Last week, the Biden Administration announced immigration policies that would make it virtually impossible for migrants at the southern border to seek asylum in the United States. Among the new — and unlawful — policies is the requirement that asylum-seekers show they have applied for asylum in one of the countries they have traveled through. But, according to international law, applying for asylum in one country disqualifies a refugee from seeking asylum in a second country, such as the United States. Places like Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua are not safe for refugees, and processing asylum claims can take years. The Administration’s cruel Catch 22 will cost many lives and require Central America and Mexico to assume even more responsibility for problems created by the United States itself.
The new policies serve the political interests of a few, but put off the inevitable for everyone else. Worldwide, more than 100 million people have been displaced from climate change, wars, and the destruction of local economies brought about by global corporatization. And the numbers are growing. Biden’s policies could set the stage for more xenophobia worldwide, and, under the circumstances, closed borders is not a sustainable immigration policy. In the meantime, the US is creating the conditions for more kidnappings, slavery, drug trade, and poverty.
In 2015, Germany took in a million Syrian refugees — 1.2% of Germany’s population (1.2% of the US population is almost 4 million people). Chancellor Angela Merkel famously said of her policy decision, “Wir shaffen das.” We can do this. And they did.
Like Germany, the US has the resources and it needs workers. The US knows how to get stuff done. You give people housing in communities where population is falling. You teach them English and give them jobs according to their abilities. For the longer term problems, you stop supporting corporate corruption and endless wars all over the globe. You stop subsidizing oil and gas companies. You protect local farming from corporate exploitation. You embargo corporations that enslave people, and require them to pay living wages so young people don’t resort to the drug trade.
Imagine waking up one morning to a United States president saying “We are a rich country and a leader to all the world. We have a responsibility to help people fleeing violence and the devastation of their natural environments. Yes, it will require us to rethink our priorities but we can do this.”
Meaning, si se puede.
Politico published an article today worth reading on the relationship between Biden’s climate initiatives being thwarted by his own immigration policies. https://www.politico.com/news/2023/03/06/biden-climate-program-immigration-00085663
I’m glad someone did that — everything is connected in this world. But then, I don’t believe Biden has a genuine climate initiative. Everything he presents to the public is offset by the things he does quietly.
Kim, thanks for raising this issue that appears to have no solution. I agree with all the proposals you’ve made. I see a future when our southern borders will become a vast refugee encampment.
Yes, there are already more than 200,000 at the US border, straining Mexican resources and making victims of desperate people. Biden just kicking the can down the road….
Thank you for this Kim. I reposted this and pointed out that we may as well take the Statue of Liberty down. If we can do nothing else we can make others aware.
Indeed. That reminds me of the Paul Simon song: High up above, my eyes could clearly see the Statue of Liberty sailing away to sea…
Bravo Kimmie! I certainly have not read this level of political editorial in any previous blogs. I applaud you for your clear thinking and stepping out on this crucial issue.
Thanks Belle. I hesitated….but my San Miguel friend Bonnie told me to push the button. xoxo
And now the New York government will take even more refugees and dump them at the Canadian border, knowing we will grant them asylum.
I hope you are right but Canada has a “safe third country” policy so an asylum seeker who has made it into the US doesn’t qualify to seek asylum in Canada.
This is an excellent summary of this tragic and monumental problem.We need a guest worker program and a Marshall Plan for Central America, like after WWII when we helped rebuild Germany. Where is the enlightened leadership we need? — Thank you so much for this Kim!
Exactly! The US has done this before.