Conservatives, especially those in Arizona, California and Texas, are using the recent influx of unaccompanied children from Central America to “prove” that President Obama is neglecting our southern border. They can’t seem to comprehend the fact that the children have been apprehended while crossing the border. They weren’t just given a pass into the US. They also fail to understand that the transport of immigrant children from Texas to facilities in other states has to do with the fact that our holding facilities are overflowing. The Border Patrol could not have been prepared for the mass influx of children who were sent northward to escape the violence and poverty in their own countries.
This is not simply a border crisis. It’s a humanitarian crisis.
The seeds of this crisis were sown more than 100 years ago when the US allowed its corporations to divide up the impoverished nations of the Western Hemisphere. The United Fruit Company (Chiquita Brands International) and the Standard Fruit Company (Dole Food Company) seized control of large tracts of land along with the banana trade of Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and other parts of the Caribbean. With the military might of the US behind them, these companies dominated the politics of the region. It was this fact that led to the term “Banana Republics.” And it is the primary cause of the long-term poverty of these nations.
But the meddling of US corporations didn’t stop there.
Following the ratification of CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement), large US-based agri-businesses began dumping corn on Mexico and Central American countries. This led to the financial ruin of small farmers. With no way to feed their families, the farmers were forced to move to the slums of cities in hopes of obtaining jobs. Finally, in desperation, some turned to crime. Many more immigrated north.
Although the current crisis may be caused by misinformation, rumor and greedy smugglers, in many ways, the flood of illegal immigrants across our borders is the result of our own actions (rather the actions of our large, greedy corporations). Without an immigration policy that accounts for the causes of immigration…all of the causes…it will continue and the problems associated with illegal immigration will be magnified.