The militarization of the border will not solve the humanitarian crisis

José López Zamorano | La Red Hispana 
Photo Credit: US Customs and Border Protection

José López Zamorano
La Red Hispana

The US-Mexico border is undoubtedly facing a migration crisis and a humanitarian tragedy. It is the result of a complex set of circumstances:

The incapacity of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to solve endemic problems of insecurity and lack of opportunities.

The undemocratic deepening and economic worsening in Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, as well as the excruciating extreme poverty in Haiti.

The dysfunction of the US political class in confronting its immigration dilemma and its betrayal of principles as a nation of migrants.

The administration of President Joe Biden is right when he talks about the need for a comprehensive approach: expanding legal routes for migrants; understand migration as a regional problem that requires international collaboration; attack the root causes of poverty and violence that drive people on a lethal odyssey.

But this puzzle, which will be more complicated to solve with the decision to end Title 42 in the current circumstances, requires a far-reaching initiative to reform the asylum system, which allows the United States to comply with dignity and honor with its founding principles as a refuge for the persecuted.

That is why President Biden’s decision to deploy 1,500 additional soldiers to the border is incomprehensible, as is the no less foolish action of Governor Gregg Abbot to support him with his own contingent of the Texas National Guard.

When the White House defends the deployment of troops under the argument that all presidents have done so since 2006, it only confirms the inability of the political elite to solve a serious structural problem.

When Abbot tasks soldiers with “intercepting, repelling and driving back migrants trying to enter Texas illegally,” he reaffirms his outrageously xenophobic approach.

As New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez correctly observes, the deployment of military personnel only furthers the misconception that migrants are a threat that requires troops to contain.

The White House says it is prepared to manage the wave of migrants as of May 12 and trusts in the pact with Mexico to accept up to 30,000 Venezuelans, Cubans, Nicaraguans and Haitians.

This is a litmus test for President Joe Biden, who has vowed to re-commit the United States as a country that welcomes migrants, not criminalizes them. Some of his actions, however, seem less in line with that promise and more in line with the policing approach of the Trump era.

Migrants, regardless of their origin or the color of their skin, must be received with respect, solidarity and dignity, not with the point of an assault rifle.