Monday, February 06, 2017

Argentina and Immigration

In my classes students often ask why Latin American countries seem unable to unite more. So we spend time talking about nationalism, racism, cultural differences, etc. This story in the New York Times about how Argentine President Mauricio Macri issued a restrictive immigration decree (here is the long-winded text) is a good illustration. Macri's government argues that this is about crime and in practice is focusing on Bolivians, Peruvians, and Paraguayans.

In general, it appears that Bolivians are to Macri what Mexicans are to Donald Trump. The different-looking scapegoat "other" (complete with calls for a wall!). And of course it seems no coincidence that this comes just after Trump issued his own Executive Order. Like the US-Mexico border, the Argentina-Bolivia border has been a magnet for smuggling and organized crime. As a result, Bolivian migrants are easy targets, just as Mexicans are in the United States.


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