A Proposed Response to the Flood of Immigrants
In recent years immigrants to the United States from Central American countries has increased very dramatically. Many of them are unaccompanied minors. A recent news reports stated that there are now over five thousand unaccompanied minors being held in detention centers in the U.S. The impression given was that these are only recent immigrants; many more have gone through the initial stages of processing and are being held in other detention centers around the country. As many as possible have been placed in foster homes or with sponsoring families.
Many of these immigrants pressing up against our southern border convincingly claim that their lives are in danger in their home countries—because of violent drug gangs who are (for example) pressing young people, even children, away from their families and into their ranks. Murder is rampant in some Central American countries; gang violence especially in the countrysides and villages is a huge problem. Apparently these countries’ governments are not able to address this problem.
Many, perhaps most, of the newly arriving immigrants to America from Central America are asking for asylum—fearing for their lives and the lives of their children in their home countries.
Some years ago South American nation Colombia was racked with extreme violence; life there was dangerous for many people. A major part of the problem was drug gangs. Then America intervened. We sent troops into Colombia to help the government put down the power of the gangs and bring some sense of peace there. Colombia is in a much better place now than then.
Instead of being reactive, why don’t we (America) send help to those Central American countries from which thousands are fleeing to us? We could seek to form a coalition of caring countries to cooperate in such a mission—to help those governments suppress the violent gangs and protect the poor, the vulnerable, the weak and especially children who are in danger of being kidnapped by drug gangs.
Actually, we have done such things before with some degree of success. Colombia is one case in point. We, America, invaded Haiti to suppress violence there. Anyone who watched the news during the anarchy and extreme violence in Haiti in the 1980s remembers how innocent people were being murdered in the streets and in their own homes. Eventually we sent in enough troops to put down the anarchy and extreme violence and establish a government.
I am not saying that what we did in those instances was perfect; our motives were no doubt mixed—as human motives always are. All I am suggesting is that our government consider doing something in those countries from which immigrants are fleeing to make life there safer and better. We have the wealth and power to do that.
Instead, right now, we are only attempting to stem the tide of immigrants and warehouse those who make it across our southern border. Surely we could do something to help those people stay in their countries without fear for their very lives and the lives of their children.
I envision something like a Peace Corps “invasion” accompanied by armed American troops to protect them. When they are confronted by violent gangs, the military would fight back to protect the Peace Corps volunteers and the people they are helping. Perhaps our military personnel could even go out and hunt down paramilitary gangs who are known to be violent towards innocent men, women, and children.
We intervened in a not-too-dissimilar way in the Balkans in the 1990s. We should have intervened in Rwanda during the genocide there. Over the last two centuries America has invaded Latin American and Caribbean countries numerous times—often with bad intentions (e.g., to overthrow democratically elected governments). Why not turn that around and now use our military to go into countries people are fleeing because their lives are in danger and protect them from vicious gangs who are rampaging around those countries creating chaos, anarchy, death?
*As always, here, I speak only for myself and not for anyone else. I do not speak for any organization or institution. Responses are welcome so long as they are on topic, civil and respectful, do not include hyperlinks, and are relatively brief. This is a moderated blog; nobody has a right for his or her comment to be posted here. Any misrepresentation of what I wrote will automatically be deleted and not posted here.