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Monday, 7 March 2016

The American version of the European migrant crisis

Most Europeans are not aware that a similar migrant crisis has been happening in the Americas for several years. There is a wave of unaccompanied migrant children heading from Central America towards the USA. Their statistics may be far less impressive in volume but its impact is more than compensated in human drama.

My graph is based on the 2010-2016 data of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. ForeCast 2016 represents my extrapolation.

The increase in border apprehensions of minors (0-17 years) is staggering. Obviously, the ones that were not caught by U.S. border patrol are not included in these statistics.

The 2015 decrease may relate to a joint "deportation" of minors by USA and Mexico.

The Obama administration says the wave of migration has been triggered by people smugglers who spread rumours that children were being given legal permits to stay in the US. These children cannot be legally deported without first going through the courts because of 2008 (i.e., George W Bush) legislation designed to prevent child-trafficking. (Guardian 2014)

But perversely, the phenomenon has also been fed by tighter border controls: unable to return home to visit children they left behind, Central Americans already living illegally in the US pay smugglers around $5,000 to bring their sons and daughters across the frontier. (Guardian 2014)

The relationship between illegal workers in the USA and these migrant children should not be underestimated. Guardian 2014: "But the president’s immigration battle has two fronts: the growing humanitarian crisis at the US-Mexico border, where more than 57,000 Central American children have arrived unaccompanied, and mounting pressure for reform from the more than 11 million undocumented people who live, work and raise families in the United States".
Other EU-US similarities are: (1) the need for cheap labour (eg, Germany), and (2) the political deadlock regarding solutions for these illegal migrants. Main EU-US differences are: (1) no debate on religion as Central America is also largely Christian, and (2) flexibility and performance of US economy (both up and down).

The above is probably the reason why EU and USA do not interfere in each other's humanitarian crisis. Each harsh word would immediately backfire. There is hardly any attention for this US drama in European media coverage. I can only suspect that the U.S. volume is considered insignificant. However, I doubt that Europeans could even bear this (mid) American children's drama.

Mary J. Blige - No More Drama (2001) - artist, lyrics, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


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