This post is my answer to a question about foreign policy controversies for my American history class. I think the information is fascinating, so I want to share it with my readers.
I was fascinated by the December 10, 2018, headline from the Washington Examiner “158 million migrants want to move to the US, world’s top pick.” So I went to Gallup Poll and found an article with this title “More Than 750 Million Worldwide Would Migrate If They Could.” This figure is for the people who would like to migrate and not necessarily for those who actually would migrate. The article includes the statement, “Gallup’s surveys throughout this period found 15% of the world’s adults – or more than 750 million people – saying they would like to move to another country if they had the opportunity.” It also states, “The one in six Americans (16%) in 2017 who said they would like to move to another country is the highest measure to date.” It would be interesting to know the reason why so many Americans want to move out of the United States since the U.S. is the number one destination for the people polled.
The poll says that 27% of adults in Latin America and the Caribbean wish to migrate. I saw an estimate saying that there would be 625,000,000 people living in Latin America by 2016. I would think that approximately half of them would be adults. So 27% of 300,000,000 figures out to be 81,000,000 adults who would migrate if given the opportunity. That is a lot of people for the United States to allow into the country!
Since I am quite interested in the thousands of people massing on the southern U.S. border – some of which are crossing illegally, I wanted to know the U.S. foreign policy regarding Central American countries. I found an article by The Heritage Foundation in 2005 saying that there needed to be a foreign policy component to the immigration plan, but I did not find an actual policy.
I found a more current article dated November 6, 2018, which was specifically about the migrant caravan. The article basically says that violence in their home countries is not the only reason why the people are migrating. Latin America has been in the worst drought in decades since 2014 in the “dry corridor” that stretches from southern Mexico to Panama. Some estimates say that the farmers in that area of Central America “have lost as much as 70 to 80 percent of their harvest of staple crops, primarily corn and beans.” UN officials say that “more than 2 million people are at risk of going hungry [and] El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are the most severely affected.”
Another article said that the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs held a second conference on October 12, 2018. Attendees included Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, two people from the government of Mexico, the presidents of Honduras and Guatemala, and the vice president of El Salvador -- as well as “representatives from the private sector, international organizations, and partner countries.”
The article said that the U.S. “reaffirmed its commitment to promoting a safer and more prosperous Central America,” that the U.S. has a Strategy for Central America, and that the U.S. committed about $2.6 billion in foreign aid to Central America for Fiscal Years 2015 to 2018. The Northern Triangle governments agreed to projects that would improve prosperity and security in their countries. Participants at the conference committed to work together on “security, governance, and economic challenges in the region.” The U.S. “underscored the need to make quantifiable progress in these areas to address illegal immigration flows and to implement public messaging campaigns to dissuade illegal immigration.” The rest of the article described the “notable achievement” since the first such conference in June 2017.
It seems that the first caravan left Honduras on the same day that the above referenced conference was held in Miami, Florida. (I wonder if that fact is a coincidence or planned.) It also appears that the governments from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, and the United States are trying to work together to solve the problems in Central America that are causing people to migrate.
I saw on the list of achievements and future plans a lot of actions and goals to help fight crime, provide jobs, increase security, etc. in the three nations. However, I did not see anything that would help the farmers with the drought. I know of only one way to end droughts, and that is to petition God to send rain. So my solution would be to call for a region-wide day to fast and pray for God to send rain. I know that the idea is politically incorrect, but I also know that it works. I saw in my reading that it is mostly people living in rural areas who want to migrate, so the farmers may not migrate if the drought ended and they could grow crops again. Meanwhile, Trump’s threat to cut foreign aid to the three countries may not be such a good idea, but it might be wise to send corn and beans!
The issue I see in this area is a sense of mission and a sincere desire to help the countries to become secure and prosperous, while at the same time stopping the flow of migrants into the United States. There may be some interventionism because the U.S. is meeting with the leaders of the countries involved.