Immigration Crisis

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Immigration Crisis

Postby KeithE » Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:18 am

Moving this topic over from SBC Trends:

WHAT’S THE REAL REFUGEE DEBATE ABOUT?

Facts from article:
The “surge” began in 2011 but hit a crisis point this year
-The current crisis stems from the fact that more children are going from Central America to countries throughout the region
-Some of the children have parents in the US; some of them don’t
-Mexican children can just be turned back at the border — and many want to start turning back Central American children, too
-Congress set the rules on dealing with child migrants under the Bush administration
-Border Patrol is under the most strain in dealing with child migrants
-The agency responsible for long-term care is dealing with over six times as many children as they have beds for
-The government uses immigration court to figure out which children are eligible to stay and which aren’t
-At least half of Central American child migrants should qualify for some form of humanitarian legal status
-About half of all kids are ultimately allowed to stay — but very few of them are physically being deported
-There’s an additional crisis of families coming over into Texas
-For now, the government is detaining families en masse while they wait for their hearings
-The Obama administration’s goal is to speed up deportations by making the existing process go faster
-It’s not clear that the crisis can be resolved through “deterrence”


Image

Amy Goodman points out the humanitarian issue involved in They Don’t Speak English, But They Understand Hate
The latest victims are the children seeking safety, who are instead being cruelly warehoused, shipped past threatening mobs of anti-immigrant extremists and deported back to life-threatening situations.


Part of the blame is linked to past meddling in Central American governance:

The United States has a long and sadly bloody history of destabilizing democratic governments in the very countries that are now the sources of this latest wave of migration: most notably in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. In the 1980s and 1990s, U.S.-supported military regimes and paramilitaries killed hundreds of thousands of citizens in those countries. The drug cartels of today are the inheritors of that culture of violence. In Honduras, the U.S. supported the 2009 coup d’etat against democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. After he was deposed, two successive U.S.-supported regimes have contributed to what University of California professor Dana Frank calls “worsening violence and anarchy.”


My opinions:
1) Those that are upset about immigrants in general do so because:
----- a) they believe it is sapping economic resources from Americans across the wealth spectrum. Would that they see how the proverbial 1% has sapped the economic strength from the 80% bottom of Americans over the last 30 years.
----- b) some fear of American culture will be adversely affected by children coming from a violent culture. Would that they see how American culture has grown in violence (although to a lesser extent).

2) This belief and fear is being demagogued for votes, thus unlikely to be addressed as long as there is an election within a two year period (that is never, unless Americans recognize the demagoguery and reject it)

3) I agree with Pope Francis on the immediate actions required:

All sides should heed to message of Pope Francis this week. Referring to the “tens of thousands of children who migrate alone, unaccompanied, to escape poverty and violence,” he said, “This humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcomed and protected.” The pope went on to make another key point: “These measures, however, will not be sufficient, unless they are accompanied by policies that inform people about the dangers of such a journey and, above all, that promote development in their countries of origin.”
underlines mine.
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Re: Immigration Crisis

Postby Dave Roberts » Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:52 am

Add to this that the drug appetite in our country has fueled the violence from which they are fleeing. We might do better stopping drugs than stopping children. After all, they are fleeing to us from what we have brought into their countries.
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Re: Immigration Crisis

Postby Lou » Fri Jul 18, 2014 9:43 am

Great posts, Keith and Dave. This is an issue at which I part company with many of my more politically conservative friends. Having traveled a bit in Central America (6 trips to Guatemala, 2 to Honduras, once in Costa Rica), I've seen first-hand the grinding poverty and daily violence that people of all ages are trying to escape as they flee northward to the U.S. I've handed out food to people who live and scavenge rotting food in the city garbage dump in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I've seen the women who live in that garbage dump who prostitute themselves to any takers for the equivalent of 15 cents, which is the amount they'd receive from collecting and selling plastic bottles for one day. Honduras has the highest per capita murder rate in the world; who wouldn't want to escape that?

Certainly the U.S. cannot be blamed for everything bad in Central America, but we need to be willing to acknowledge and accept the blame for our part in the mess. For a deeper understanding of how U.S. foreign policy has initiated and/or perpetuated some of the chaos in Central America, I recommend the book "Bitter Fruit" by Schlesinger, which gives extensive history of the U.S.-backed coup in Guatemala during the Eisenhower administration, and traces how that event continues to have repercussions to this day.

For a human face on the immigration crisis, try Sonia Nazario's "Enrique's Journey," which traces the harrowing true journey of a Honduran teenage boy who makes his way northward to the U.S. to try and find his mother who is living in the U.S.

As Christians, we ought to be asking big and spiritually-probing questions--the answers to which frequently cut across the grain of party politics. When I stand before my Lord on the day of judgment, I seriously doubt that He is going to ask me, "What did you do to keep people from coming illegally into your country?" I do suspect, however, that He will ask me, "How did you treat those people once they got to your country?"
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Re: Immigration Crisis

Postby Sandy » Fri Jul 18, 2014 11:01 am

I've been in Honduras and Guatemala, and in fact, spent a week in San Pedro Sula, Honduras about 15 years ago. The poverty was shocking. Since then, the gang violence has escalated out of control. I'm not sure whether that's due to US foreign policy, or just the decline of a culture over-run by corruption and poverty, but the fact that a number of American corporations extract significant wealth out of Honduras, and profit from the cheap labor which results from the poverty and deprivation, probably contributes to its continuing. Kids don't get an education because they work, which keeps the cycle going.

I find the protests, mostly by political and religious conservatives, to be quite hypocritical. I consider it a foundational American principle, one of those formational philosophies that are attributed to the strong Christian influence in the founding of this country, that is expressed in the inscription on the Statue of Liberty, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free..." For those who are lip flapping about "getting our country back", filing a lawsuit against the President focused on his immigration policy that reflects this foundational principle is idiocy. The "legal" pathway to entry into this country is a catacomb of onerous regulations and rules, designed to filter out the "tired and poor" and makes it virtually impossible for Central Americans and Mexicans to enter the country legally. Desperate people do desperate things, and the lack of humanity that is being exhibited now against the children of people desperate for freedom and a real life is appalling, as is the ignorance of the protestors of this country's history, and its principles. Prosperous Americans are doing this because they love money and want to make sure that no one else competes for their share of it. I thought the love of money was the root of all evil, and greed was a sin. That looks like denial of Biblical truth to me.

I am glad to see that there are some Christians who recognize this for what it is, and have stepped up to provide the food, clothing, housing, and other assistance that is necessary to care for the kids and refugees while their fate is in the hands of horses' rear ends like John Boehner.
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Re: Immigration Crisis

Postby Dave Roberts » Sat Jul 19, 2014 3:48 pm

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Re: Immigration Crisis

Postby Sandy » Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:32 am

I'm glad to see that he tactfully, subtly, but firmly called out the preacher who "should have known better" than to fret about the sanctity of our borders over our concern for children.

Watching Sunday morning news programs, it is sickening to see American politicians, most of them tea partiers and conservatives, attempting to turn a political advantage out of grave situations that involve human suffering. It is inconceivable to me that a Baptist pastor, who claims belief in and knowledge of the BIble, would take such a position.
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Re: Immigration Crisis

Postby Haruo » Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:10 pm

Sandy wrote:I find the protests, mostly by political and religious conservatives, to be quite hypocritical. I consider it a foundational American principle, one of those formational philosophies that are attributed to the strong Christian influence in the founding of this country, that is expressed in the inscription on the Statue of Liberty, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free..."

Me, too. I find it hard to imagine a more "un-American" orientation than a desire to drastically curtail or eliminate immigration, or to limit it to those with high-tech and medical skills we need. It astounds me that this sort of jingoism has such an easy time in the dumbed-down marketplace of ideas.
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Re: Immigration Crisis

Postby Dave Roberts » Wed Jul 23, 2014 7:50 am

Haruo wrote:
Sandy wrote:I find the protests, mostly by political and religious conservatives, to be quite hypocritical. I consider it a foundational American principle, one of those formational philosophies that are attributed to the strong Christian influence in the founding of this country, that is expressed in the inscription on the Statue of Liberty, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free..."

Me, too. I find it hard to imagine a more "un-American" orientation than a desire to drastically curtail or eliminate immigration, or to limit it to those with high-tech and medical skills we need. It astounds me that this sort of jingoism has such an easy time in the dumbed-down marketplace of ideas.


AMEN!
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Re: Immigration Crisis

Postby ET » Thu Jul 24, 2014 2:31 pm

Sandy wrote:I consider it a foundational American principle, one of those formational philosophies that are attributed to the strong Christian influence in the founding of this country, that is expressed in the inscription on the Statue of Liberty, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free..."

Ellis Island is within sight of the Statue of Liberty and is the very symbol of border control and government regulation on immigration. I find it interesting that the same folks who are so in love with government regulation of about everything else in our lives are so enamored now with "unfettered immigration".

I'm not anti-immigration. My wife is Canadian. My English father-in-law has passed his citizenship test and will soon officially be American, so i don't have any problems with legal immigration whatsoever.

Illegal immigration of the sort we have now is a bit more complicated. You can't deport the number of folks that we have, but I have no sympathy for giving them an easy path to citizenship. Amnesty didn't work when Reagan did it and it won't work this time. If anything, the process for illegal immigrants to eventually be legal or citizens should be more arduous and expensive than the legal kind...unless they want to voluntarily exit the country and obey the laws on how to do it right.

I imagine what will happen is Obama & Co will disperse many of these "children" (90% are teenagers) around the country and they will "disappear into the crowd".

Now if you REALLY want to stir the pot on this issue, find yourself a Libertarian dude and get into it over the U.S. "war on drugs" that is, to many of them, the root cause of the violence that drives many of them north (aside from rumors of amnesty).
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Re: Immigration Crisis

Postby KeithE » Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:37 pm

ET wrote:
Now if you REALLY want to stir the pot on this issue, find yourself a Libertarian dude and get into it over the U.S. "war on drugs" that is, to many of them, the root cause of the violence that drives many of them north (aside from rumors of amnesty).

Agreed that Drugs themselves (and our ineffective "War on Drugs") are the major parts of the root problem. The War on Drugs is ineffective because the prison-industrial-complex is profiting big time with the status quo. More on this later.
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Re: Immigration Crisis

Postby Sandy » Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:29 pm

ET wrote:Ellis Island is within sight of the Statue of Liberty and is the very symbol of border control and government regulation on immigration. I find it interesting that the same folks who are so in love with government regulation of about everything else in our lives are so enamored now with "unfettered immigration".


Ellis Island is a symbol of what the United States has become as a result of an immigration policy that was, during the early years of its operation, virtually unrestricted, without quotas, and without the pernicious, draconian restrictions that developed as a result of fears created by the cultural changes that did indeed occur as a result of the immigration policy at the time. The United States is today the greatest nation on the face of the earth largely because of what came to America during the period when as many as a million immigrants passed through Ellis Island in a single year. According to the historical record, only 2% of the total number of immigrants who arrived at Ellis Island were denied admission to the US, and as a result of that particular period of time, over 40% of the current US population have ancestors who came through Ellis Island, and more than half who came to the US during the period of unrestricted immigration prior to the First World War.

It was, in fact, a result of the immigration which occurred, and the cultural, social, political and religious changes that sparked the fear which created a restrictive immigration policy contrary to foundational American principles. The First World War cut off access to most immigrants, and the wave of people who came after it was over were Southern and Eastern Europeans, mostly refugees from former territory of Austria-Hungary where the boundaries had put them under control of communist Russia, or from impoverished Germany and Italy. From 1921 to 1932, immigration laws imposed quotas designed to keep these people out. What wound up happening was that they prevented a large number of Jewish refugees from Hitler from entering the US, because they were still on the books as a result of the depression. So our restrictive immigration policy is a modern one, not historical, or part of our foundational principles.

Maybe Bush was more sympathetic to immigrants seeking a refuge in the US than we give him credit for. His party wouldn't let him change the laws, so he just allowed nine million of the twelve million who are now here illegally to cross the border and remain in the country during his administration. Not enforcing employment law related to illegals, and allowing businesses to hire them at cheap wages, served as an attraction for a lot of people to cross over from Mexico during his administration. Perhaps that was deliberate, rather than just the typical gross incompetence exhibited by his administration. ;)
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