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Home/Rod Dreher/Trump To Central America: Go To Hell

Trump To Central America: Go To Hell

Trump threatens to close US-Mexico border (Time screenshot)

This is bad. From USA Today:

EL PASO – Under a bridge connecting the U.S. with Mexico, dozens of migrant families cram into a makeshift camp set up by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The families are there because permanent processing facilities have run out of room.

Seven hundred miles east, busload after busload of weary, bedraggled migrants crowd into the Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas. Organizers there are used to handling 200 to 300 migrants a day. Lately, the migrants have been arriving at a clip of around 800 a day, overflowing the respite center and straining city resources.

“It’s staggering,” McAllen City Manager Roy Rodriguez said. “Really, we’ve never seen anything like this before.”

Along the Texas border with Mexico – from El Paso to Eagle Pass to the Rio Grande Valley – masses of migrants have been crossing the border in unprecedented numbers, overwhelming federal holding facilities and sending local leaders and volunteers scrambling to deal with the relentless waves of people.

This can’t go on. But how does this help?:

President Trump plans to slash hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to three Central American countries in retaliation for what he called their lack of help in reducing the flow of migrants to the U.S. border.

The move was one of Trump’s harshest yet as he escalates a confrontation with Mexico and Central America over a surge in irregular migration, largely involving children and families seeking asylum.

Trump has already warned that he could close the U.S.-Mexico border — or at least large stretches of it — in the coming week unless Mexico takes further steps to halt the northward flow of migrants.

The State Department said in a statement Saturday that it would be “ending . . . foreign assistance programs for the Northern Triangle” — a region encompassing El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The move would affect nearly $500 million in 2018 funds and millions more left over from the prior fiscal year. The money was destined for Central America but has not yet been spent.

As a former US ambassador to Honduras points out in the story, Trump seems to think (falsely) that US foreign aid is paid directly to those governments. Plus:

He also said Central American governments are not seeking to send their citizens to the United States. “To the contrary, they already cooperate with us in trying to deter migration. But they can’t prevent their citizens from leaving the country.”

Read the whole thing. 

Seriously, how are those governments supposed to prevent their citizens from leaving? None of those countries border the US, by the way. They’re going to tell their citizens they aren’t free to leave for Mexico?

The US needs to change its asylum law now (and should have done when the GOP controlled both houses of Congress). That’s why these migrants are coming. Most of them are not breaking through barriers, but presenting themselves and claiming asylum. I can’t understand how cutting off all government aid to these three poor countries is supposed to make them cut off the caravans, given that they aren’t police states.

If you want to claim that there’s not a crisis at the border, nobody should take you seriously. Again: this can’t go on. Read the USA Today story. But I don’t understand how cutting off some of the poorest and most desperate people in this hemisphere is supposed to solve this problem. What does Trump want those governments to do, shoot people as they cross the border headed north?

You know who is going to step in and give aid to those countries? China. You watch.

But as far as I can tell, the Democrats don’t have any real plan either that does not include de facto open borders. Here’s CBS’s report below. Notice Beto O’Rourke’s remarks at the end. If that’s the line the Democrats take, they are going to fire up people on the other side. who believe that America has a right to control its borders.As frustrating as Trump’s actions are, there is no way that’s going to pass muster with most Americans.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQsJYwAiRKU]

UPDATE: Brteacher comments:

Seriously, how are those governments supposed to prevent their citizens from leaving

Establish border controls? Maybe they can’t stop everyone from leaving, but they could do a lot more to discourage it. They really aren’t trying.

In El Salvador, 20% of the GDP is remittances sent back into the country, almost all of which is from Salvadorans in the US. In Honduras, it’s 18%. For El Salvador in 2017, that amounted to $5 billion. They have a very powerful economic incentive to send as many migrants as possible.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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