Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Sid Salter: It's About Refugees

The haunting photo of the bodies of Salvadoran migrant Oscar Alberto Martínez Ramirez and his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria, on the banks of the Rio Grande at Matamoros, Mexico has now – for good or ill – become the face of the immigration debate in America.

Family members told officials that Ramirez and the child were trying to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexican border by swimming the river near Brownsville, Texas and had made it across. But when Ramirez left the child on the U.S. side to go back across to get his wife, the child jumped in the water after him.

Both drowned while seeking asylum in the U.S. The wrenching debate over this incident has revealed at once the ethos, pathos and logos of how our citizens and our politicians think about the concept of America as a nation of immigrants.

It is a debate that is epic in proportion, but the notion that one political party or the other or one president or the other has done more to precipitate the heartbreaking image from the river bank in Mexico ignores the long view of immigration policy and spending in America.

In May 1, President Donald Trump asked Congress for $4.5 billion in emergency border security funds – including $3.3 billion in humanitarian assistance, $1.1 billion for border operations and $1.78 billion for “mission support.”

That request was over and above the $8.6 billion that Trump had already sought from Congress to build his proposed Southern border wall in the federal Fiscal Year 2020 budget.

Yet it would be almost two months before Congress – with the Democrat-controlled House and the GOP-run Senate – could agree on a $4.6 billion package of emergency funding – on June 27. What should not be lost in the national immigration debate is the fact that while the gut-wrenching story of the Ramirez family should be a source of deep soul-searching for all Americans, it’s not the whole story.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security budgets reflect that since its creation in 2003, more than $324 billion has been spent on immigration enforcement and border security. That total includes staff for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that total 84,000.

What’s the trajectory of growth in border security and enforcement spending? In 1990, the U.S. spent $263 million annually for these functions. By 2003, that annual figure rose to $1.515 billion. In 2019, the annual figure rose to $4.7 billion – not including the $4.6 billion in emergency funds passed this week.

The post-9/11 immigration fears that gripped the country certainly contributed to the rapid rise in border security and immigration enforcement spending, but the current crisis along the Southern border has precious little to do with counter-terrorism efforts. Nor does any real basis in fact exist for the popular myth that U.S. Southern border troubles are caused by “Mexicans coming to steal our jobs.”

Central America’s “Northern Triangle” (El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala) is dominated by lawlessness and gang violence that has made the region unstable and forced as many as 3.4 million residents with families and children to flee and brave the treacherous trek north to the U.S. seeking a better, safer life away from the extortions of gangs and organized crime in their home countries.

Those caravans of Northern Triangle refugees have continued despite the efforts of Mexico and the U.S. to discourage them from making the trip. Understanding the motivations of the migrants are key to understanding why the border problem is so dire. It was those motivations that led Oscar and Valeria Ramirez to risk and unfortunately encounter death in the muddy Rio Grande while seeking the supposed safety and sanctuary of new lives in America.

Even with the best of intentions, how many millions of Northern Triangle refugees can our nation – struggling with yet unsolved and unfunded U.S. problems of public health care, crumbling infrastructure and evolving national security issues – save, support and absorb as new American citizens?


Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at sidsalter@sidsalter.com.


35 comments:

Anonymous said...

I find insulting that American actually call these people immigrants... These people aren't immigrants but rather illegal border crossing trouble makers. I came here in 1991 from Scotland and I refuse to be associated with these people that flood the courts making the levels wait longer as well as more expensive. If this country is so bad then why aren't people leaving it rather than flood g into it. Americans in general have little concept of the remainder of the world.

Anonymous said...

The folks who claim they want to help illegals are making this so bad. Instead of correcting our laws to eliminate loopholes that allow them to stay here, they do nothing about the loop holes and vote to give them more government handouts. We Americans through our elected representatives dangle these big fat pork chops in front of them and say, don't come illegally. We can't adopt the whole world. It's imperative that we close these loop holes and end these handouts so that when caught they will be immediately returned or sent elsewhere to a place of our choosing. The way to end this is to end the rewards for coming here illegally. At the same time we continue to allow more legal immigrants than any other nation. Our sympathies must be with those who respect us and follow our laws, not with the lawbreakers.

Anonymous said...

I am asking for help in understanding this issue.

As a US citizen, there are a lot of laws I must abide by. In order to have a civil society, I expect that to be the case. I can't refuse to file a tax return without consequences. I can't drive 100 mph when I feel like it. My point is that I have to follow the law.

Our country has very specific immigration laws, procedures, agencies and systems. If you do not "play by the rules", there should be severe consequences.

It's really that simple. Illegal immigration, ie, running across the border at night is illegal and all of the other aspects that it involves.

Please help me understand why our laws are not being followed by immigrants and enforced by our government?

Anonymous said...

They are not immigrants. They are invaders.

Anonymous said...

I am sure the ones that want to come here legally, probably cannot afford the $3k-4k price tag it takes for the legal process. So they try and enter by any means necessary. It does not make it right, but when you know there is a place to make a better life for your family than where you currently reside, sometimes drastic measures are taken.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please explain why these "migrants seeking asylum" from the horrible conditions in their own countries cross the border of a country that speaks their language, and is not ruled by their "corrupt" government, and travel(supposedly without help) two thousand miles to enter another country that does not speak their language. If all they want is freedom from their own bad country why don't they simply cross the Mexican border and cast their lot in Mexico? The bullshit media in this country have allowed the loonie left to shift this illegal invasion into a "migrant" movement for "Asylum". These people are looking for jobs, free medical care, free housing, free education, and all the other promises made to them by American promoters. Mexico does not have a political faction making such overtures to these people. We do.
This bullshit will backfire on the left and the idiot Trump will get four more years.

Anonymous said...

So you people are fine with two human beings died while trying desperately to find a better life?

Erase the Chalkies said...

@10:49
Sit back and watch white supremacy manifest in the comments. The hypocrisy is undeniable.

These bigots wouldn't have any problem with millions of starving and illiterate white Europeans or Slavs, or even pale Asians flooding, but they cant stand the thought of being outnumbered by people of color.

Anonymous said...

If you are all planning to wait on the government to do something about it then you are going to be too late. You need to make it inhospitable to these invaders by any means necessary. Otherwise we are going to lose our country. Remember that illegals are scared of the police and very reluctant to rely on law enforcement.

Anonymous said...

We need to change the laws so that illegal means illegal. That is, you can’t legal work here, no drivers liscense, kids can’t enroll in school, can’t own an automobile or real estate, can’t open a bank account or buy insurance. If you are caught here illegally you can never apply for citizenship. To the guy who thinks we don’t care about those who die or are injured trying to break into the country- yeah we do. That’s what we want them to know for certain- don’t try. It’s not worth it. We promise.

Anonymous said...

The reason for this border crisis is simple-DACA and amnesty. Ever since Obama enacted this policy, there has been a rush to the border from Latin America to get in before the border is actually under control. It’s amazing to me how leftists paint Trump and all conservatives as heartless racists even though Democratic policy is really the root cause of all this.

Anonymous said...

I do not care whose policy is in place, if you have a chance at a better life than living in a complete hell-hole of a country, people are going to try and cross the border. You may possibly keep more of them out once the wall is completed, but they are still going to take their chances. It is happening all over western Europe, and it is going to keep happening here.

Anonymous said...

As a Catholic Christian why do we not take care of our brothers and sisters. Do you really think when Jesus returns he will care about boarders. He will ask did you care for my brothers, treat them with compassion and treat them as you would me. If you call yourself a Christian please read what the Bible says not what Trump and the federal government say. Heaven is for eternity where life on earth is fleeting!

Anonymous said...

12:58

You kinda had me going for a second there pal. Then you mentioned Trump and showed your hole card. You're just another two bit "never Trumpster" masquerading as a Christian. Trump is doing EXACTLY what our constitution calls for him to do and we elected him to do. If you're so damn compassionate...move to Mexico and help these people on their turf. Hmmmm I didn't think so.

Sid said...

"Nor does any real basis in fact exist for the popular myth that U.S. Southern border troubles are caused by “Mexicans coming to steal our jobs.”"

Hey Sid, why don't you take a field trip to Lot 41 of Happy Acres Part 8, Everywhere America, where they are building a new home. Count how many "African Americans" and "European Americans" are actually employed on site using their skilled trades in order to feed their families. From frame carpenters to brick layers to drywall contractors. Count them. Then get back with us.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:55
Your not well versed in history are you. Every group regardless of there heritage or skin color was opposed... the Irish polish Italians jews... ever hear of NINA... the KKK also opposed these groups mainly due to there religion as they were Catholics. If your going to make such claims at least know your history you moron. Many polish families have changed there last name to get work. In Chicago the black housecleaners are pissed off at the polish women cleaning houses illegally as are the Hispanics cleaning houses illegally. So plenty of white illegals in chi town.

Unknown said...

I live in the Delta, and there are immigrants from Asia coming here, starting businesses, and succeeding. How are they able to succeed when people already living here can’t?

Anonymous said...

The average pay per day in Mexico is less than $6.00 per day. As you go farther South it's even less. Who wonders why they risk it.The key to stopping illegal immigration is raising their standard of living. Tariffs don't help.

Anonymous said...

See you in chruch Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comments, is this what Oliver North's intervention into central American politics bring us ?? Iran-Contra ring a a bell. then we have the misconceptions of pay in Mexico, here is a good article about pay in Mexico.


https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2018/05/11/nafta-talks-focus-on-low-wages-for-mexican-autoworkers.html

Anonymous said...

None of these people are illegal. They have the same right to be here as Melania, her child, and her entire family she brought here.

Anonymous said...

10:49 A picture of a man and a child drowned in a river has given fuel to those who would claim this country is inhumane for having an immigration policy rather than no real border at all. I haven't heard one of these bozos noting that this man must have been the worst kind of low life to endanger the life of an infant child to make use of the latest migrant strategy: Bring a child and you're home free. I also have not heard any of these knotheads saying we ought to do everything possible to tell these irresponsible people to stop sending babies into this quagmire if you give a damn about them. But that would not be very strategic, would it?

Anonymous said...

Yall love to quote the Bible about obscure gay references, but there's ten times as many instructions in the Bible that require fair treatment to immigrants.

Anonymous said...

If we can just get these migrants into the country, especially children, we could soon change the demographics of this country once and for all, and the entire power structure could change and this country could be more like Jackson. And it could be all Democrat control. Wouldn't that be great.? Great.

Anonymous said...

@3:53
I agree with you 100% and were talking about refugee and border crossers rather than immigrants. Big difference. Also as for the deaths the country of el Salvador has taken responsibility for the death. Also the deal will be good for Mexico that requires $16 per hour avg wage per worker on vehicles to avoid tariffs. I lived in China for 6 years and all American products have massive tariff and bucks are very sought after there.

Anonymous said...

Guys the demographics have already changed.Why do you think people are trying to suppress the vote, putting citizenship questions on the census and such.

Anonymous said...

Can you believe they are allowing the Draft Dodger with an immigrant wife to hijack the fourth?

Anonymous said...

In the past several months they have gone from being illegal immigrants, to undocumented immigrants, to migrants, to migrants seeking asylum. Next they'll probably become non-resident citizens. Depends on what the lawyers think will confuse and delay the legal immigration process. The media just eats it up and plays along. They love the sympathy angle. Whatever they do they have found that children, the younger the better, are the key to breaking the system. It's all about breaking the system. Overwhelm it and finally break it. Flood the country with a new dependent underclass. What the hell.

Anonymous said...

Young American males or females won’t work real jobs anymore. They want convenience and labor does not fall under that umbrella.

You can’t get a white or black guy to pass a drug test for manual labor. HAVE TO DEPEND ON VISAS AND IMMIGRANTS TO MAKE THIS COUNTRY FUNCTION.

FACTS.

Anonymous said...

11:19 If this is true, THE END IS NEAR...very near. No country can long function with that kind of dependence.

Anonymous said...

None of these 'world travelers' meets the definition of either immigrant nor migrant.

Anonymous said...

At 9:00
Suppress the vote? Are you mentally ill or just some redneck that is uninformed of the rest of the world? Mexico doesn't allow anyone to own property or vote even if they're married to a Mexican citizen more than that Nigeria and carribean countries have voter ID cards with photo as does Brasil and most central and South American countries. Where I was born in Panama also has strict voter ID.. I've been here 27 years and I have never understood what's racist about doing what a majority of contries currently are doing. Trump had a lot of Hispanic voters remember Google drove them to the poll and turns out they voted Trump in massive numbers. This Panamanian born voter also voted Trump.

Rod Knox said...

Some Democrats feel that the 16 to 40 year old males rushing from central American oppression should see that their families were in a safe place and then go to the streets and clean up their home lands. I would find it much easier to give financial aid to those fighting to clean up their own country and to support the widows and orphans that would result from the uprising.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the native Americans made these same comments about us when we made the massive influx into their country, killed the majority of them, and then just took their land.

Anonymous said...

If you want to understand why refugees and immigrants are bypassing Mexico, you have only to look at which country is providing jobs.
Here in Mississippi, one has only to stand at the entrances to wealthy neighborhoods and homes to see who is hiring. Watch at the doors of larger businesses early in the mornings.
It's cheap labor and there is the protection of the political influence of those who are hiring the cheap labor.
And, do remember the blanket amnesties were not during " liberal" administrations.
Do remember that "conservatives" have controlled both the House and Senate and could well have reformed immigration laws and created a clean up of how one seeks citizenship.
DACA kids were already here the GOP could have amended that policy so that DACA kids who have good incomes and paying taxes or who have the grades and ambition to contribute can stay and those who have failed to achieve are ineligible.
The chutzpah and hypocrisy is glaring! Or else you are dupes.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


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There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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