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Home Features Why many migrate from Latin America and other countries to the US

Why many migrate from Latin America and other countries to the US

Even though the United States has problems with race issues and has declined economically, most people in the world still see it as the only hope for them to improve their human rights situation and escape from the social, economic and political problems they experience in their countries. People from all over the world have been migrating to America since it declared its independence in 1776. America is the only country in the world that has a citizen from almost every country on earth compared to all the other countries on this planet.

Historically, most people came to America voluntary to escape religious persecution, political victimization, genocide, and other human rights violations they were experiencing in their countries. Recently, the reasons for migration, especially from the Central and Latin American countries, are human rights violations and the need to improve their living conditions and to escape from the havoc in their countries that has been caused by gangs and other violent groups. The economic reason overshadows the others, because most of those who leave are those who are unemployed and have little or no subsistence. Immigrants have contributed and continue to contribute to their homeland’s economic development through remittances to their loved ones that totaled $98 billion in 2019.

When Jimmy Carter became US president in 1976, he saw a relationship between human rights violations n Latin America, civil wars and migration to the United States. He imposed sanctions and military embargoes against the totalitarian and repressive regimes in the region. As a result of his policies, many of the military regimes crumbled and were replaced by civilian democratic governments.

Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter in 1980, and he was against Jimmy Carter’s foreign policy. He said that he would reverse the policy and support all leaders in the region who supported the United States’ interests. This was despite their nations’ human rights record. He began supplying those governments with arms, and it was a return to repressive governments again. This led to the eruption of civil wars in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Mexico, Guatemala and other countries in the region.

If the United States wants to ease the flow of immigrants from Latin America to the United States, they must have a human rights policy against the countries in Latin America and the world, that continue to commit genocide against the indigenous people. Guatemala is not the best country for the United States to work with, because they have one of the worst human rights records against the Maya people living in their country.

The killing of the Maya people started when the Spanish conquistador Alvarado colonized that country on behalf of Spain in the 1600’s, and that has not stopped up to this day. This has led to ongoing migrations of the Maya people into neighboring Belize and Mexico to escape for their lives. Since the 1980’s about 30 or more new villages have been formed in the country of Belize by many Maya refugees from Guatemala who were running away from the military. In Mexico the province of Chiapas has new settlements as well with Maya refugees.

In Honduras the Garifuna people and the native Indian tribe Lenca, have also been experiencing human rights violations since the Spanish arrived. Many Lenca Indians were killed. This included one of their leaders, Berta Isabel Caceres Flores, who was assassinated on March 2nd 2016. There was an incident in the village of San Juan in 1832, where several Garifuna men, women and children were slaughtered. This led to a huge migration of Garifuna people to the town of Dangriga, Belize. It was the second migration to what is now Belize, after the first one occurred in 1802 in Belize City, the northern part of the country. Since the incident in 1832, many Garifuna leaders have been assassinated, and recently five men were kidnapped from the village of El Triunfo De La Cruz and have not been seen since.

The United States government possesses transcripts and testimonies from all the people who left their countries, to come to the United States and apply for political asylum. When this information is obtained by the United States government, the US government carries out a complete investigation to see if the victims are telling the truth. If the information that is given is true, the United States will normally grant the asylum. If not, the US government would deny the asylum and send the asylum seekers back to their respective countries.

All the countries in Latin America and the world, have different reasons why their citizens are fleeing in droves. If the internal problems in these countries are not resolved, the people will continue to leave and come to the United States. Belize has been getting refugees from Guatemala and El Salvador since the 1980’s. They came to Belize because of the human rights violations in their country. Once they got settled over a period of years, they sought economic advancement, and Belize did not have it to provide to most of them.
Many of them then made the decision to migrate to the United States to improve their living conditions. If the United States government were to give money to all the countries in Latin America and the world, to improve their citizen’s economic conditions, will those who need it the most get it? This is the question that is difficult for most people to answer. Many of these countries have a poor record of distributing their nation’s resources equitably to their citizens. Once the citizens feel left out of the equation, they will be motivated to leave their countries for the United States.

I believe that President Biden is serious about finding a solution to the US refugee problem, but it is not going to be easy to solve. He needs the cooperation of the countries in Latin America and the world to get this issue resolved. If we look at the remittances that the people who came to America send back to their homelands and the manner in which they are being treated by their governments, that tells us many things. Belizeans, for example, who were born in Belize and possess dual Belizean and American citizenship, cannot vote in their country by proxy, run for political office, represent their country in many official capacities and are not entitled to all their citizenship rights unless they denounce their US citizenship.

Meanwhile, Guatemalans, whose country is still claiming Belize, Salvadorans and other citizens who become Belizean citizens, retain all their dual citizenship rights. The major political parties in Belize fear the power of the Belizeans who live in the United States. As a result of this, they choose to continue denying them of their fundamental constitutional citizenship rights. This is also a good example of a gross human rights violation that has been ongoing since Belize became independent on September the 21st 1981. As our president continues to seek a solution to this problem, cooperation and testimonies from all the people who live in these countries, must be obtained to get a true picture of what is happening in this region.

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