‚ÄčThe Caravan to Puebla and Possible Waves

Unlike Europe, the caravan of mostly Honduran and other Central American migrants is mostly symbolic, and has been happening for about a decade in southern Mexico, on what seems to be an annual basis around Easter time. Because of Europe, it is a very powerful symbol, one that posits the possibility of enormous waves of approaching migrants, rather than the steady stream of smaller groups that try to cross the border on a daily basis.

Because of the Syrian Civil War and the violent, corrupt, authoritarian and repressive nature of much of the Middle East, those symbolic waves became real over the last couple of years for Western Europe. Yes, Europe has it's own southern border: across the Mediterranean and through the Bosphorus Strait. And yes, a steady stream of migrants from Africa and the Middle East have been trying, often successfully, to migrate to Western Europe.

But the problems and tensions that steady stream produced in Europe paled besides the great waves of desperate migrants, pulling down fences and trudging along train tracks over the past two years. And the political consequences of Europe's opening of its floodgates - led my Chancellor Merkel - has changed the political landscape dramatically. In a EU defined by the gradual but steady erasing of the borders of its individual nation states, suddenly borders began to matter a great deal again.

So despite the fact that the caravan seems to have mostly been stopped in Oaxaca, they remain a powerful symbol of what could happen at the southern border. They will apparently travel on to Puebla - a central Mexican state near Mexico City - for a "symposium" on migrant rights. And the organization that seems to be promoting the event - and that seems to have chapters in Texas and perhaps elsewhere - is called Pueblos Sin Fronteras. Which translates as "Peoples Without Borders", but is not to be confused with the Washington D.C.-based People Without Borders which deals with mostly legal migrants, student in many cases, and helps them adapt to life in America.

Central America is not Syria, as bad as the violence is there. But it has been as bad as Syria in the past. The civil wars in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and even in Nicaragua were violent and fairly long-lasting. Contras versus the communist government in Nicaragua. Or communist insurgents versus hard-right (truly hard right as in murder and torture) militias that did indeed have American tactical support. People in Reagan's administration were determined that there would not be a host of little Cubas between Mexico and the Panama Canal. And they made sure that didn't happen. They won.

But putting back together those war-torn countries has proven hard. And when drug trafficking and gang activity spread their tentacles, then they do become very difficult places to live. So people flee. Is that somehow America's fault?

How about the following thought experiment: had America taken a more hands-off policy towards the conflicts in Central America and had most of those countries gone Nicaragua's way and descended into socialized collective poverty, like Cuba, then what? Hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing to ... America. There is no easy solution to this problem and asking whether America has some sort of obligation to help does not solve the basic issue: the inability of local Central American governments to solve or begin to solve the problems facing them. Money thrown into a chaotic, crime-filled state is generally lost money.

So while the media might snort at Trump's tweets and decry his calling for the National Guard to help secure the border, it is not an absurdity to imagine that things at the southern border could become far worse than what they are at the current time. And that a symbolic caravan could become a very real tidal wave of desperate migrants, should some event trigger a massive outflow of refugees or migrants.

At the end of the day, it's better to have a policy brawl about that possibility before it ever does become a reality.

Posted by Keeley at April 6, 2018 3:51 PM
Comments
Comment #426058

We all know why the Left continues to block efforts to prevent illegal crossings at our borders. It’s all about keeping wages low and increasing Dem presence at the polls. Our Liberal Pal phx8 honestly admitted, in another column, that globalization to increase diversity was a goal he supported and why he wanted no border intervention of those wishing to cross over.

Europe has been invaded with no significant attempt to discourage the hoards from sucking their governments dry and increasing the person-to-person violence in the EU. Here is just one example.

London’s Mayor Declares Intense New ‘Knife Control’ Policies To Stop Epidemic Of Stabbings

“London has seen a dramatic uptick in murder rates, surpassing even New York City in number of homicides every month since the beginning of 2018. It has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world, and, technically, knives carried “without good reason” are off limits to anyone under the age of 18.”

https://www.dailywire.com/news/29179/londons-mayor-declares-intense-new-knife-control-emily-zanotti

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