For years now, many have been talking about a crisis on the United States’ southern border, but it has perhaps never been so acute as it is now. It looks as though over 50,000 minors, with neither escort nor legal papers, have travelled from Central America to the United States within the past year. The Department of Health and Human Services, into whose custody they are being remanded, is appropriating whatever facilities it can to serve as quarters for them, and the prevalence of infectious disease among these migrants threatens to lead to a public health emergency. What is more, perhaps double or triple their numbers are expected over the next year, and it is doubtful how many will be repatriated. No doubt, this situation calls for a robust response, something we can scarcely expect from the devotees of the tepid and anaemic dogma so broadly adhered to in Washington and in the capitals of so many other supposedly successful nations. Thus, we must defy this dogma, and turn our eyes instead to solutions that may seem radical by today’s standards, despite their excellent historical precedent. Among these would be the annexation and pacification of troubled and troublesome countries and regions, a matter which I propose our political and military establishment consider in the case of Central America.
This migration problem shows clearly the complete failure of the republics of Central America. The countries these young people are leaving have with the highest rates of murder in the world and are riddled with gangs and other criminal syndicates, generally connected with the illegal drugs trade. In a climate as such, it is no wonder that there is little opportunity and much poverty, and that many would leave for another land under the impression that they would get a free ticket-of-entry. Systemic corruption in their governments militates against reform. Thus, the reform so greatly needed by the citizens of these countries can likely only be brought to bear by an outside agent.
That agent would logically be the United States as the powerhouse of the region and the nation forced to shoulder the burden of the vast number of migrants and refugees foisted upon it. Indeed, the matter of unlawful migration is always best considered as an issue of security, particularly that of economic security. Particularly in dismal economic times as these, with unemployment and underemployment rampant and wages stagnant to the point that so many fully employed persons are struggling to eke out an existence, to admit a surplus of labour from abroad cannot but drive wages down ever further, leading to many more on the dole and thus necessitating higher taxation of those persons and enterprises that are profitable. If misguided American policies had not encourage productive enterprises to send their plants overseas, the nation could likely afford to have more porous borders. Today, however, it evidently does not, and yet the borders are more open than ever.
Yet the President seems more than willing to ask Congress for billions of dollars to address this crisis, a very product of the governing clique whose ineptitude he represents. Frankly, caring for El Salvador’s children is not the job of the United States; it is El Salvador’s. If El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala must ask for help in governing their own peoples, then how is it that they are truly independent countries? For the sake of all parties concerned, annex these countries, bring the impressive might of the American military and policing apparatus against the bandits there just as the British suppressed the Thuggee in India, and, the peace of the lands preserved, allow them to prosper. Then, the United States will no longer have to worry about dependents at her doorstep.
I find it rather odd that I should be making such statements, as I have staunchly opposed nearly every American foreign intervention in recent history. The goals have seemed very unclear and the connection to American or even allied security or interests too tangential. Americans have little stake in Afghanistan for instance, or at least not nearly enough to warrant an occupation of well over a decade. Likewise with Iraq, Libya, Syria, and the Ukraine. However, their interests in their own hemisphere are now and have always been very great, and the economic and even physical security of the United States faces a great threat from the massive migration she has lately been enduring from her neighbours.
In the meantime, when faced with a humanitarian crisis as such, one has no choice but to respond with the corporal works of mercy. However, in researching the relief effort, I found something that has me a little puzzled. For all the savaging that the Church has taken from this administration, it amazes me that it has the temerity to ask for her help. It amazes me all the more, however, that certain bishops now on the take from the administration and thus indirectly supporting her ends, rather than suggesting that this money instead go to those dioceses in Central America to assist their educational, medical, and social welfare programs, which would surely do much to mitigate the suffering there and thus this crisis.
The state of the Church in Central America also could bear a little scrutiny, particularly when we consider that Central America’s most illustrious churchman, Óscar Andrés Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga, SDB, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, has become quite an important man in this pontificate. His friend Pope Francis, to whom he is considered like in mind, has placed him on the new “Council of Cardinals,” supposedly an inner core of advisers separate from the Roman Curia, which it intends to reform. The Pope has said priests (and most certainly bishops) should be ““shepherds living with the smell of the sheep,” close to their people and serving their needs. I’d ask His Eminence, then, why has his archdiocese among the highest murder rates in the world? Why this exodus of young people? Why are so many of your flock defecting from the faith in favour of Evangelical Protestantism? The Pope has also condemned “airport bishops,” always seeking a new task or new assignment rather than shepherding the flock assigned to them. If would wonder if His Eminence seems to think this applies to him, as he seems to be spending a lot of time in Rome tinkering with the Curia and then giving interviews that just make me cringe about it. Not that I’m making any accusations of malfeasance here, but I do think the world deserves some answers.
Realistically, I don’t believe that the United States will annex Central America any time soon. The problems faced by the countries in question are also faced in many urban areas of the United States as well, and too often go woefully unaddressed or misaddressed. Indeed, the question of whether the US itself is capable of responsible self-government at this point is still very much open, as it seems that almost all foreign and even domestic interventions by the US government only create more problems. Such was the case with earlier American interventions in Central America, and such is the case now; the President of Honduras certainly lays blame where it is due. However, for the sake of global peace and prosperity, the United States needs to drop its adversarialism and begin acting responsibly once again. If it does not, the you never know who might show up in your neighbourhood.