News that Republicans (and some Democrats) are having a freak-out over children escaping poverty and violence in Central America and heading to the US isn’t anything new. Hillary Clinton and other Dems had a freak-out during 2014’s unaccompanied minor influx, while posturing for elected positions, even going so far as calling for more immigration courts to speed up deportations.
That said, one possible candidate for Texas Governor, Beto O’Rourke, has been chiming in on the issue responding to current guv Greg Abbott’s bigoted tirades blaming unaccompanied children for increases in COVID-19 and whatever other things may develop from his anti-masking policies and Texas’ re-opening.
The false premise that immigrants would make the pandemic worse was used by Trump (and now Biden) to immediately expel asylum seekers at the border.
This caused a spike in attempts, as the same people tried multiple times to cross (e.g. one person could count for 10+ encounters).
Apples to apples, the number of unique individuals attempting to come to this country is similar to what we saw during this same period in 2019 (for my Republican friends & media who are absolutely losing their shit right now, this is when Donald Trump was in the White House).
What could we do to make it better?
– Stop using Title 42– Lawfully process asylum requests.
– Free families & children from immigration detention
– Add independent immigration judges
– Re-write our immigration laws
– Prioritize the Americas in our foreign policy.Beto on Facebook
Beto hit on the last one on the list last week in another comprehensive post and it is something that I’ve been writing about for decades. The US needs a whole different policy in Latin America. One that does not buttress corrupt and violent right-wing regimes (and does not assist them with coups and election interference) which mistreat and kill the poor and indigenous who continually elect left-wing (read: socialist) administrations.
Fact: Without “leftist” poor, black, brown, and indigenous people, Biden would not be in office. So, what’s the deal?
Anyway, as Beto stated:
This region that we are connected to physically, culturally & through our families is always an afterthought at best in our foreign policy, a priority only when there is perceived crisis.
We will not address the underlying issues that cause so many to come here if we do not work with the people, NGOs & governments of these countries. That should include working to repair the damage caused in part by U.S. policies and a commitment to change those policies. Our involvement in Central America’s civil wars led to death & devastation that is still felt in the region today.
And U.S. drug demand & drug war have helped hollow out civil society in these countries, contributing to government corruption & horrific gang violence.
Our failure to act in the face of the science and consequences of climate change has produced devastating storms and droughts that make it a challenge for many to feed themselves and survive in communities throughout Central America.Beto on Facebook 3/17/2021
These kind of ideas coming from Beto aren’t new, but they have consistently caused think-tank types in the area of Latin American policy to clench up their hind sides and to embolden current policy. It is a discussion that needs to be demanded of the Biden administration and right now is the best time to do it.
Meanwhile, the shocked reactions to the current edition of huddled masses needs to stop and the work needs to begin.
Also, Beto O’Rourke seems to be the only Texas Democrat giving a damn about which direction we should be going on this issue.