If you sought to preserve the violent, reactionary and undemocratic regimes of countries like El Salvador and Honduras — and, to a great extent, Mexico — into perpetuity, how would you do it?
One way would be by providing a permanent U.S. safety valve for all their poor and downtrodden, the victims.
Just as with Europe and the Middle East, open borders can salve the soul and make us all feel good about ourselves, but they come with a price. And that price is not just for the richer host countries in supplying costly services. It is even greater for the countries of origin whose benighted citizens, the stay behinds, are left to suffer under governments that are incompetent, corrupt and often murderous.
Meanwhile, many of their good people (yes, along with some of the bad) are leaving or have left. It would have been those people, working together, that might have fixed their countries. No chance now.
This is an aspect of the larger immigration issue lost in the welter of emotional events like parent-child separation that so entrance our media. Why has Syria been a wretched place as long as we can remember? Why has it always been “Poor Mexico — so far from God, so close to the United States,” as its one-time president Porfirio Diaz — himself something of a dictator — characterized his country over a hundred years ago?
As someone who lived most of his life in Los Angeles and only recently left, I am no stranger to this pattern and to the illegal alien problem. In fact, I’ve co-written a movie about it. It is, as noted, a highly emotional issue that almost never changes. The arguments on all sides today are exactly as I remember them from 1970. Nothing has changed.
And nothing is likely to change in any substantive way from current events, because serious discussion of the issue is non-existent. Propaganda rules. It is the political football of all time, brought out when politicians seek to score points or distract from other issues that might embarrass them .
That it has been miraculously discovered — despite having been going on for decades — that children are being temporarily incarcerated on the border is a perfect example of that. It’s no accident this surfaced at the moment the FBI is under fire for the Clinton email investigation and the possibility the organization sought to sabotage the presidency of Donald Trump.
So “immigration” is once again the stalking horse for everything but itself. It is a dumb show with the poor of Central America used as pawns. People will throw up their hands in horror and some children will likely get to stay longer with their parents — a good thing, obviously — but the larger reality will not change one iota.
The Democrats, in particular, do not want it to. In that sense they resemble the Palestinians, proclaiming they want a two-state solution even when it’s evident from their behavior the opposite is true.
Trump’s compromise on DACA, offering the opportunity for 1.8 million young (or youngish) people to stay in the country in exchange for a wall and a more regulated immigration system, was surprisingly generous. Many Republicans blanched. But the Democrats were having none of it. That would have put an end to this issue, at least for the nonce, and they would have lost their football.
So instead we have a fiesta of hypocrisy with one supposed genius who once ran the CIA comparing what’s going on on our border to Auschwitz (how anti-Semitic is that!) and the Mexican government, which treats immigrants somewhere south of lepers and has vicious controls on its Guatemalan border, jumping in to condemn the U.S. treatment of these children.
In the midst of all this, compromise will be abjured with both our political parties wedded to placating their bases. And Honduras and El Salvador will remain two of the bloodiest countries with the greatest murder rates on Earth. In one study, they are one and four respectively. The much larger Mexico is only twenty, even though Los Cabos, the resort at the tip of Baja, is the number one murder city in the world, followed closely by Acapulco, Tijuana and La Paz at three, five and six respectively.
Years ago, when La Paz was just a sleepy fishing village, I used to vacation in Baja regularly. No longer. What has happened is a tragedy and the fault isn’t with us, but with the Mexican government and their narcotrafficante buddies. Nevertheless, the solution is not for us to open our borders willy-nilly. That will only make things worse, perpetuating a horrific situation while pleasing their corrupt government and giving more access to the cartels.
So what’s the solution? I wish I had one. I usually try to be optimistic. It’s kind of how I see my job, pushing things forward. But in this case it’s hard. I’ve been watching the charade of immigration being played for too long. With everything for propaganda and almost nothing for reality, I don’t see the logjam being broken any time soon.
Roger L. Simon – PJ Media’s Co-Founder and CEO Emeritus – is a novelist and Oscar-nominated screenwriter.