Border Battle Belligerence: The Humanitarian Crisis Continues
WHERE WE ARE
The American people are owed a solution to this continuing problem, and it is one that congress seems to need to be dragged kicking and screaming to provide.
This is a difficult problem to speak about, both personally and professionally, due to the nature of our organization. Despite that, I will endeavor my best to keep any perceived support or denunciation of any party or parties out of this discussion, and focus as best I can, solely on the facts of the matter, as well as what solutions I feel ought to be brought about to fix this crisis, if any. But before I delve into that, allow me to provide some historical context for our international audience:
HOW WE GOT HERE
While it is in dispute when exactly the first of several migrant caravans from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador started marching north to the US border, as this activity has been apparently occurring for years in smaller scale, the first one of significant note started on March 25th, 2018. Comprised of approximately 700 migrants, most of whom were from Honduras, By April 29th, the caravan had arrived in Friendship Park at the US/Mexico border in Tijuana. Of the 1200 who had once made up the caravan, only 150 remained.
This coincides with illegal attempts to cross the border tripling in the same time-frame, according to CNBC.
Since then, several more caravans have sprung up, the largest documented one taking place in October of last year. From October 12th to November 15th, upwards of some six thousand migrants made their way to Mexico, with only 1,500 arriving in Tijuana to seek legal asylum at the border.
For those wondering where the others went, we can only speculate, but I would like to share with you some data.
From this graphic, we can see that from 2014 on, we have had limited amounts of immigration, relative to what we otherwise have had in the past, aside from the larger spike at the end of 2017.
However, this year marks an exceedingly dramatic change in that trend.
In an 8 month period, the US has exceeded the total amount of illegal alien apprehension that the nearest year of comparison took for its entire year, by more than another entire peak month’s worth of apprehensions.
May 2019 has seen more than double the apprehensions of any other month in the past five years, excluding the three months preceding it, all of which were record months of apprehensions on their own.
This is, possibly, due to more security being present at the border to make apprehensions, but I would also argue that if that were true, I think we would likely have seen the spike tick up earlier in 2018 when the National Guard were first mobilized to help handle the crisis.
WHAT’S BEING DONE?
I think it safely goes without saying that despite what some may believe, that this crisis is “manufactured” as some are claiming, the numbers suggest a wholly different picture, which is perhaps why even mainstream news publications, the very same that were once happy to challenge the sitting President on his position regarding this issue, have since changed their tune to the reality of the situation.
Much ado has been made about how to help, what must be done to help, and what forces must be mobilized to do so. Many folks in congress, however, who are far removed from the struggles of those who live in border cities like El Paso and Yuma, seem content to ignore the problem, or claim that the systems that the US uses to vet immigrants are inhumane, and that the migrants ought to be treated with empathy, while also refusing to sign off on any funding that would help go to housing those migrants as they’re processed.
A recent bill that was floated by the US Senate, to give the Department of Homeland Security, The Department of Health and Human Safety and other organizations some 4.5 (later increased to 4.9) billion to deal with the humanitarian issue, of which 2.9 billion was set aside for care of migrant children. However, it seems for some reason to be being dramatically opposed by certain members of the House, who have proposed their own bill that undercuts what was already agreed upon by the senate.
Why they would be so opposed to this funding, when none of it is directed at wall-funding, the primary cause of most apprehension for the border crisis and the fight around it, seems rather baffling. That people can, on one hand, claim that people deserve empathy, and yet on the other, refuse them being provided that empathy in order to win political points with the uninformed, is in my opinion both narcissistic, and frankly misanthropic behavior.
However, regardless of what side of this conflict you find yourself on, surely we must all realize that this spells trouble for the Southern Border of the United States, and that measures must be taken sooner, rather than later, to address it. To treat this as a non-issue is to be blind to the reality of the suffering of those who are attempting to navigate their way through the immigration system, as well as those who must deal with the growing tide of illegal immigrants flooding their hometowns, bringing whatever problems they have come with to the doorsteps of others who did not ask for them.
It is unfair to both parties to treat this as anything other than it is: a humanitarian crisis, a crisis of rights, and an abject failure of government to respond appropriately thus far. The response to this issue must be swift, well-planned, and built around solving the cause of the migrant tide, not just the symptoms; it must help restore the rights of, and also address the needs of those displaced from their own country, or else they will simply keep coming.
WHAT ELSE COULD BE DONE?
Many of these issues seem to stem from food shortages, as well as an uptick in violence in Honduras and El Salvador, problems that are not easily solved. A suggestion I have heard, and that I would like to float, is something similar to the DREAM act, which some may balk at, but before doing so, I would at least ask you hear me out.
Clearly, since violence and crop shortages are a big issue for these areas, what is needed is a trained force that can deal with the increase of gangs in the area who have been causing these issues, as well as engineers who can create solutions to the crop shortages, consistent with the technology available to help feed the people of the area.
What I would like to propose is a path to citizenship and a plan to deal with these issues, wherein we offer those who wish it, the chance to train with a special branch of the U.S. military. Those who accept will be taught the necessary skills to fight and reclaim their homeland from the violence that has taken over, as well as be provided with agricultural engineering training so as to help solve the rampant issues around crop shortages.
At the end of the agreed upon years of service, they may then be given the option of either returning to their liberated homeland, or, be given citizenship in America if they so wish. Of course, while serving this term in the army, they will be expected to study and pass all citizenship tests normally required to become a citizen of the United States if they wish to remain.
I understand it will be a costly solution, that training of this nature does not come cheap, but I would posit that this might be a better long-term solution to regional stability than simply dealing with the migrants as they continue to stream towards the border. It would also ensure that the relations between Mexico and the United States do not further strain.
If the cost need be subsidized, perhaps a joint, unilateral agreement with other North American countries, or the UN might be suggested, though the scope of that might exceed reason and cause other complications as a result. These are factors that would bear some discussion.
Ultimately, whether you agree or disagree with this proposal, there are challenges that must be dealt with, and if we can’t agree on something, things are only going to continue to worsen. You can’t put a band-aid over a gushing wound and hope that will solve the problem.