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As the border crisis increases, Democrats are starting ask the Biden administration for explanations. On March 16, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas acknowledged that the country is on its way to witness the largest flow of illegal immigrants crossing the border in 20 years.
The issue of migration must be approached from different points of view. The national interest is fundamental. Americans pay for border security, who should then ensure that whoever enters the country does so legally. Likewise, millions of conservative Americans are concerned about the economic edge. Migrants should not be a burden to the citizens, but should work and contribute to the country.
But there is another issue not often mentioned (or at least not correctly), and that is the drama that illegal migrants experience both on the way to the U.S., as well as when they arrive at the border, and even when they have successfully entered the country. The tragedy that is the journey of many migrants is something that politicians and activists should be clear about before sending incorrect messages that end up encouraging people to attempt to enter this country without due process.
Both President Biden’s decisions and statements have caused an increase in the number of immigrants seeking to enter the U.S. through the southern border. The government has said it wants to regularize the status of millions already in the U.S., has granted TPS, has suspended the construction of border fences, it is no longer necessary for Central American asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their status is being resolved, among many other things.
These measures, some good, some not, ended up — as was evident — causing a “call effect.” People believe that the conditions for entering the country have been greatly relaxed and this encourages them to migrate.
What the Biden-Harris administration is doing is generating negative incentives. But this is not only a problem for Americans and the immigration authorities, it is also endangering the lives of entire families. Thousands of people, when trying to enter this country illegally, live one of the worst experiences of their lives; on the journey they are victims of drug cartels and other criminal groups. Migrants risk being murdered, extorted, robbed, and some are even sexually assaulted.
Estimates suggest that 70 % of illegal Central American women migrants suffer some form of sexual abuse. The issue is so serious and so cruel that many teenagers and women take long-acting contraceptives to prevent pregnancy in case they are raped. Women may be abused by fellow travelers, people living in the outlying areas, gang members, “coyotes”, and even, according to some reports, immigration authorities of the countries through which they pass.
Falsely misleading people into making a journey that may be one of the most traumatic events of their lives is unethical. U.S. should move toward immigration reform that allows those who wish to contribute and create value to enter and stay legally, but while that process moves forward, enticing people to make an extremely risky journey, with the intent to pass illegally, is despicable.
This type of speeches issued by the Government, in reality, end up strengthening crime in the border area, sex trafficking and even child abuse. When a government is clear that it will not allow illegal entry and, even so, people decide to try and families send their children alone, the blame for what happens is on those who migrate or send their children with “coyotes.”
But when the government of a country is not clear about how it will deal with migrants who arrive at the border and, in addition, communicates that there is an opportunity for all those who manage to enter to stay, this government becomes, at least to some extent, responsible for the misfortunes that befall those who, without information and under the illusion of irresponsible statements, decide to undertake the journey.
What the Biden administration is doing by encouraging illegal migration is not only inconvenient for the U.S., it is irresponsible and unethical.
Vanessa Vallejo. Co-editor-in-chief of El American. Economist. Podcaster. Political and economic analysis of America. Colombian exile in the United States // Vanessa Vallejo. Co-editora en jefe de El American. Economista. Podcaster. Análisis político y económico de América. Colombiana exiliada en EE. UU.