Migrant Caravan or Looming Calamity..
How Trump uses hordes of impoverished asylum seekers to garner support for the Midterms.
With the Midterms round the corner, some of America’s Republican Party leaders, cheered on by none other than President Trump have portrayed the ‘migrant caravan’ as a bogeyman that threatens America’s security. Quite clearly, a cocktail of misinformation and mischievous politics have brought this largely humanitarian issue to the center-stage.
Before we sit down to analyze this highly blown-up problem dispassionately, it is essential to take a relook at the American credo that reads like this.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
These words are etched in stone at the base of the Statue of Liberty, the proud symbol of the nation, and the embodiment of the American dream. Many hardliners tend to lose sight of the fact that almost all Americans barring a miniscule number of original inhabitants settled down in this land ‘illegally’. With means that were cruel, unjust and highly discriminatory, the settlers usurped the natural wealth of this vast swathe of land that Americans so jealously claim as theirs today.
The three poor neighbours and their ‘cursed’ citizens …
The hundreds and thousands of impoverished people that are coming by foot from the three poorest and badly-governed countries – Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala—are in dire straits. For decades, these three tiny countries have lived as vassals of the United States, receiving generous subsidies to rehabilitate themselves. Sadly, no amount of American largesse has succeeded to free these cursed lands from crime, poverty, drugs, and a anaemic governance. With no jobs, and no source of income, life has become unlivable in these places. This compels the common folks to flee their homes and head towards the U.S. In many ways, they face the same specter that the original European settlers faced in their countries when they fled to America. The migrants are and the forefathers of present-day Americans were victims of the same fate.
From ‘terror’ fears to paucity of money – the gear shifts …
What differentiates the migrants of today is the fact that they are perceived, though expediently, as dangerous criminals, and as President Trump calls some among them ‘middle-Easterners’ – an allusion to their supposed propensity for terrorism. When challenged to prove such aspersions, the migrant-haters changed gears and expressed fear that the cost of resettling them in America would be too steep to afford. In simple words, the message going out is, “You are unwanted here.”, The aversion to even show some humanitarian consideration and treat them so scornfully is pure, reprehensible selfishness, and a disavowal of the American values. One thing is clear – the migrants provide excellent propaganda material for some, The stronger they are whipped, the larger will be the consolidation of the far right vote base of President Trump, and his fellow Republicans.
Quite tragically, President Trump continues to describe has described these migrants, mostly women and children, as “drug peddlers, criminals, and rapists”, saying, rather condescendingly that some of them are good people, but not enough. It is this cultivated fear-mongering that was and continues to be used to justify building a massive wall in the U.S.-Mexico border. In the Southern part of the United States, animosity against the aspiring asylum-seekers runs deep. Sadly, scrutiny of the arguments for not letting in the migrants reveals how flawed, exaggerated and xenophobic these are.
What has been the crime record…..
Statistics show that illegal immigrants cause less than half the crime that America’s bona fide citizens do, and legal immigrants are a small fraction of that (Cato Institute 2018). The crimes they commit are usually misdemeanors, not lethal, or dangerous. The notion that illegal entrants are a major law and order headache is contrived, and illogical. Regrettably, people in power in this country endorse such falsehood, apparently for short-sighted political gains.
Far from being a burden, the migrants will be a boon …
The politicians who peddle the anti-migration rhetoric seemed to have driven home their point that migrants, when let in, will prove to be an unsustainable economic and social burden for America. A large number of Americans have been swayed by this concocted fear. An analysis of the likely impact of having so many immigrants among us shows that far from being an economic burden, they will be a boon, contributing to different sections of the economy. According to a study done by the American Immigration Council, legalization would allow “previously unauthorised workers to earn higher wages and get better jobs”. This, in turn, will lead to huge rises in tax revenue and a welcome boost to the labor market. This would bolster our economy and improve the living conditions of the working and middle class.
Looming elections in Texas – an interesting picture …
Politics in America is such that mot issues that include immigration are seen through two different prisms by the left- and right-leaning sides. In the pre-election cacophony, the truth gets lost. In the southern state Texas, the Republican incumbent Ted Cruz and his Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke have given their very divergent perspectives on the immigration issue. Texas has long been a Republican bastion. This time, the tide seems to be turning. The charismatic Democrat (left-leaning) candidate Beto appears to be riding a pro-Democrat wave. He is trailing by a mere 3.8 points in the poll. As the election fever grips Texas, the gulf between the positions of the two rivals on the immigration issue widens. Beto O’Rourke’s has stated that he, in principle, supports legal and orderly entry of migrants. However, he has not clarified his position as regards the ‘migrant caravan’ heading towards the U.S. Ted Cruz, on the contrary, said rather sarcastically that he will direct the incoming migrants to the doors of Beto supporters because they do not support building a wall on the border.
A need for moral introspection ….
-The issue of allowing or stopping the migrant caravan has to be examined keeping in mind some historical facts and present-day statistics. America’s soul says the migrants have a moral right to citizenship. Regarding the claim that America lacks resources to settle them, it can safely be said that such a contention is not borne out by facts. The U.S. military spending touches a whopping $600 billion – roughly, 54% of the country’s annual budget. America spends more on military than the next seven top spenders (including China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the U.K, India, France, and Japan) combined! The spending on education is just about $70billion. This shows how convoluted American budget planning is. So, the U.S. not having money for the migrants is a dubious argument. By denying the impoverished poor migrants a fair chance to seek citizenship, Americans will be denying themselves the high moral ground that they justifiably claim as the mightiest, free, and fair nation of the world.