If we are honest and avoid shifting blame, we will see that America itself is most of the cause of any immigration problems certain politicians are making noise about.
The US fully supports (yes, both Obama and now Trump) oppressive, thuggish regimes in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras who threaten, imprison and kill their own citizens and are nowhere near democratic.
U.S. policy in Honduras has driven immigrants to leave their home country and go north to the U.S. This is a long-term problem. U.S. foreign policy over a century has affected immigration from the countries America exploits.
Mexico just elected a moderate Democratic-Socialist leader who wants to do some things for the Mexican people (not just the oligarchs). If we let him, more Mexicans could possibly have a decent life there, and have something to stay for, instead of fleeing north.
But it would be normal for the US to find ways to interfere with Mexico’s socialist-populist reform efforts, if they hurt American profits in any way. We will see.
This is true of other countries as well -If America could let the people there live a decent, self-supporting life, then they would have no reason to uproot their families and leave on the perilous journey north.
Trade Policy Is a Big Driver of Immigration
NAFTA (passed by an alliance of Republicans and Clinton-Democrats) destroyed the ability of millions of small farmers who could modestly support their families by selling their produce in local markets.
NAFTA allowed big industrial agricultural corporations in America to flood Mexico with cheap produce and put those small farmers out of business.
Millions were compelled to leave Mexico in the late 1990s and flee north, fueling the rapid flow of undocumented immigration at that time.
NAFTA is a perfect example of how neoliberal pro-corporate policy can have an adverse affect on immigration.
The Drug War Has Been a Giant Driver of Asylum-Seekers
Central America’s current drug-gang cartels started right here in America, and were seeded by the deportation of hard-core gang members in the 1980s/1990s.
By themselves, those deportations wouldn’t have been enough to create the current level of problems. But the huge volumes of drugs that flow North, combined with the large amounts of money and arms that flow South, over decades, has cultivated and nurtured those gangs into some of today’s most deadly and powerful cartels.
These are the same cartels that kill and threaten citizens in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and drive them north to escape being attacked or murdered.
Right now, 2 countries that do not yet send a large flow of immigrants north are Venezuela and Nicaragua. But wealthy corporate forces have a financial interest in de-stabilization and regime-change in those countries. They are already at work doing just that, although progress has thankfully been slow. So far, immigration from those 2 countries is still very low.
However, such de-stabilization, if continued, will likely result in those 2 countries having leaders installed who will oppress their own people, degrade the standard-of-living for average citizens in those countries, and drive millions more of them north to America in a desperate flight for survival.
This is the established pattern in a group of Central American countries. And, let’s not pretend otherwise -America is in the driver’s seat.
We need to stop talking about immigration as a separate issue, all by itself, because it’s not
It’s time to start talking about immigration in terms of the several other major issues that affect it.
America could cut immigration back hugely by just being a decent country to others, actually promoting Democracy (like it always SAYS it does) and not being such a bad influence on other countries in its sphere, in order to gain economic or other favors with oppressive ruling elites.
America could stop supporting cruel oligarchs who give American corporations sweetheart deals, and start supporting popular leaders who sincerely seek to improve the standard-of-living in their country.
America could stop pursuing trade deals that by design, hurt average citizens in many countries (including America) in order to enrich international investors and business owners.
America could end the Drug War once and for all, and stem much of the flow of drugs going north, money and guns going south.
America should stop reflexively attacking other countries in its sphere for the ”crime” of seeking mild socialistic policies that benefit regular people in those countries (in terms of education, healthcare, and decent infrastructure).
These policies can create more stability and make those countries more desirable to live in, resulting in decreased immigration. That’s a no-brainer. Or at least it should be.
Many of America’s policies, basically, in total, constitute immigration-driving bad behavior by the dominant player in this hemisphere.
But let’s face it—Bad behavior makes money for our ruling wealthy elites. That’s why America does it. So this horror will probably just keep on going. Until we seriously question and re-evaluate those other policies, you can forget about finding a real solution to any problems America may have with immigration.