“I left all my memories in Syria, so there’s nothing left to take”.
“Husband works in construction. Husband salary depends on luck, waits on side of the street to get picked”.
“Prefer by land, but by sea if there’s no choice”.
“I have no dreams in Europe. I just want my husband to get a proper job, a proper life for my children”.
“I will bring nothing with me”.
“For sure, I’m nervous”.
And so these are their stories, their troubles, their worries. People who are compelled to migrate from their lands in search of a better life and brighter conditions have little choice or no choices at all. They are among the most vulnerable of humans walking on earth. Their plight gets made even worse by the cruelty and greed of their fellow humans, by the indifference of governments, which many times use them as political pawns and by nature. Harsh conditions at sea or at inhospitable land crossings may fatally end their journey.
The irony of this drawing of an immigrant mother with her son carefully placed next to an “alien” cartoon is not lost on us. By labeling the immigrants who come to this country as “aliens” the authorities deem to strip them of their dignity, their character and make them into something strange, different, void of consideration and worth. By being called “aliens” these humans are being lumped together into a cultureless subgroup with no defining characteristics on their own. The label allows the immigration department to treat them all as law-breakers, offenders of the norm.
The current “crisis” at the southern border comes as a surprise every year during this time of the year. Due to better climate conditions on the southern border immigrants from Central American countries take on a journey fraught with danger first through Mexico where they fell prey to criminal gangs, violent cartel groups, and human trafficking networks. If they are lucky to make it all the way to the border with the USA, their problems are often amplified by hypocritical, posturing, and cynical politicians hoping to get a sound bite on Fox News so they can use it in the next fundraising letter.
Yes, human migration is a crisis. It is a global crisis with roots in wars, ethnic cleansing, natural disasters, and, corrupt and authoritarian governments all over the world who steal from the treasury and pretend to care and lead but have little to no intention to seriously invest in infrastructure, education, real security and health programs to keep their citizens from leaving their homes, their families, and their roots.
The collusion of law enforcement with drug cartels and criminal gangs creates all war conditions for anybody to live and prosper. Children and young adults are forced to hide and quit their education as the simple routine of walking to school and back home becomes an act of hide and seek, run and stop just to evade getting caught in a cross fire or just simply getting caught and never seen again.
President Biden succinctly and without hesitation put the matter to rest when the somnolent and apathetic members of the White House press pretended to ask hard questions at his first press conference. “They don’t come here because I’m a nice guy,” he told them, and suggested that rather than pouring billions of dollars in erecting measures to combat immigration at home the funds should go directly to the suffering people of Central America to improve their living conditions so they remain at home rather than embark on a dangerous journey that most certainly will turn into hell.
But this solution might not be good enough for those who are looking for culture wars to score points and for the press who need identity politics to keep the ratings up.