“It wasn’t a manufactured crisis,” Trump claimed about the United States-Mexico border crisis in a press gaggle on Wednesday, June, 26th 2019 shortly before departing for the G20 conference in Osaka, Japan. Margaret Valenti takes a look at the genesis of the border crisis beyond Donald Trump.
Speaker Pelosi and Trump met today to discuss what to do with the humanitarian aid package being sent to the southern border. Of course, Trump takes credit for the aid which he also says does not provide enough of what he calls “protection.”
Historically, the relationship between immigrants and the United States, whether they come into the country as asylum seekers, workers, or to join or provide for the family is complicated and not a positive reflection of the United States’ values. They are criminalized, threatened, and marginalized every day. When Trump says the crisis was not manufactured by him, he is not lying.
George Bush Jr. era reforms of immigration post 9/11 and the recent disturbing accounts and images of the United States-Mexico border under the Trump regime make it clear that these abuses of immigrants are not about to stop anytime soon. The Trump administration is even willing to use old Japanese Internment Camps to send the message that immigrants, regardless of status, are foreign threats until proven otherwise. Latin Americans are not the only people being targeted in Trump’s latest threat of ICE crackdowns on immigrants, however they are the people facing the riskiest consequences.
While Trump is making the immigrant situation at the United States-Mexico border worse, manipulating Mexico and abusing children, the immigration in the United States is not his crisis, it is a result of the pursuit of the American dream.
A Brief History of Immigration
Way back to the age of colonization, it was the European powers at the time who decided where the borders were in places where borders did not exist in the way they do today. There was no world map drawn in black lines, no “discovery.” Since then, the questions immigration poses affect every single country that opens their borders to this influx population. In the United States, pretty much anyone who did not fall under the category of Protestant or Christian was automatically a threat.
Exterminations were carried out against the Native Americans. Slavery happened. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair highlights the abuse of largely Eastern European immigrants by the meatpacking industries. Japanese citizens were placed in internment camps without a single criminal charge. There are too many abuses to list. Since then, a number of atrocities occurred and continue to occur against people who do not fall under those categories and they are not stopping any time soon.
The contribution of the United States to its own immigration crisis adds a layer of hypocrisy since the government engaged in conflicts, coup d’etats, and proxy wars that created the destabilization that leads people to leave their home countries in the first place.
Many of the child immigrants who died in ICE custody are Guatemalan, a country still struggling with corrruption and poverty after a thirty six year war and genocide started by actions the United States took on behalf of the United Fruit Company. To protect the United States’ interests in South America, the government had no limits and seemed to not care about the aftermath which left this region economically and socially devastated.
Border Crisis Today
Today, gun violence in Central America is also a United States problem. Countries with some of the strictest gun laws in the world can trace the guns they do have back to the United States. It is not immigrants bringing crime to the United States. Instead, the United States’ backwards gun laws bring the problem of gun violence straight to Central America.
Now, while Trump blames the crisis on the immigrants themselves, large US corporations continue to hire workers that they do not have to pay minimum wage. Of course, Trump will never place blame on large corporations, that is not the “American” way. What he is willing to do is turn a blind eye while children are denied basic humane treatment.
This crisis at the border was not caused by Trump, but it is getting worse due to his ignorance of the conditions and lack of action to correct these wrongs. While many are seeking asylum from gangs, corruption, poverty, LGBTQIA+ protection, and many other reasons, the steps the Trump administration is taking are to stop entry into this country rather than prevent illegal crossings.
By now, the news and other media outlets are calling for the President to at least provide basic human necessities, despite the fact that these kids need to be with those who care for them. The long term effects of Trump’s policies are deep and psychological and the conditions can be categorized as child abuse. While many call for basic supplies, ultimately Trump should not be removing children from the care of people whose lives are spent keeping them safe, their parents and loved ones. The images are painful and the stories are infuriating because they should never happen in the first place.
Even those who try to help like Scott Daniel Warren are criminalized for their efforts. People trying to donate supplies to the children were turned away. Children have already died in ICE custody while the administration does nothing to stop the real crisis, and continuing to act to perpetuate it.