The Conversation

The Myth of the Central American Apocalypse

While we're busy retiring the phony Obama talking point about how a 2008 anti-human-trafficking law means he can't do anything to repel the human wave coming out of Central America, let's also dispense with the equally bogus talking point that it's a sudden "refugee" crisis caused by an abrupt surge of violence in the countries of origin.

To be sure, conditions in Honduras, El Salvador, etc. are very bad.  You can't blame anyone for wanting to escape them.  This does not, in any way, obligate the people of the United States to care for all of those people, or grant them permanent residency.  But it simply is not true that some massive surge in violence over the last year prompted a refugee exodus on par with the people fleeing from war zones.  It stinks about the same as it always has in Central America, and it most assuredly will not get any better if the corrupt regimes and drug gangs ruling those territories know they can count on the Americans to take care of everyone they have failed.  The concept of national sovereignty means nothing if the people of one nation can be held responsible for the consequences of actions taken by the government of another.

The media should have punctured Obama's Central American Apocalypse talking point on Minute One of Day One, because they all know it's not true.  Instead, weeks into the crisis, we're finally getting passages like this one, from the Washington Post:

“We are not going to stop sending people, and you guys are not going to be able to stop them from getting in,” said Lt. Col. Reyes Garcia [of the Honduran military police], one of the officers leading the bus station operation. “You cannot focus on just one reason that people want to leave for the United States.

”President Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency funding to manage the humanitarian crisis of tens of thousands of Central Americans, many of them children, who have overwhelmed Border Patrol facilities and reopened the national debate about how to handle the pressures of immigration. In this city, home to the largest number of child migrants apprehended at the U.S. border so far this year, there has not been any dramatic new spike in violence or fresh economic catastrophe. Rather, it’s been all the old exhausting problems, plus the more recent perception that the United States is allowing children to stay if they can make it across the Rio Grande, that have intensified the exodus.

“At its core, it is a drama of poverty,” said Romulo Emiliani, the bishop in San Pedro Sula. “To people here, the United States is a paradise.”

Again, you can't blame people for wanting to get into that paradise, but it simply is not true that a radical shift in conditions in Central America prompted a sudden refugee crisis that nobody could have seen coming.  (And if there was an apocalypse shaping up down there, our immigration and intelligence services would have seen it coming.)  What changed are conditions up here.

Obama's rhetoric paints the adult illegal immigrants, and those who send their unaccompanied children across the border, like they're deluded fools who got suckered by smugglers peddling "misinformation."  On the contrary, the deluded fools are all up here, and many of them have newspaper bylines.

“Do you know why people migrate there? Do you know? Because there is no work here. There is no work,” said Ana Patricia Mejia, 39, who had tried to make the trip with her kids and her neighbor’s son but was deported from Mexico. “Of course I am going again. I have to have a house. I do not have a place to live. If I want to or not, if the gringos like it or not, I am coming.

Waldina Lizeth Amaya, a 37-year-old mother of four, decided to take her children to America after failing to find a job at the local factories. In the past, she had worked illegally in a restaurant in Mexico and for several years in Honduras in a factory making bras and panties.

“I looked all over. I brought my papers to various companies. I have experience, and I couldn’t find anything,” she said at the shelter.

Many migrants have relatives already living in the United States. Lizeth had two cousins in Dallas, so last month she decided to risk bringing her family to join them. The timing of her decision was partly based on inaccurate but widespread rumors that the U.S. government was offering amnesty for Central American children.

Like hell they're "inaccurate."  It is objectively true that very few people of any age are being deported.  Barack Obama did pass executive orders granting amnesty to young illegal immigrants, and the odds he'll write more of them are much higher than the odds that he won't.  It's not just him, either; until this crisis blew up on the front pages a few weeks ago, the entire American political system was moving toward an amnesty deal, and making it very clear that the input of current American citizens was not welcome.

"We are all connected," Democrat Rep. John Lewis declared today.  "We can't just build a wall or fence and say no more.  This is America.  Our doors are open."  How much longer are his media sycophants going to pretend that the people who take him at his word are "misinformed?"


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