Approaching the border surge with the same valueless politics will only lead to more calamity

Seth Sidney Berry / SOPA Images via Zuma Press

Unremarkably, and as it’s so often the case, trying to make the recent surge of border crossings all about the policy of one administration to another is a foreboding oversight. With that said, I’ll never stop harping on the failure and inhumane policy of the Trump administration — their policy was a human rights ignominy.

To understand the complexities of the current crisis, we must understand that it’s not all that multifarious, after all. When you pull back the curtain on what’s happening, it’s not hard to realize, at the core, that bad policy isn’t the only reason why the surge has hastened, and why the desperation of Central Americans has increased. Fundamentally, it’s the word itself: desperation.

In a piece in the New York Times, Natalie Kitroeff seemingly personifies the very picture in which we find ourselves: Climate change, corruption, and hopelessness; three critically formidable revelations.

“People aren’t migrating; they’re fleeing,” said César Ramos, of the Mennonite Social Action Commission, a group providing aid to people affected by the storms. “These people have lost everything, even their hope.”

President Biden has insisted that the recent increase in migration to the United States is nothing out of the ordinary, just another peak in a long history of them, especially in months when the desert along the U.S.-Mexico border is cooler and more passable.

“It happens every single, solitary year,” Mr. Biden said in a news conference last month. “There is a significant increase in the number of people coming to the border in the winter months.”

But last month, apprehensions at the southwest border of the United States hit a 15-year high, part of a sharp uptick since Mr. Biden took office. (Kitroeff, NYT, 4/6/21).

And…

The warning barely registers in parts of Honduras like Chamelecón, a sector of San Pedro Sula that is overrun by gangs and was pounded by both storms. Survivors of the disaster say they have no choice at all.

Months after the hurricanes, houses remain underwater. Gaping holes have replaced bridges. Thousands of people are still displaced, living in shelters or on the street. Hunger is stalking them.

“I never wanted to do this,” said Ana Hernández, clutching her 11-year-old son’s hand at a gas station in San Pedro Sula, the economic capital of Honduras. “The situation is forcing me to. You get to a point where you don’t have anything to give them to eat.”

Every night, busloads of people leave from the spot where she stood, many heading to Guatemala on the first leg of their journey to the United States. Ms. Hernández bought her tickets after months living in the carcass of her home, wrecked by the storms. (Kitroeff, NYT, 4/6/21).

Simply put, if you have nothing; if you have no hope; you then have nothing to lose. If you are faced with a corrupt and malignant government, only satisfied with children sleeping on mattresses in the dirt, and not being able to afford rice and beans, unless they sell parts of their house, then you do whatever it takes to find a better life; because nothing else matters except death itself. For our U.S. government over the last decade (both Democrat and Republican) to ignore this great injustice is both iniquitous and erroneous.

This country is full of money, power, and influence. We can spend trillions in the Middle East and not make a dent in the dysfunction; we can’t even reach a compromise after all that money spent. Instead, we wonder, almost ubiquitously, why one party or another doesn’t just fix the problem?

I am not so naïve to understand that Biden knows how to play politics, as he has said one thing to tame Republican discontent, but he has also stated the obvious. This is paraphrased, but it was something like: Do you think these families sit around at the table at night and say, “Oh boy, let’s talk to a coyote and smuggle ourselves into the U.S. Of course they don’t want to leave their country.”

People smugglers are already taking advantage of Mr. Biden’s presence in the White House to win new customers. Moving swiftly and loudly, Mr. Biden undid many of the harsh immigration policies pioneered by his predecessor.

Human traffickers in Honduras are enticing clients by promising a much easier journey north, touting Mr. Biden’s refusal to immediately expel children at the border and making grand promises about how friendly the new administration will be, according to interviews with smugglers.

One trafficker outlined his latest pitch to Honduran families thinking about leaving: “They opened everything back up, now you can get in again,” he said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the illegal nature of his work. “If they catch you, they send you to Mexico. It’s not like before, where they sent you back to your country.”

He added that since Mr. Biden’s inauguration, he had sneaked 75 people across the American border illegally.

“Because of the new president, they are opening more doors,” he said. “It’s a free market. That’s how we see it.”

But rather than point to Mr. Biden, many Hondurans first blurt out their own president’s name as a reason to leave home. (Kitroeff, NYT, 4/6/21).

Here’s the thing; it’s not as subjective as most make it out to be. You can’t compare the Trump administration policy to the Biden administration, and we all know that. Trump took the merciless road, further ruined thousands of lives of families, and the corrupt governments in these countries gleefully ignored the welfare of their citizens. Biden is offering a humane approach, and a lawful pathway; a policy that is practical and necessary. In return, however, the immoral government bureaucrats and smugglers salivate, knowing demand to further the chaos and reap the financial gains will increase.

What’s the solution? Like I wrote from the outset; we need to put the clamps on these destructive and inefficient government bureaucracies. They may see it as infringement; I see it as obligatory. It’s not realistic to assume we can just allow things to continue in this direction; why should we? We also know we can’t just give money to these countries and suppose anything other than corruption will continue on and on. I feel as though we don’t have to fear the imposition of a war-like conflict; these countries just don’t have it in them for that, and they don’t have the resources. We are not fighting ISIS or the Taliban; we are fighting cowards who are content with putting degeneracy and money above the welfare of their citizens.

Finally, from Kitroeff:

“It’s the sadness, the disappointment that hits you,” Ms. Flores said, “It’s very hard to see your home buried. I had nothing left.”

Perhaps it’s time to shake the ineptitude and dysfunction of American political subservience and actually do something; at least I’m staying hopeful, but certainly apprehensive…

Works Cited:

1. Kitroeff, Natalie. ‘We Are Doomed’: Devastation From Storms Fuels Migration in Honduras.” April 6, 2021. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/06/world/americas/migration-honduras-central-america.html?referrer=masthead. Accessed April 14, 2021.

CA-based, perpetually hopeful for the progress of society… Follow me on Twitter @andrewnintzel22

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store