Immigration Drama Demands Answers

United States Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen insisted again yesterday on asking Central Americans to abandon the idea of illegally emigrating from their country. Alongside the foreign ministers of Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico, Nielsen, who was responsible for the zero-tolerance policy that triggered one of the biggest human dramas on the southern border of the USA, announced new agreements to reduce these migratory influxes.

One of the biggest issues with this type of approach is that it disregards the root causes of mass migration, such as poverty, crime, corruption and criminal impunity. Such approaches do not work in finding radical solutions to the problem; an effective policy can never be implemented to stop this uncontrollable exodus.

Those who abandon their countries hardly wish to do so. Many people are provoked by hostile conditions into trying to escape the nightmare in which they live, to search for a better life in a place that, up to now, has offered better opportunities. But this isn’t without risk.

It must be understood that until there is a change in the enormous levels of poverty, it will be very difficult for thousands of Salvadorans, Hondurans and Guatemalans to fight the natural desire to leave these precarious and insecure conditions. This is the case for a high percentage of young people who are forced by the threat of gangs to abandon their homeland.

Corruption is perhaps the principal component of an issue that has the greatest expression of despair in migration, which is why it featured in the brief but harsh speech delivered almost two weeks ago by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, where he included it among the causes of the crisis.

The United States has shown a more aggressive policy towards this scourge, such as the repeal of visas for officials, former officials, members of congress and businessmen, but these measures lose much of their effect when it’s unknown who or what sectors will be punished. The public scorn simply instills fear.

It should be understood that any policy aimed at discouraging immigration is doomed to fail if the problem isn’t addressed comprehensively, and this begins by creating basic development conditions, which can only be furthered in a framework of security and with the responsible use of taxpayers’ resources.

Obviously, it is painful to speak of the current contemptible and inhumane practice of family separation, but it is also shameful that while this drama carries on, under this government, there continues to be overvaluation of purchases and fiddled contracts, all of which have serious repercussions in the search for development opportunities.

It is therefore no coincidence that yesterday Helen Aguirre, special assistant to President Trump, announced that for Washington, the role of the Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala is “key” in the fight against corruption and impunity, because it helps create conditions of security and prosperity in the country.

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