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Monday, July 21, 2014

The Southern Border Crisis

For John, BLUFNo good answers.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Our Governor, Devol Patrick, being joined by our Senate President, Ms Therese Murry, are for bringing children to Massachusetts who have managed to survive the trip up through Mexico and tagged up at the border.

"My inclination is to remember what happened when a ship full of Jewish children tried to come to the United States in 1939 and the United States turned them away, and many of them went to their deaths in Nazi concentration camps," Patrick said.  "I think we are a bigger-hearted people than that as Americans, and certainly as residents of Massachusetts."
I am all for avoiding another MS ST LOUIS incident.  In the case of the German ship with 937 Jewish German Refugees the people were first turned away by Cuba, and then the United States and then Canada.  Returned to Europe, it is estimated one quarter died in German death camps.  But, in bringing up the question of moral responsibility, Governor Patrick raises more issues with regard to Germany and our responsibility, which I will discuss below.

Nation of Change, a Progressive organization, tells us that "Child Migrants Have Been Coming to America Alone Since Ellis Island".  I expect they were coming even before there was an Ellis Island, opened back in 1892.  I expect children as indentured servants were showing up here soon after large numbers of immigrants were coming from the British Isles.

The Publisher Emeritus of The [Lowell] Sun, Mr Kendall Wallace, on his most recent "Saturday Chat" gave us "A proud history of embracing new people".  He writes:

I struggle with the way we as a people have handled some historic human-rights issues, particularly the current situation that is again splitting the country:  What to do about the thousands of women and children pouring into the U.S. illegally as they flee poverty, abuse and hopeless situations they live with in Mexico and various countries in Central America.
OK, I get it.  Thousands are coming to our borders and we should not turn them away.  However, what of the rest?

El Salvador6,134,0002009Estimate

That totals out at 30,200,249.  If we assume that 10% of the population is corrupt or criminal or evil, that still leaves 27,180,224 good men, women and children.  So we have absorbed 53,000 or so people.  What about the remaining 27,127,224?

While the fate of the Jewish People on the MS ST LOUIS is a blot on our history, and the history of other nations, including Germany, it does not encapsulate the totality of what went wrong.  For example, there were the Germany "Death Panels", under Action T-4, which saw the murder of 70,000 disabled before the program was shut down (and another 200,000 after the program was shut down).  These were not Jews, but ethnic Germans who had become "useless eaters".  We did nothing about this mass killing of those not able to defend themselves.  Then we add in some 6 million Jews and several million killed for being Communist, Gypsy, Homosexual, part of the Polish leadership, or just troublesome Slavs.  Going to the MS ST LOUIS misses the bigger picture and is just playing with history.

However, there is a response that does look at the larger picture and that is our responsibilities under Responsibility to Protect (R2P).  This is the idea that states should not allow other states to commit atrocities on their own populations, for example the Rwanda Genocide.  The three strong voice in the Obama Administration for R2P have been Ms Susan Rice, National Security Advisor, Ambassador Samantha Power, our UN Ambassador, and Professor Anne-Marie Slaughter, formerly the Department of State Director of Policy Planning.  If bad things are happening in Meso-America, should we be stepping in, perhaps with Mexico and other nations?  Should our military forces step in and replace the national governments, as we did in Panama, back in 1989?  How do you feel about doing "nation building" south of the border?

On the other hand, "nation building" has not been a rousing success in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And it goes against the Good Neighbor Policy that we have tried to hew to since the time of President Franklin D Roosevelt.  I would think that intervention would not go down well in international relations.  If nothing else, it would provide Russia with ample justification for its intervention in Ukraine.  And, China would see itself free to intervene in Viet-nam and other nations on its supposed borders, including the Nine-Dash Line.  I am against intervention.

From The International New York Times, on Sunday, we have an article that talks to Mexico strengthening its Southern Border.  Here are two paragraphs from the article:

Now Mexico finds itself whipsawing between compassion and crackdown as it struggles with a migration crisis of its own. While the public is largely sympathetic to migrants and deeply critical of the United States’ hard-line immigration policies, officials are under pressure from their neighbors to the north and south as they try to cope with the influx. As a result, they are taking measures that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

Mexico has quietly stepped up the pace of deportation of migrants, some of them unaccompanied children. It announced plans to stop people from boarding freight trains north and will open five new border control stations along routes favored by migrants.

So, we are supposed to welcome those who successfully ride The Beast up from South Mexico, but also applaud Mexico for closing that Southern Border?

Frankly, I would see this as another "Piven and Cloward" type effort to crash a system in order to get it fixed, in this case, the immigration system.  That would be like the "Fast and Furious" Operation late in its manifestation (experience early in the Obama Administration).  The problem with this theory is that it would require a degree of competence that may not exist down in DC these days.  Hanlon's Razor.

So, we have an surge in immigrants, especially young ones, the ones who survive the trip up through Mexico, probably due to a hope that if they make it to the United States they are home free.  The question for Governor Patrick, Mr Wallace and Nation of Change is, are conditions so bad in Central America, Panama perhaps excluded, that we should actually bring in the millions who are at risk due to violence, much of it drug related?  Think about the cost and efforts of settling some 27 million people from Central America, people who don't speak English and may not have the job skills to gain employment in the United States, if there were jobs to be had.

And, as a side note, none of this, at whatever level, is going to be free.  Hearing the words "the Federal Government is paying for it" makes me think of the ratio of Federal taxes paid to benefits returned to Massachusetts.  We get back about 83¢ in benefits for every $1 in taxes we send to Washington.  That means all those good ideas being pushed down in DC are costing us money in a disproportionate way.

I will give Mr Wallace credit for these words in his column:

The federal and state governments failure to level with people about the true extent of the number of people who have been flown into Massachusetts hurts the cause.

Lowell has always done its share to help immigrants settle in America.  Since the 1830s the city has seen waves of new people come to Lowell for jobs and a better life.

If, in fact, hundreds of these people who have fled their homelands have been flown into Hanscom Field in Bedford, and they are allowed to remain, some will end up in Lowell and in the Lowell's public schools while politicians debate about the issue.  While federal and state officials will debate, the city will treat these people with respect and dignity.

At the end of the day I expect Lowell will do the right thing, which is to take in the border crossers.  I hope the Citizens of Lowell, and other communities, will take the second step and vote against Federal and Commonwealth candidates in November if those two levels of Government do not finally come clean and step up.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Of course drug related violence really points back at the United States, which provides a huge market for such drugs coming from South America.  That would be to say, the conditions in Central America are the fault of US Citizens who are using illegal drugs.

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