The United States is a country made up of British and French immigrants, who practically eliminated the native people in the northern part of our American continent. America’s development was shaped by arrivals of other European immigrants, and now, its president bases his election strategy on the persecution of immigrants, violating America’s laws and the human rights of individuals.
The most recent announcement is that the president will deport 1 million immigrants. (He previously pressured Mexico to increase containment of migrants from the south.) Even if other U.S. state, local or judicial authorities express doubts about the policy, and although they may eventually slow down the president’s actions, the announcement alone is producing a psychological effect on the people in the U.S. who lack documentation as residents or citizens.
The announcement is having the same effect on family members in their countries of origin, especially in Central American countries. But according to the opinions of Salvadorans legally based in the United States, these announcements and acts of persecution are aimed at winning votes from white and more conservative American citizens; in other words, the purpose is essentially part of the election politics behind reelecting Donald Trump to a second term.
Migrations always have different causes. Just as the first British settlers arrived in America because of religious persecution in their home country and other Europeans did so seeking better lives in the New World without political or religious intolerance, Latin American and Caribbean immigrants who are already part of the U.S. contribute to its development and do so hoping to find opportunities to improve the quality of life for their families, and in other cases, to escape the violent situations that our countries suffer.
The social idea of the “American Dream,” spread by films and actual examples of individual immigrants who have made progress in the U.S., has ceased to be true for most. We see that immigrants often are subjected to slavery.
Many are forced to work under the control of others. a prime example of human trafficking. The pilgrimage of our migrants from Central America has produced enough evidence of how pursuing the American Dream tends to turn into a real nightmare and even death. Yet the flow does not stop.
We are facing aggressively anti-immigrant policies and a White House that makes an election issue of the situation. This is forcing the governments of our countries to face the most basic truth: that we need to defend the human rights of our brothers and sisters, who despite the fact they lack documentation and make their way north of their own free will, are people with rights, and the agreements that already govern this complex, universal issue of migration should be used to defend and protect them.
History records the savage treatment of Native Americans, and more recently, the discriminatory treatment of African Americans, the poor and Latinos. In each case, the discrimination and harsh treatment was marked by speeches and political interest from those who dominated over governing the country.
To ignore the true purpose of the xenophobic policy of today’s leaders in the United States is to leave human beings, citizens of our countries with rights, to their fates without protection.
In 2018, the United Nations produced the first global agreement to protect migration, which includes, among other things, steps to combat trafficking and family separation, promote a safe, dignified return and avoid sending those who face a real risk of death, torture or inhumane treatment back to their countries.
This global problem has been made clear, and research confirms that immigrants contribute to the development of the country that takes them in; 85% of their income goes to the host country and only 15% is returned as remittances, which help families back home.
In addition to the White House, there are undoubtedly people and institutions in the United States with a different vision. The authorities in our country, and adherents to the international pacts that recognize human rights and the rights of migrant workers, must take responsibility for defending of our people, and not submit to the foreign policies a country for the sake of false convenience.
The test remains in the hands of the Salvadoran government. The defense of its people is an obligation it must fulfill in the best possible way.
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