Joe Guzzardi: Kamala Harris resurrects a failed plan to throw money at migration | Opinions
Vice President Kamala Harrisno doubt growing infuriated by the criticism she has received for neglecting her duties on the southern border, has called Wall Street CEOs to help him solve his immigration problems.
In early January, Harris announced more than $1.2 billion in new funding to address, as she so often calls it, the “root causes” of migration to the United States. The concept is to foster more economic opportunities in the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador in order to deter illegal immigration.
Harris made the announcement during a roundtable with CEOs. Offering a preview of his announcement to reporters, a senior White House official hailed “his leadership, his vision.”
A fuller analysis of the pledged funding is that it represents a major commitment by big business, but no money has yet been invested, no jobs have been created, and no one even knows if the grant – in assuming it ever takes off — will have the promised effect of deterring illegal immigration.
A look back at history suggests that Harris’ plan of throwing money at the problem is doomed to fail, and colossally so.
Not so long ago, in 2015 to be exact, and in exactly the same circumstances of border-breaking which included a large number of unaccompanied minors, of President Barack Obama administration proposed a huge investment in the countries of the Northern Triangle.
Then-Vice President Joe Biden wrote a Editorial from the New York Times titled “A Plan for Central America” which envisioned “systematic change” that would stabilize neighborhoods to reduce crime, encourage investment, and create more effective tax collections among local governments.
Biden promised that financial support from the Obama administration would end “rampant violence and poverty.”
The initiative promised to reduce “the illicit flow of drugs, people, weapons and money”, a vow that has been all but broken from the moment the ink dried on the pact.
In 2010, the Central America program was separated from the Mérida Initiative and repackaged as CURRY. From 2008 to 2013, the Mérida Initiative and CARI received over $2 billion and $574 million in federal funding, respectively.
But CARI has done nothing to stem the violence or reduce the influx of migrants into the United States. If anything, the opposite happened.
In Guatemala and Honduras, homicide rates have risen steadily US funding for militarization via CARI began to circulate. Honduras sent the largest number of children across the US border, followed by Guatemala.
In 2012, two full years after CARI began, 7,172 homicides have been recorded in Honduras, marking the most violent year in the country’s recent history. Murders in Honduras have since declined, but are still unacceptably high at 3,496 in 2020.
Over the years, the United States has poured billions of dollars into the Northern Triangle countries with little return for the money invested. Thousands of poetic words have been spoken and written like those of Biden and Harris about the United States’ commitment to helping the nations of the Northern Triangle help themselves.
But Harris, the self-styled Border Czar knows, as well as anyone, that with the borders wide open and inviting, no amount of money or posturing, flowery editorials or canned speeches written for the public relations will stop traffickers from bringing drugs and people north. .
Sex trafficking for profit is big business, but prosecutions for these crimes are rare. Through its willful negligence, the Biden-Harris administration is encouraging trafficking despite its tragic and avoidable cost in American lives.
In early January, the White House had given no indication that it would stop the huge influx – a record of more than 1.7 million in 2021 – of mostly poor, unskilled and undereducated migrants.
Few criticize migrants for wanting to improve their lives. But the unasked and therefore unanswered question is what will happen to education, health care, housing and the myriad of social challenges if, as seems likely, these waves of migrants continue to to arrive.
The last Census Bureau data indicates that the United States has 37 million people whom it classifies as living in poverty and millions of Americans who are unemployed or underemployed. Struggling Americans are nowhere on the Biden administration’s radar.
— Joe Guzzardi is an analyst and researcher at Progressives for Immigration Reform who now lives in Pittsburgh. He can be reached at [email protected]or follow him on Twitter: @joeguzzardi19. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.