Immigrants are the most vulnerable sector of any society. They are easily used as scapegoats to justify economic crises and wrong policies. In many cases, their presence arouses fears and concerns. Peculiar physical characteristics, the incomprehensible sound of new languages, previously unheard of food products that start filling supermarket shelves to satisfy different palates break the tranquility of a daily life which, although hated at times, is wrapped in the security of that which is known.
Many politicians take advantage of these fears to enlarge their electoral base and consensus. They nurture the sensation of danger and present themselves as security champions. By pointing to diversity as a threat, they assume a role of paternal protectors, aware of the effect that this may have on frightened populations harassed by a barrage of information that social networks amplify ad infinitum.
President Trump is well aware of these strategies, and it is no coincidence that since the beginning of his electoral campaign he turned his attention to immigrant communities, pointing at them as though they were the main reason for the problems that lurk inevitably in a country as large and diverse as the United States.
Frustrated over the failed health reform, and harassed by special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation on whether his team colluded with Russia during the last electoral process, now again the US Head of State uses the immigration issue to regain ground among his electorate.
He does so this time by supporting a bill of Republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue that provides for a drastic reduction of immigration. The only ones qualifying for a visa would be young people with a high level of studies and English proficiency; and family ties would no longer prevail as regards the processing of documents. To the detriment of the unit of immigrant families, the new proposal would allow the entry only of spouses and minor children.
The siege around immigrants is growing stronger every day. The deportations grow, while refugees’ numbers decrease; and the threat remains there of a wall to divide the United States from Mexico.
Trump forgets the history of the country he governs. He forgets that the US were built by immigrants; the blood that “others” shed in all its conflicts; and the invaluable contribution they continue to make to the growth of this nation.
Finance giants like JP Morgan take the opportunity to invest in the business of incarceration, which, thanks to the undocumented ones is becoming ever more lucrative.
And while the value of the word solidarity is lost in the way in the United States, the reasons forcing emigration from many areas of Latin America and the Caribbean grow ever more pressing.
Thousands of people leave daily from Venezuela, in an almost irrepressible exodus that spreads throughout the world. They arrive at even the most remote places of the planet. And in Central America, unleashed and fierce crime, hunger, and lack of opportunities are the engines driving migrants of all ages out of the borders. Many of them very young children, they are at the mercy of traffickers, and sometimes disappear without a trace.
Despair is so great that people are willing to run any risk, to submit to any abuse so long as they may leave their countries. Many times though, their trips end up in death.
A few days ago, 178 Central American migrants who had been abandoned by their traffickers while trying to reach the United States were rescued in Mexico. They were much luckier than dozens of other undocumented ones that die on the way. Numbers without a name, they come to be buried along with their dreams in other people’s graves. Their only fault: having been born in the wrong place, in a world where the notion of humanity is disappearing.
“Creer en el hombre significa creer en su libertad. Libertad de pensamiento, de palabra, de crítica, de oposición.” - Oriana Fallaci