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‘Harvest of shame’

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Since March 2020 the United States has used Trump’s Title 42, a Covid health measure, to expel migrants 2.5 million times. Its real purpose has been to prevent immigrants from exercising their legal and human rights to apply for asylum at the Southern border. The UN has warned that this misused pandemic policy violates international refugee laws and protections. Thousands of individuals and families have been forced back into Mexico where they face harsh and dangerous conditions.  

On Dec. 21st, the Biden administration finally agreed to end Title 42. The Supreme Court, however, intervened and the President then chose to expand the policy to block Venezuelans, Haitians, Cubans and Nicaraguans from applying at the border for asylum. 

Neither our political leaders nor the mainstream media discuss the role of the United States in helping to create the very migrant crisis that both political parties have repeatedly failed to address.  Lies, half-truths, misconceptions and myths result in the “destruction of historical memory.”

American foreign policy for decades has made life extremely difficult for millions of people in the Southern hemisphere.  We have intervened, militarily and covertly, to overthrow democratic left-wing governments while supporting brutal, corporate-friendly right-wing dictatorships.  Sanctions and blockades have been implemented against left-wing authoritarian governments but not to the ones that are right-wing authoritarian. This economic warfare has failed at regime change but been successful in causing devastating hardships for civilian populations. 

There is our large carbon footprint in global warming and extreme weather that has adversely impacted rural farm populations. Also, the deportation of gang members to Central American countries has contributed to the destabilization of their governments.

All these factors (and recent events such as the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, supply-chain disruptions and inflation) have been significant in driving millions of Latin Americans from their homes to seek asylum at the Southern border. The refugees have not been welcomed. This is our “harvest of empire” and our “harvest of shame.”

Howard Elterman

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