Rather than trying to hold the tide back at the border, do we need to go to the source?

October 22, 2018

What can countries do when masses of people pour out of areas beset by violence and poverty and corruption and by so doing put pressure on their own people and resources?

Whether it’s people fleeing war-torn Syria in the Middle East or troubled spots in Africa and flooding Europe or people fleeing places in Latin America and heading north to the United States it is a perplexing problem.

President Donald Trump promotes building a wall. I think that is more to rally his seemingly dependable base than anything else. Keep the hordes of foreigners out. Has a nice nationalistic ring.

But it seems doubtful a wall would do the job, and it would not likely be one continuous structure like the Great Wall of China due to terrain if nothing else. And determined forces history has shown, be they armies, drug runners, spies, or refugees and migrants, have a way of getting over and under through and around walls. So one has to ask: is the expense worth it?

I suppose for a time the communist regimes in the old Soviet Union and its satellite nations of Eastern Europe were successful in keeping the bulk of their populations from migrating (no one was trying to get in as far as I know) with their walls and barbed wire and armed guards ready to shoot to kill (and in East Berlin they did often). But once the mass of the masses had enough of the drab life of communist utopia and at the same time discovered via modern communications how the other half in the West lived walls and barbed wire could not stop them.

When things get desperate enough people will risk likely death to flee hell — figuring what have they got to lose? They’ll risk drowning in the Mediterranean to get to Europe or rape and robbery and death at the hands of armed gangs to get to the U.S., in the case of people from some Central American and other Latin American countries such being no worse than staying put, but with the promise of the promise land.

Are most of the refugees good people themselves? I would imagine so, but surly some are not and some while not being gangsters may be more opportunists than refugees — but I imagine that is a minority. Besides don’t we admire opportunists? People with get up and go and gumption.

And then there is the humanitarian side of things. Do we simply say: well that is your tough luck, can’t help you?

But I also have a thought or question:

Do we here in the United States or those in Europe have a right or even obligation to put pressure on or force the oppressive and corrupt regimes to reform? And can we even do that?

Certainly we do need to be tough on or with our own border security.

There is always talk of sending in the military to protect our borders and then at the same time we are told that any direct action by the military is illegal. There seem to be different interpretations on that. I’m not going there now.

I personally sometimes wonder if our civil forces, the border patrol and such, are mismanaged. As a trucker I go though border checks some distance from the actual borders and see seemingly large numbers of personnel and vehicles congregated in one spot. How does that police the border?

And for goodness sake we have traditional air power and along with that the more modern unmanned drones. Yes the border is long and the terrain often rough, but with our resources one would think we could police it.

What we need to manage or solve the problem is leadership that goes beyond racially-tinged calls for walls or calls to dismantle immigration forces and simply let everyone in with hopes they will add votes to the political party that claims to represent their interests.

Right now there is a report or reports of a caravan or maybe caravans of migrants who have pushed their way past Mexican security at the Guatemala border in the south and are headed toward the U.S. We have seen this scenario before.

Reportedly the sheer numbers of people make them hard to stop.

I was surprised by a report from CBS News following a group of migrants through Central America, some of whom began their current trek in Colombia. What surprised me most was some of them were not even Latin Americans but Middle Eastern and Indian. One was a refugee Iran, another from Sri Lanka.

CLARIFICATION: I’M ADDING THIS AFTER ORIGINALLY POSTING THE ABOVE. I DON’T MEAN TO CONFLATE THE AFORE MENTIONED CBS REPORT WITH THE CARAVAN NOW MOVING THROUGH MEXICO. TRUMP HAS CHARGED THAT IT IS INFILTRATED BY MIDDLE EASTERNERS, PRESUMABLY TERRORISTS, BUT HAS ALSO REPORTEDLY ADMITTED HE HAS NO EVIDENCE OF THAT. THAT IS HIS MODE OF DOING THINGS — MAKE A STATEMENT FOR HEADLINES KNOWING THAT HIS TARGET AUDIENCE ONLY BELIEVES WHAT IT WANTS TO REGARDLESS OF EVIDENCE. PERSONALLY, I DON’T KNOW THE MAKEUP OF THE CARAVAN, EXCEPT I WOULD PRESUME IT IS 99 TO A 100 PERCENT LATIN AMERICAN.

Now some migrants no doubt are simply looking for a better opportunity as many of our own ancestors here in the United States of America were. Conceivably some could eke it out in their home countries. Others are fleeing persecution or gang violence, particularly in Central America. Some are single men, some are parents who have been forced or chose to leave their children. Some are children who have been forced or induced to leave their families.

We need to mix humanity with practicality and put the partisan politics aside.

I for one would prefer to see the return of the centrists in both our major political parties. I used to agree with those who complained that there was no difference between the two parties, particularly at the national level. But things have changed. We have a modern form of what almost seems like Nazi rule with a leader who demands blind obedience and who mocks and threatens those who oppose him or who fail to show adoration of him — with politics of intimidation and the national government not just bending the truth but resorting to outright lies that could be described as propaganda except that word would not be strong enough. The big lie is the big lie.

When a spokeswoman for the current administration suggested there was such a thing as “alternative facts” we had to know we were entering the world of the late author George Orwell’s 1984 but in maybe 2017 (or whenever she said it). I think maybe she was just sloppy in her wording. I mean she must have meant “positions”, but even so she was right on in her description of the administration. Because you can have a position or opinion on some things, but not provable facts, some even caught on video tape, or like the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. And just making something up is not taking a position. It is called lying.

 

 

 

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