What to actually do about the caravan

Send thousands of troops to the border ;-).  Actually, Sonia Nazario, writing in the NYT, has some interesting ideas to help address the problems at the source, in Central America.

That said, I get so tired of the “oh, both sides will complain about this approach” to prove centrist bonafides.  You know what, I’m a liberal, and I think it sounds great pretty much all around:

For anyone who actually wants to work to resolve the immigration issue — not just use it to bludgeon the other side — I have a plan. Neither Democrats nor Republicans will love all of it. But it is relatively humane and fair, it would keep more migrants at home, where most would rather live and, unlike President Trump’s proposal, it would actually adhere to the rule of law.

Oh, and also, I’m comfortable with intellectually bludgeoning those who think we should separate and imprison small children at our border.  Anyway…

President Trump is threatening to cut foreign aid to punish these countries for not, as he sees it, doing enough to stop the caravan. That is among the dumbest things he could do. Foreign aid pays for programs that are actually making headway in reducing the corruption and violence that drive people to migrate.

Anti-corruption programs are already under siege. The Mission to Support the Fight against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras, an initiative through the Organization of American States, was pursuingan embezzlement case against five members of Congress until legislators passed a law effectively putting it in the hands of an organization they themselves controlled.

Meanwhile, in Guatemala, President Jimmy Morales announced that he would not authorize the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala to even remain in the country. It has had notable success in fighting organized crime and led to the jailing of former president Otto Pérez Molina and his vice president for overseeing a customs-fraud network. One of group’s main focuses now, not surprisingly, is investigating the current president, Mr. Morales, for corruption.

The United States has supported these two organizations, but now, President Trump and his administration are doing virtually nothing to protect them.

People have lost hope that anything will change in these countries. We should not be surprised that they are voting with their feet.

But I get it: 396,579 migrants apprehended at our border in one year is still a lot of migrants. What will slow the flow?

We know that deterrence doesn’t work… [emphases mine]

So here’s my proposal. First, we must address the violence and despair that are pushing migrants out of these three countries.

The good news is we already know how to reduce violence and corruption, and strengthen good government. In Honduras, the United States has been running pilot violence prevention programs since 2014…

In 96 percent of homicides in Honduras in recent years, no one was convicted. Witnesses know: you testify, and the gang kills you immediately. The United States helped fund a nonprofit, the Association for a More Just Society, to investigate all murders in the most violent neighborhoods. It persuades witnesses to testify, anonymously, covered in a black burqa. In Rivera Hernández, murders plummeted by 62 percent in two years. And the number of Honduran children showing up at the United States border was cut almost in half…

I get blowback from liberals when I advocate this kind of meddling in Central America. I understand; I covered the wars in Central America. Yes, the United States has done a lot of bad things there…

But now some of what we are doing is actually working. Shouldn’t we do much more of it?

Yes, this committed liberal thinks we, the United States, needs to do more through direct action in Central America to help the people there so they don’t have to feel like their only hope is as a refugee.  Are there really so many liberals who feel otherwise?  This is not exactly propping up right-wing death squads in El Salvador.

So, yeah, let’s just flat out do this stuff.  And, let’s not pretend that liberals are the hindrance to the smarter policies we need to pursue.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to What to actually do about the caravan

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    I’m very glad to see this important topic being discussed. You’d think conservatives would love the idea too. Didn’t they say that it was better to fight terrorists overseas that here?
    Isn’t it a similar idea to fund programs that keep citizens from being driven to escape their home countries and come here? It’s a twofold winner – the same action would change peoples’ minds about leaving their country and would help the U.S. from dealing with so many people who are so desperate that they will break our laws to get here. A lot of money will be spent which ever way it goes.

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