Daily Dispatch 4/3/2019

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Daily Dispatch

April 3, 2019

More on Suspension of aid to Central America... 

The takes up issues related to Trump’s threat to suspend aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. The focus in the article is on potential impacts for non-governmental organizations doing work in the region, but there are some good reflections here on the impact of U.S. policy, for example:

Sarah Hall Aguila, director of operations for the Central American Resource Center, said the recent history of migration from Central America is linked to events in the United States a few decades ago.

"People fleeing gang-related violence and extortion are unfortunately dealing with a phenomenon that began in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s and spread to Central America because of deportations after the region’s armed conflicts ended in the 1990s," she said, and other documents that say the to combat violence and migration but may be .

There is  also further discussion of the impact of Trump’s policies on non-governmental organizations working on the U.S. side of the border to support immigrants. 

As we, it is not clear what Trump’s threat actually means in terms of real dollars suspended, and as Sarah Hall Aguila notes above, the impact of U.S. aid is not uniformly positive to begin with. Nevertheless, Trump’s announcement is just further evidence that, for him, immigration is not a problem to be solved, but a fear to be stoked for political gain.


On this last point, it is worth reflecting on what the next 18 months might look like, as we begin the long process of slogging through primaries. ran another piece, this one by Jeff Faux, on what Democrats should be doing regarding immigration. I take issue with several of Faux’s points. While critical of Democrats for offering a “Trump-lite” approach to immigration, he also argues, "Democratic candidates must make clear that they are committed to limiting immigration to what is legal (currently over 1 million people per year)." It is hard to know how Democrats can be convincing on this matter in the current environment without caving to expanded border security measures - i.e, the very Trump-lite approach they are currently engaged in, which Faux critiques.

However, Faux’s overall points are worth considering, and he is one of the few pundits with a larger microphone on this issue that specifically hones in on the need to tackle U.S. foreign policy, and the U.S. government’s historic alliance with military institutions in Central America. For this alone, it is worth a read:

Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador are de facto US colonies, places where oligarchs have long exploited their people in partnership with American capital. They are suffering the aftereffects of brutal civil wars stoked by Washington’s paranoia toward leftist political movements. The region has also become a major route for the shipment of drugs from South America to the United States. Attracted by the enormous profits, oligarchs have collaborated with narcotraffickers and other criminal gangs that terrorize citizens through robbery, extortion, rape, and murder.

Read full article .

Unfortunately, for many liberal commentators, the strategic approach to the upcoming election is to suggest Democrats steal Trump’s thunder by being more aggressive on border security without losing their bleeding hearts/souls in the process. This could be a Faustian bargain. And even if they win back the White House, it could prove to be a disaster for immigrants. It is not as if Obama’s tenure was great for immigrants. Going back to that would seem to represent more of a lack of imagination, than actual progress. And yet this conversation is just beginning. 

18. More. Months.