Once illegal immigrants have crossed the American border, it is not always easy for the authorities to remove them. Two powerful allies that illegal aliens have inside the U.S. are the American Civil Liberties Union and the George Soros-funded Southern Poverty Law Center, which have together filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration on behalf of 11 anonymous asylum seekers and six migrants’ rights groups.
The organizations demand an end to the “Migrant Protection Protocols,” which instruct asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases are processed. They insist this procedure endangers the lives of migrants, who they say should be allowed to enter the U.S. to make their claims. Apparently to maximize the likelihood of a favorable ruling, they have filed the suit in the progressive, migrant-friendly Northern District of California Court. These groups may well prove victorious at the local level, but in higher courts, President Donald Trump has a good chance to ultimately prevail.
Michelle Brane, director of the Migrants’ Rights and Justice Program at the Women’s Refugee Commission, said that “Both the US and Mexican governments know that the border area is unsafe for women and children.” Is Brane correct?
One of the major border cities to which the Protection Protocols apply is Tijuana. By Western standards it is not the safest place, but it is still classified by the State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) as only level 2 for danger, with travelers advised to “exercise increased caution.” According to OSAC, “Homicides continue to be mostly connected to these [gang-related] rivalries and power struggles.” Thus, unless the migrants are drug traffickers or gangsters, their lives are not in imminent danger during a stay in Tijuana.
A far deeper issue is that most people who seek asylum in the U.S. are simply not eligible. Article 1 of the U.N. 1951 Refugee Convention defines a refugee as someone who has a “well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”
Living in a poor country with a high crime rate is not a valid reason to be granted refugee status. Most people from Latin-America who seek asylum in America are fleeing poverty and crime, seeking an improved material situation and security. While it is understandable that most people want a better life, this is outside the scope of the U.N. definition of a refugee. The activist groups most likely know this, but don’t like it. They are actively working against any policies that reduce the influx of illegal immigrants into the U.S.
It is in the best interest of the U.S. to find alternative ways of reducing illegal immigration because as Trump’s recent struggle with the Democrats on Wall funding has demonstrated, there are plenty of powerful forces within America that advocate for open borders. One option could be to help Mexico and other neighboring countries to clean up their acts and create safe economic zones – areas with special rules such as low taxes and courts that protect property, not unlike what China has done with cities such as Shenzhen. People want economic opportunities, but they don’t like giving up their language and culture. Why would they move to the U.S. if they could get prosperity and security in a Spanish-speaking country?
Why would they move to the U.S. if they could get prosperity and security in a Spanish-speaking country?
Trump could make inroads by offering to assist Honduras, Mexico, and other nations in setting up free zones, run by competent U.S. officials. In fact, Mexico has already announced that it intends to implement free zones in its northern border area. New York University economist Paul Romer has proposed a similar concept involving what he calls “charter cities,” and he was able to get Honduras within an inch of amending its constitution to try the solution.
While Romer’s attempt didn’t bear fruit, it shows that there is some political will to find creative solutions that could fix South America’s financial and migratory woes. Maybe it would be an idea for the Trump administration to breathe some life into these innovative ideas as part of an effort to stem the tide of illegal immigration?
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