungry, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungry, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:35-40)
Corrupt Security Services worsen Ecuador’s murder problem. InSight Crime. (2022, June 1). Retrieved July 13, 2022, from https://insightcrime.org/news/corrupt-security-services-worsen-ecuadors-murder-problem/
García, U. J. (2022, May 20). Judge Blocks Biden administration from lifting public health order used to quickly expel migrants. The Texas Tribune. Retrieved July 13, 2022, from https://www.texastribune.org/2022/05/20/title-42-border-judge-ruling-migrants/
Gramlich, J., & Scheller, A. (2021, November 12). What’s happening at the U.S.-Mexico border in 7 charts. Pew Research Center. Retrieved July 13, 2022, from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/11/09/whats-happening-at-the-u-s-mexico-border-in-7-charts/
Thompson, G. (2017, June 12). How the U.S. triggered a massacre in Mexico. ProPublica. Retrieved July 13, 2022, from https://www.propublica.org/article/allende-zetas-cartel-massacre-and-the-us-dea