By Eduardo Castro
In a recent interview by Jeb Johnson, head of Homeland Security, he stated on television that migration is illegal.
Our sisters and brothers from Central America and Mexico are slaughtered before they cross the border into the United States. They face many obstacles during their travel. First, in Mexico where Central Americans are massacred; second, when they can possibly be massacred in northern Mexico. The great migration needs to be placed in a bigger picture of economics and politics.
As an example, farmers from Oaxaca for centuries have grown corn, which allowed them to become self-sufficient. In 1993, with the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, this changed when the administration of President Carlos Salinas approved it. He allowed the elimination of tariffs for imports. This made it impossible for farmers from Oaxaca to be competitive with U.S. farmers, thus destroying the economic base for them. Subsidies by the U.S. government to U.S. corporations allowed them to dump products into Mexico at lower prices.
The people from Oaxaca were not able to find livable work in Mexico and thus were forced to cross the U.S. border to support their families. There is a need to look at reasons why people migrate to the United States. Migration which is global in nature. It is a human right. We live in a world where migration is not voluntary but is forced upon the undocumented by poverty and economic reforms.
U.S. corporations get economic benefits when trade policies are implemented in their favor by way of no tariffs for imports and cheap labor and wages. As a result, U.S. corporations are allowed to import products to foreign countries that destroy the local economies by getting subsidies from the U.S. government.
Profits rule supreme over humanity.
The recent surge of Central American children and some adults crossing the Texas border is mainly due to U.S. intervention by use of economic and political policies they enforce on these countries. This is the root cause of poverty and violence in those countries. Worldwide, globalization, caused by the electronic integration of capitalist economies of countries throughout the world, is displacing millions of workers and forcing them to migrate to the United States.
What is needed is an immigration policy that stops putting pressure on people to cross the U.S. border. An immigration policy that doesn’t treat people crossing into the United States as criminals when they arrive here. That they have a secure job whether in the United States or their native country with a living wage, rights in the workplace and a community with a future for their family.
The borders should not be used to separate workers who have common interests. We are all migrants. Put yourself in their position. How would you like to be treated once arriving in a foreign country?
Eduardo Castro is a Vietnam veteran and a Board member of Journey for Justice. Contact him at email@example.com.