The Border Crisis
On both sides of the Atlantic, borders have become a big issue in the guise of the equivalent question of whether a country can restrict the entry of migrants to numbers the electorate regards as sustainable.
In the U.S., the family impact of arresting illegal aliens has intensified political hostility nearly to the point of physical conflict. The New York Times sadly notes that Trump supporters no longer even listen to the media's frequent denunciations of the incumbent president. How can they stand him? "This includes portions of the wealthy college-educated people in swing counties ... and the endless stream of tough cable news coverage and bad headlines about Mr. Trump only galvanizes them further."
Both sides have dug in along some gigantic political Western Front. The Times argued it was Trump's failure to follow the unofficial policy that immigration law was best humanely ignored, or at least -- as Kevin Jennings, former assistant deputy secretary of Education under President Obama, argued in the L.A. Times -- "transcended," that caused the crisis. Jennings wrote that "coming here 'illegally' did not even exist as a concept" until a hundred years ago.
With opinion so divided, it is not surprising that White House press secretary Sarah Sanders "was booted from a Virginia restaurant because she works for President Donald Trump, the latest administration official to experience a brusque reception in a public setting." Nor will she likely be the last. Mother Jones tweeted: "Trump officials can no longer eat out in peace."
In Europe things are, if anything, worse.
A growing coalition of parties demanding control over national boundaries was threatening the future of the European Union itself -- or at least the chancellorship of Angela Merkel. "European Union leaders gather in Brussels on Sunday in an attempt to bridge their deep divisions over migration, an issue that has been splitting them for years and now poses a fresh threat to German Chancellor Angela Merkel."
Yet the biggest aspect of the crisis, even though it is underreported, is in countries close to where 22.5 million have fled imploding societies -- the biggest such tide of displacement since WWII. The numbers are staggering: Turkey has 3.5 million Syrian refugees, tiny Lebanon a million; 1.5 million Afghans are camped in Pakistan; more than a million Sudanese are cooling their heels in Uganda. In South America, one million Venezuelans fleeing Bolivarian socialism have lodged in Colombia. In Central America, multitudes of "families and unaccompanied children" daily flee their own crime-ridden societies for the U.S.:
Current homicide rates are among the highest ever recorded in Central America. Several cities, including San Salvador, Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, are among the 10 most dangerous in the world. The most visible evidence of violence is the high rate of brutal homicides, but other human rights abuses are on the rise, including the recruitment of children into gangs, extortion and sexual violence.
From 2011 to 2016, the number of people from the Northern Triangle who have sought refuge in surrounding countries has increased by 2,249 percent. The majority fleeing are women and children. In 2016, 388,000 people fled the region – more continued to flee in 2017. The rapid growth of those forced from their homes is quickly outstripping available resources, leaving many vulnerable children, women and men without physical and legal protection.