Message to migrants

June 14, 2021

Kamala Harris’s new immigration stance is consistent with the Biden Administration’s broader strategy to focus on “root causes” in Central America through government aid,...

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Kamala Harris’s new immigration stance is consistent with the Biden Administration’s broader strategy to focus on “root causes” in Central America through government aid, anti-corruption measures, and “good governance” policy.

Such a strategy is very similar to that of the Obama Administration. President Obama pushed an aggressive aid-based strategy in Central America similarly contingent on ‘good governance’ and an ‘anti-corruption’ effort; much like Harris, Vice President Joe Biden led that effort.

Before Harris was officially appointed to her diplomatic role, the Biden Administration announced that it would be following in Obama’s footsteps by providing $4 billion in aid to Central American countries.

Then, in late May, Harris announced that the Biden Administration would also be investing in several businesses in Central America. Money would be provided to US corporations that operate in the region, like Mastercard and Microsoft, as well as nonprofits and philanthropic organizations.

As Natalie Kitroeff and Michael D Shear reported in The New York Times, the Obama-era tactics now being embraced by Biden and Harris have failed to accomplish much of anything.

“They’ve never helped me,” Pedro Aguilar, a Guatemalan farmer, told the Times. “Where does all the money go? Where's the aid? Who knows?”

Kitroeff and Shear go on to write that experts “note that much of the [Central American aid] money is handed over to American companies, which swallow a lot of it for salaries, expenses and profits, often before any services are delivered.”

Where Obama, Biden, and Harris cite external causes and seek external ‘solutions’ to the ‘root causes’ of Central American migration, there’s a strong case to be made that the US government is to blame.

“Starting with early Cold War-era covert and overt military intervention and regime change,” wrote Felipe De La Hoz in The New Republic, “and continuing through the exporting of gangs like MS-13 – originally established in California – through harsh and short-sighted immigration enforcement during the ‘law and order’ late ’80s and ’90s, there is almost no socio-political-economic issue plaguing these countries that doesn't have US fingerprints all over it.”

Such a notion has been echoed elsewhere. In an interview with the Citations Needed podcast in December, activist and writer Roberto Lovato spoke of "decades of U.S. policy of neoliberal economics that destroy entire economies, extract the resources, the mineral and other resources in Central America, that exploit the workers and maquilas, they pay a pittance of survival and these policies are backed up by militaries and militarized policing in the region."

Excerpted: ‘Kamala Harris’s Harsh Message to Central American Migrants’

Commondreams.org



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