“Floaters — How The World’s Richest Country Responds To Asylum Seekers”
EDS NOTE: GRAPHIC CONTENT – The bodies of Salvadoran migrant Oscar Alberto Mart??nez Ram??rez and his nearly 2-year-old daughter Valeria lie on the bank of the Rio Grande in Matamoros, Mexico, Monday, June 24, 2019, after they drowned trying to cross the river to Brownsville, Texas. Martinez’ wife, Tania told Mexican authorities she watched her husband and child disappear in the strong current. (AP Photo/Julia Le Duc)
Gabe Gutierrez
Gabe Gutierrez
NBC News Correspondent
Atlanta, GA

Gabe Gutierrez reports for NBC Nightly News:


Reminds me of the essay I recently posted from my friend, Don Kerwin at CMS:

The number of unaccompanied children and asylum-seekers crossing the US-Mexico border in search of protection has increased in recent weeks. The former president, his acolytes, and both extremist and mainstream media have characterized this situation as a “border crisis,” a self-inflicted wound by the Biden administration, and even a failure of US asylum policy. It is none of these things. Rather, it is a response to compounding pressures, most prominently the previous administration’s evisceration of US asylum and anti-trafficking policies and procedures, and the failure to address the conditions that are displacing residents of the Northern Triangle states of Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras), as well as Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti, and other countries…

The real immigration crisis is not at the border, but in the failure to respond effectively to the conditions driving forced migration, to establish orderly and viable legal immigration policies, to legalize the increasingly long-tenured undocumented population, and to reform and invest sufficiently in the US asylum and immigration court systems.

Donald M. Kerwin
Donald M. Kerwin
Executive Director
Center for Migration Studies

It also echoes the words of veteran journalist Marc Cooper, posted by my friend Dan Kowalski over on LexisNexis Immigration Community:

When I was in Mexico reporting on the exodus, I would talk with dozens of migrants who were just a an hour or two away from starting their trek and, to a person, not one of them said they paid any attention to new US laws and regs as they were determined to cross no matter what. And no matter the sacrifices.

Dan Kowalski
Dan Kowalski
Online Editor of the LexisNexis Immigration Law Community (ILC)

Even the WashPost editorial page writers “get” the reality of human migration in a way the nativist fear-mongers never will:

Yet despite fearmongering by Republicans, the current influx is neither a public health emergency nor a national security threat. The vast majority of those allowed to enter the country will join relatives here while their asylum claims plod along. That wait is too long — it can stretch to three years or more — and the administration insists it will shrink the backlog. It has also earmarked $4 billion in aid from the pandemic relief bill for Central America — with strings attached to prevent its misuse — to attack the conditions that make life miserable there and drive migrants to seek refuge in this country.

Trump Dumping Asylum Seekers in Hondiras
Dumping Asylum Seekers in Honduras
Artist: Monte Wolverton
Reproduced under license

Still, sadly, facts and reality seem largely irrelevant here. 

Despite denials from Secretary Mayorkas, the Biden Administration appears to be believing Kevin McCarthy’s BS on some level. 

Thursday, the Administration basically negotiated a “lite version” of Trump’s “Let ‘Em Die in Mexico” — essentially trading AstroZenica vaccine (which wasn’t approved for use in the U.S. anyway) for Mexico’s agreement to step up harsh enforcement measures against migrants crossing their Southern Border and to warehouse families arbitrarily rejected without due process by the U.S. under our bogus CDC directive. We already have seen how well that works out!

Remain in Mexico
A girl peers out from an encampment at the U.S.-Mexico border where she and several hundred people waited to present themselves to U.S. immigration to seek asylum. / Photo by David Maung

Any way you cut it, the realities of human migration, the lives of the desperate individuals involved, the views of human rights experts and advocates, and our supposed commitment to international conventions, the rule of law, and Constitutional Due Process take a back seat when the “bogus border debate” shifts into high gear.  

There is actually a very simple truth here: “Forced migration” is not “optional!” In fact, a number of forced migrants prefer “death in the attempt” to “death in place.” 

Therefore, all the “deterrents,” “border militarization,” “Baby Jails,” and “stay home statements” won’t ultimately stop the inexorable flow (although they might temporarily divert, modulate, or vary it  — usually just enough for the “powers that be” to declare “victory at sea” as a result of their failed policies while ignoring the human carnage and lost opportunities they leave behind).

Professor Philip G. Schrag
Professor Philip G. Schrag
Georgetown Law
Co-Director, CALS Asylum Clinic, Author of “Baby Jails”

Sure, there is a timing factor. Weather, the “business plans” and propaganda of smugglers (Trump’s “enforcement only” policies have been a boon for them in more ways than one, not only boosting their fees, but diverting enforcement resources away from the “real” law enforcement problems at the border involving drugs and human exploitation), and Biden’s pledge to restore humanity and the rule of law to America all factor into the equation in some way. 

But, they are not the the primary causes of forced migration, except to the extent that climate change (ignored and worsened by Trump and the GOP) has aggravated the poverty and economic disorder in the Northern Triangle by destroying the livelihoods of many farmers and making their land essentially worthless.

Tone-deaf GOP politicos like McCarthy and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) apparently think the solution is to continue to mock the rule of law, violate the Constitution, and simply declare the Southern Border closed forever, al a Stephen Miller. Let families and children “die in place” in their home countries, die on the journey at the hands of other governments, or rot forever in Mexico — “Out of sight, out of mind.” As long as it isn’t happening in our country and being covered by our news outlets, who cares about human lives? That was certainly the Trump approach!

That’s hardly a “solution,” except in neo-Nazi or Soviet-era terms. The harshest and most inhuman approaches will, as they have in the past and continue to do, fail to stop desperate humans who want to survive from doing what’s necessary to save their lives and preserve their families’ futures, even when that interferes with the GOP’s “whitewashed” version of “American greatness.”

The solution involves following Constitutional due process, re-establishing the rule of law (including a radical “reform and replace” of our dysfunctional Immigration Courts), and adhering to our international obligations, both in letter and spirit. It also requires an expanded, much more robust, legal immigration system that reflects the demands of our economy, the needs of migrants, and the realities of human migration, particularly from Latin America. Like it or not, there will be more immigration. 

As I have said before: “There are many ways in which we can diminish our own humanity, but none of them will stop human migration.”

Grim Reaper
Will G. Reaper Become The Lasting Image of America’s 21st Century Human Rights & Racial Justice Failures  In The Eyes Of The Rest Of Humanity & Future Generations?
Image: Hernan Fednan, Creative Commons License

Contrary to the GOP blather, immigration, voluntary, forced, coerced, legal, extra-legal, white, non-white, Christian, non-Christian, is what the real America is all about, for better or worse. Overall, immigration is a positive force for America.  

Here’s a great essay on the positive nature of immigration by Pedro Gerson on Slate. Pedro is the director of the Immigration Law Clinic at the Louisiana State University Law Center, and a former immigration staff attorney at the Bronx Defenders. The latter organization has been home to a number of notable members of the NDPA.

Pedro Gerson
Pedro Gerson
Director, Immigration Law Clinic
LSU Law Center
SOURCE: Twitter

As Pedro says, human migration to America will continue notwithstanding GOP xenophobes. The only question is whether we will have the wisdom and courage to work with and take advantage of its power in constructive, creative, forward looking ways, rather than trying to “recreate Jim Crow!” 

Or, will we continue, as GOP restrictionists urge, to squander resources, goodwill, and human potential on futile efforts to eradicate what is perhaps the oldest and most fundamental phenomenon of human existence?

🇺🇸🗽⚖Due Process Forever! Restore the rule of law! Fix The Disgraceful, Dysfunctional Immigration Courts, Judge Garland! End White Nationalist racism!