Thursday, June 20, 2019

Refugees / Migrants / Immigration and the US Problem

So, there is a lot of horse-shit being spouted by both Republicans and Democrats over migrants and refugees.  Let's talk about it and dismiss the stupidest arguements, because there are some real issues here we all have to deal with.

  1. America is facing an invasion of migrants. (source, Trump / Fox News)
    1. That is super inflammatory AND incorrect. We are facing highly elevated levels of asylum seeking refugees and it will only get worse. But it is not an invasion and we cannot view it as such. Why? Because the laws are very different between refugees and migrants - as are the underlying reasons for fleeing and therefore our ability to mitigate the influx.
    2. Why is being said? Well, the truth is complicated.
  2. A Wall will reduce this immigration. (source, Trump / Fox News)
    1. No. A "wall" (i.e. physical barrier) has helped and will help with illegal migration. This is why so much of a wall is built already. But the refugees are not sneaking in at all. IN FACT, they are going to legal ports of entry and requesting asylum. This is what legal refugees do to gain admittance.
    2. Why is this being said? It fires up Trump's base.
  3. Democrats / Congress could fix this in a minute (source, Trump)
    1. Absolutely not. If "Democrats (i.e. Congress) could fix this,  then the Republicans could have fixed this when they held the legislative / executive branches between 2016 - 2018. 
    2. This is not US legislative problem. We abide by (and in most cases - developed) rules for refugees after WWII, with our international partners. These are governed by Treaties not US law. But we didn't not expect climate change / abdication of political power in other countries / permanent war to create so many refugees near our borders.
    3. Why is this being said? Political gain only, so it is almost impossible to counter.
  4. A Wall is Barbaric (source, Nancy Pelosi)
    1. No. Democratic and Republican administrations have developed barriers. It is not barbaric, we cannot afford a wide open border.
    2. Why is this being said? Political gain only, so it is almost impossible to counter.
  5. There is an easy fix (source, Trump -Republicans and Democrats)
    1. No. There is no easy fix because this migration problem isn't the same as it has been historically. Mexican economic migrants are, for the first time EVER, not the main source of refugees / migrants.

So, what is going on - outside of political theater?

Well we have some real problems with only SOME solutions, and some real problems we are fucked with. Let's look at them.

  1. Massive waits for court dates - Fixable
    1. Our immigration and refugee courts are massively backed up. This is why detainment centers are so crowded. And because the trial process takes so long, we release non-minors to society where they blend in and often don't show up for court dates. We can fix the wait time (and losing people into the system) with a pretty big increase in immigration courts (which also handle refugees), more public support for representation on both sides (the equivalent of Prosecutors and Public Defenders). You could easily staff both sides with paralegal people without full law degrees and still have an effective and fair system.
  2. Push Conditions in Central America - Possible to mitigate - Impossible to solve
    1. The US stupidly (IMHO) cut off aid to Central American countries to staunch the flow of refugees. That is counter-productive. It makes Trump feel better, but worse conditions in Central America increases migration AND INCREASES the likelihood that they will ultimately be granted refugee status.
    2. Increased safety and wealth keeps more refugees AND economic migrants at home. Where we can influence this we should.
    3. Climate change is screwing with Central American conditions and we can't fix that. In fact, this will only get worse around the world. International rules don't even think about climate refugees and this will soon skyrocket. We already see massive increases from Central America, this is chickenshit when compared to upcoming refugees from Africa, SouthEast Asia and Latin America when climate change kicks up an other notch.
  3. Unaccompanied Minor Refugees. - Impossible to fix - possible to mitigate?
    1. What do you do with unaccompanied minors? I don't know. 
      1. If you integrate them into the country, it encourages more migration. 
      2. Now, on the one hand we need more workers and Americans aren't having kids. For a purely "Real Politik" sense, we could integrate migrate minors into society. But, in reality, once they are citizens, they would want to have their parents immigrate, and we have a problem. 
      3. On the other hand, do you want to be the country that takes children only and then only if we get to raise them as Americans?
The world is getting more fucked up AND crowded. Crowded because generations before us has helped to solve illness and early death.  Yay! More fucked up because progress has changed our climate and those changes now reduce were people can adequately live. Boo!

1. Increase funding for refugee and migrant legal challenges. Fix it.
2. End "Chain Migration" (1) so that we can make intelligent decisions on migration. Who gets in and how many.
3. Decide how many migrants / refugees we want to allow in every year. We need them in agriculture and right now they form the basis of population growth (and that is what is funding Medicare / Social Security / etc.)
4. Decide, world wide, what the hell we are going to do about Climate Migrants. A global solution is the only one that works, since Europe, Australia, Canada and the US are all experiencing increased migration and need a coordinated response.

(1) Oddly "chain migration" was originally created after WWII to support bringing in more white people - ironic, no?

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