“Tell Them We Are Full” – No Room in the Inn

It is often hard to keep in mind that we live in two parallel universes. The first is the universe of reality. The second is the universe of politics.

In the universe of reality, immigration policy is a real problem that needs to be rationally addressed and fixed. In the universe of politics, immigration policy is a wedge campaign issue that has value as a “crisis”. As some politician once said, “Never waste a good crisis.” A good corollary might be that if you don’t have a crisis, create one. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but we don’t seem to be capable of solving real world problems through political compromise. That’s too bad because it takes away hope for a real solution and replaces it with feelings of helplessness, despair, fear and anger regardless of political affinity.

May I suggest the possibility that this migration problem may get a lot worse and that the highest wall and the most draconian of deterrent policies won’t solve it.

Global climate change is a reality. Migration due to climate change is already occurring in the world and it will get worse. What if people in Mexico and Central America begin to migrate in even larger numbers due to climate change that affects their ability to feed themselves?

It also seems clear that people fleeing Central America are doing so because of extreme poverty, government instability, and justified fears of violence from criminal gangs and even their own police and security forces. The migrants are desperate and they see no alternative. Desperate people do desperate things. If you have absolutely no chance at home, wouldn’t you flee? And isn’t it true that all of the factors that are causing Central Americans to migrate are getting worse and not better?

If we can’t handle what is happening now and if we are unwilling to help Central America become a safer and more prosperous place to live, what chance do we have of dealing with immigration in the future?

For an excellent, well-reasoned piece on the immigration issue, I recommend the op-ed of David Brooks, “Our Disgrace at the Border”, in the April 12, 2019 New York Times.