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La Tribuna, Honduras

Illegals?


By Editorial

Translated By Bianca Fierro

14 February 2013

Edited by Lau­ren Gerken


Honduras - La Tribuna - Original Article (Spanish)

The Salvadorian Foreign Minister informed the press that he and his counterparts in Guatemala and Honduras will visit Washington at the end of this month to make arrangements with U.S. legislators on the issue of immigration reform. About five million immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras live in the U.S. Family remittances sent by the immigrants inject large amounts of money in the economies of their countries, which in the case of the North Triangle totaled at least $11.5175 billion in 2012. It satisfies the initiative. A few weeks ago, in this editorial space, we said:

The vast majority of compatriots who left for the U.S. did so because their existence here was unlivable. Some left years ago, as a consequence of the armed conflicts in the region. In the 80s, Honduras received about 400,000 refugees from neighboring nations bloodied by the violent polarization. In areas bordering Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua, entire Honduran families were displaced from their homes and lands, as a consequence of the commotion. There, in those regions bordering Nicaragua, the “counterrevolution” took place, sponsored by the U.S. Something similar happened when the government was pressured to train Salvadorian soldiers in Honduran territory, despite the detriment to national interest, involving our nation in foreign conflicts. Later—such a strange thing —as a consequence of those decisions, the country had to compensate the expropriated American property occupied for training.

Let us remember these sad episodes in history because it was then that many compatriots immigrated to the U.S. Not because they wanted to realize the “American dream,” but rather because of an imperative necessity. Life or death. Obviously those displaced from their property, in the border zones, did not travel with a visa. They left undocumented and entered U.S. territory. We emphasize this fact because of the argument that all those people who entered undocumented deserve to be punished—they should be deported to their countries—because they did not enter legally. Question: What other choice did they have? Was the embassy going to give them a visa to enter the U.S.? They were displaced from their land by refugees from other countries, the product of a conflict in which the U.S. government participated. Even when the U.S. government conceded preferential treatment to stay for immigrants from other Central American countries, led by the Cuban community in that country, Honduras was excluded from the privileges because they argued that there was no war here. Yeah? …And the refugees we received? And the Contra [counter-revolutionist group from Nicaragua] sponsored by the gringos who installed themselves here?

Well. Even after Hurricane Mitch, thanks to the efforts of the Honduran government back then, for humanitarian reasons, the U.S. conceded a Temporary Protection Status to immigrants, and a moratorium on deportations. This equally favored other countries in the region. During this cataclysm, hundreds of families also immigrated north. Not to follow the “American dream,” but because here they were left with nothing. The waters devastated the efforts of a lifetime. They also left without a visa. Nobody was going to give it to them. It is true that many others who left did so afterwards, because they could not find worthy jobs in Honduras and they had to do something so that their homeless families would not starve to death. Obama’s government could not fulfill its promise to Hispanics who supported him in his first election. Let’s go for the second round. Now that they are once again discussing immigration reform in the U.S., to procure a way to citizenship for the undocumented, let’s hope they take into account all of these circumstances. There are people in the States who believe that those immigrants came surreptitiously, illegally, just on a whim. As we have written, that is not how it was. The Honduran government should send delegations to explain all of these reasons to congressmen and senators—to refresh your memory of the reasons why so many Hondurans are over there.



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