Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Completely Broken Immigration System

I watched WOLA's webinar on immigration: "Stranded Between Borders: Draconian Responses to a Regional Migration Crisis." Adam Isacson moderated, with the following guests:

Gretchen Kuhner, Institution for Women in Migration (Mexico),

Marco Romero, CODHES and Professor at the National University of Colombia

Ursula Roldán, Institute for Research and Projection on Global and Territorial Dynamics of the Rafael Landívar University (Guatemala)

It was particularly worthwhile because it didn't in fact focus on Trump per se, but rather the responses and realities in the Latin American countries.

The overall message is that the immigration system is utterly, terribly, broken. The Trump administration is not only anti-immigrant, but it reneges on agreements. AMLO bows down to Trump just to avoid being attacked, and his own anti-immigrant policies are fine with his base in Mexico. Colombia has nothing but short-term, emergency responses when it needs much more. Immigrants live precariously at borders with no solution in sigtht. Covid-19 hovers over all of this, because vulnerable migrants find themselves infected and bureaucracies have ground to a halt.

Tied to that, there is so little hope for meaningful change. No current president is willing to build a long-term humane system, and is generally doing the opposite. Even if Joe Biden wins the presidency, it will take a long time to undo the damage that the Trump administration inflicted on immigration policy and immigrants.

The only positive note was that remittances to Guatemala were up in July. I can't even imagine how that is possible, but it is.


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