In 2018, Honduras had the highest murder rate in the world with El Salvador ranked second and Guatemala ranked ninth.
There is no “border crisis.” There is a humanitarian crisis in Central America and the US, as an industrialized nation is operating as a pull factor to escape violence and trauma. Notice how nobody is migrating from Costa Rica or Panama?
There is also an end to inhumane, and cruel policies at the border region that accumulated, but did not solve the problem in refugee camps in Mexico and were so draconian that actually forced families to select between MS13 or being separated from their family. This is a tough choice that I hope no parent will ever need to make. It is also the equivalent of swiping the problem under the rug. Cruelty slowed the flow of forced migrants but did not stop them. The end of cruelty re-established those flows, with the stock of 4 years of inhumane deterrence all coming online at the same time. Cruelty did slow down the tide. Evil policies do work as dictators know, but the price of that performance is a nation’s soul.
The solution to the “border crisis,” therefore, will not be found at the scale of the border. Temporary Protected Status, expansion of the H2b program, and effective global asylum policies are all going to be needed. There is also space for more creative approaches (I am a big proponent of regional visas, for example).
Ultimately, it will be essential for Americans to understand that the nature of the immigration flows has shifted from economic migration to a refugee humanitarian crisis. I’ve been to Salvador. I’ve been to Guatemala. I’ve seen the state of the security collapse of those nations. It is in the interest of the US to help those countries become another Costa Rica. To help them develop their economies and their rule of law. The US cannot do it alone, but there are partners in those nations.
So, next time something news or Senator Clown tells you that there is a “border crisis” move the scale and look at the western hemisphere. We are not an island. The global north has the moral responsibility to help nations achieve their full potential; it is also in our national interest to address the root causes of these forced migration flows that are defining the migratory experience in the 21st century.
Look at this video. What would you do?