Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The New Republic on "The Border Crisis"

Editors and contributors of The New Republic report on the different angles of the border crisis. From the violence migrants face at home to the smuggling of U.S. guns into countries south of the border, it is clear that America has a moral case to act compassionately when dealing with the influx of migrants.

Franklin Foer makes the case that the U.S. has an obligation to let the migrant children stay. The U.S. has a history of providing refuge to people from different countries and it has a responsibility to provide asylum to Central American migrants today. He writes:

"Of all the [William Wilberforce] revivalists, the most dogged was Sam Brownback, then a senator from Kansas. [...] in a tribute to his idol, he introduced the Wilberforce Act, which was intended to curb the modern-day incarnation of slavery: human trafficking. [...] But arrival of tens of thousands of Central American kids this year has exposed just how badly Congress underestimated the urge to immigrate: A great mass of humanity will endure enormous risk at the least sign that they have America's blessing to flee here."

He continues:

"But the unanticipated numbers of children availing themselves of the Wilberforce Act shouldn't undermine the initial logic for it. The bill's conservative authors understood that the United States has obligations to the world's most desperate cases--and that those obligations should play a decisive role in shaping our immigration policy."

Eric Benson report sthat despit ethe claims that the U.S.-Mexico border is a "battlefield," the border is by no means a violent war zone. He writes:

"If you listen for radio traffic in the Rincon Village area, it's amazing," Border Patrol Agent Albert Spratte, a union sergeant-at-arms, told me at the height of the crossings in June. "It's, OK, we need two buses. OK, some vans. In that area, over the night, it's probably several hundred or more." Upon reaching U.S. soil, most of these women and children surrender to the first person in uniform they see. Managing the stream of migrants from Central America from a security standpoint seems to call less form overwhelming force than for running an efficient taxi service.

Alec MacGillis reports that guns are one of the main reasons for the gangs' oppressive control over Central American countries. The U.S. is thus partly responsible as a significant number of these guns can be traced to U.S. retail dealers. He writes:

"[Harry] the [U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)'s] only agent for all of Central America. From his desk at the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador, he is the one responsible for tracing U.S. guns smuggled into the Northern Triangle: El Salvador Guatemala, and Honduras. [...] And since Penate took on the job two years ago, he has come to an inescapable conclusion: U.S. weapons are partly to blame for the carnage--and in turn for the kids who are fleeing it."

He continues:

"The flow of guns is critical to the gangs' chokehold over the Norther Triangle. [...] "The firearm is to a gang member what a hammer is to a carpenter," Penate says."

Óscar Martínez depicts the violent and hopeless circumstances Central American civilians face when dealing with gangs. He argues that the only option these civilians have is to flee to the U.S. He writes:

"When a family keeps its children out of the gangs, the gangs have a way of still getting to the family. [...] Every month, you see a newspaper headline announcing a new group abandoning their homes. The families are threatened for all sorts of reasons: because their sons didn't want to join a gang, because a family member filed a police report, because they won't let a gang member rape their daughter. Or simply because they visited their grandfather in enemy territory. [...] It's only natural that someone who can't find a corner in which to hide in his own country would consider migrating to the United States to join relatives already there."


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