LatinaLista — Before President Obama left on vacation, he reassured Latino leaders that he had not given up on getting the DREAM Act passed or tackling immigration reform. Yet, some members of his own party are parroting GOP rhetoric in saying that until the border is secure there can be no address of either issue.
The thinking among these politicians, who live over 1,700 miles away from the US-Mexico border (that’s from Juarez to DC), is that it will take more border enforcement to eradicate illegal entries from Mexico.
Unfortunately, it seems these politicians have been so focused on listening to the nativists and racists among us, who know too well that no border of a free country ever reaches one hundred percent security, that they are missing the shift currently happening with Mexican immigrants and which will make the argument of a secure border a moot point in negotiating immigration reform or DREAM Act.
Over the last few months, there have been more asylum seekers from Mexico trying to escape the violence of the drug cartels. The number is steadily increasing that now even immigration restrictionist organizations in the United States are taking notice that asylum seekers pose a bigger threat to their narrow vision of the country than anyone trying to scale a wall in the dark.
It used to be Mexican journalists were the ones asking for U.S. asylum. After all, Mexico is ranked fourth by the Committee to Protect Journalists as one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist. Honduras is third.
But because the cartel violence has become so rampant and indiscriminate and people from college students and housewives to activists and professionals are being gunned down, no one feels safe. They don’t have confidence in their government to protect them and so it’s no surprise that they look towards the one country nearby that hasn’t succumbed to rampant corruption or cartel takeovers.
The latest people to flee Mexico asking for asylum is the family of Marisela Escobedo.
Chihuahua state police escorted relatives of Marisela Escobedo, 52, to an international bridge on Dec. 18, two days after a gunman shot her in the head as she protested the judicial system that freed the confessed killer of her daughter RubÃ Frayre Escobedo.
…The members are the brother, granddaughter and two sons of Escobedo, said the spokesman for Chihuahua attorney general, Carlos GonzÃ¡lez. He did not release their names.
“It was the decision of the family because they continued to be threatened,” GonzÃ¡lez said. “The state has always protected the family. The state never lost its guard.” But Escobedo’s relatives did not feel protected and decided to hide in El Paso, GonzÃ¡lez said. They ran away from attacks that followed Escobedo’s killing, de la Rosa said.
Predictions for the future of Mexico are not good. There is ongoing debate as to whether or not Mexico is a failed state. The Peace Fund’s Failed State Index considers Mexico to be in the “warning” stages of a failed state. In fact, according to the index, most of Central and South America rank in the warning stages as well.
What does that mean for the United States?
It means that immigrants fleeing from such conditions won’t have to enter the country illegally. They’ll ask for asylum.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a group identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and one of the organizations credited with driving anti-immigrant sentiment in the U.S., released a report sounding the alarm about current U.S. asylum policies.
FAIR wants the U.S. to amend those policies lest anymore Mexicans fleeing for their lives from cartel violence think they can find refuge within our borders. According to the report:
The U.S. asylum program has been expanded through judicial advocacy of immigration lawyers who represent asylum claimants. These activists relentlessly seek to expand the definition of asylum to include people who live in failed or dysfunctional nations to the extent that the definition of asylum is now distorted.
Somebody being persecuted and escaping their native country to avoid death seems to meet a pretty basic criteria for asylum — at least, for those who don’t have an agenda against Hispanic immigrants.
For FAIR to notice that the likelihood of asylum seekers will increase gives credence to the argument that more border security is just a failed stalling tactic that is quickly making the Latino community impatient for action on immigration reform and the DREAM Act in Congress.
Given the increasing crisis along our southern border, it makes sense that the United States first takes care of the 12 million immigrants we have here who have made the United States their home.
For security purposes, they need to be officially identified and put on a path to citizenship because they’ve proven with their long-term residency that they not only want to work but they want to contribute to the country.
After they’re recognized, then asylum policies must be addressed, along with, reinvesting time and attention back on Mexico and South America and acting like a neighbor rather than a destination.
Nobody is advocating for open borders, but what is being advocated is common sense and compassion. Common sense that should tell anyone that enabling 12 million people to live in the shadows of society is not smart given these times.
And compassion to understand that providing refuge to people escaping from a situation rife with impunity is just a basic tenet of neighbor helping neighbor.