A boat enroute to Miami from Haiti capsized off the Bahamas on Sunday and 17 people died, including 15 women and a little girl. An additional 8-15 could be missing, according to news reports. This is the latest – but by no means the only – tragedy facing migrants seeking safety in the United States. Whether it is at sea or on the arduous journey across land to the U.S. border from South or Central America and beyond, migrants continue to come and die in the attempt. Last month, 53 migrants, mostly from Central America, were found dead in an unventilated truck in San Antonio. These tragedies are emblematic of the larger reality of forced migration in the western hemisphere and the United States’ unwillingness to create accessible, orderly, and safe legal pathways for migration and asylum seekers. It’s got to stop.
Reuters reports that, according to the U.N., “Last year was the deadliest for migrants crossing the border, with 728 fatalities recorded by the United Nations, which started counting in 2014. The U.N. has counted 340 more this year, apace with 2021’s grim record.”
These human tragedies are avoidable; a fact that indicts our array of cruel and failed deterrence-only policies – from the border wall to Title 42 to ‘Remain in Mexico’ – and others based on the wrongheaded notion that if we are cruel enough, we can keep people from migrating in the first place. Instead, our current broken system empowers reckless human smugglers and traffickers and incentivizes dangerous treks to our southern border and on makeshift ocean vessels.
We have long needed a new approach: to put smugglers and traffickers out of business, to expand legal channels for safe and orderly migration, to address and alleviate the root causes of forced migration, and to approach this through cooperation on a hemispheric basis rather than pretending these issues are mostly about our southern border. Where Trump cut investments in Latin America and the Caribbean, we need to increase investments that give people a reasonable chance of surviving in their home countries
Unfortunately, Republicans’ politicization, obstruction, and legal challenges combine to block needed legislative solutions and undermine efforts to get Democrats and the Biden administration to stand strong and forge progress.
We must do better. End Title 42. Find a better way. Stop using policies that intentionally kill people who are just trying to survive. We must be better than this. Thanks.
▶ First sent on July 29, 2022 by Jess Craven