October 23, 2018
The flow of migrants from Central America is a serious issue, but the United States is not suffering a general crisis of illegal immigration. Let’s talk facts and distinguish between good politics and bad policy. Much of this is common sense. Other nations do not “send” their worst people to the United States, rather the U.S. remains a beacon for citizens of other nations who are seeking better lives for many reasons. The total number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S.has actually declined from its peak of 12.2 million in 2007.More Mexicans are returning home than are coming into to the U.S, a trend that began in 2009 and which job growth from NAFTA has reinforced. MS-13, the gang that Trump loves to hate, spawned in the jails of Los Angeles, not the streets of San Salvador.
The surge of people fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras has its roots in the U.S.-backed civil wars of the 1980s, the “low quality” democracies that have resulted in the succeeding decades, and drug trafficking that transits Central America on the way to the U.S. Research generally shows that the crime rate among illegal immigrants is lower than the general population, and is even lower among legal immigrants. The principal implication is that solutions will come not by building a wall or draconian enforcement, but rather though a combination of effective border security, foreign assistance, and legislation that regularizes the flow of human beings into the country as well as the status of those who are here now.
A former U.S. Foreign Service Officer, Todd Greentree has served in five wars, from El Salvador in the early 1980s to Afghanistan between 2008 and 2012.
Mr. Greentree graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz, received his master’s degree in International Studies from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and his doctorate in history from Oxford University. He has taught Strategy and Policy at the Naval War College and the University of New Mexico and was a Visiting Scholar at the SAIS Merrill Center for Strategic Studies. Currently, he is a Research Associate with the Oxford Changing Character of War Centre, conducts programs in Latin America with the U.S. Center for Civil -Military Relations, and teaches international relations at UNM. He is writing a book titled The Blood of Others, about the origins and consequences of the wars at the end of the Cold War in Angola, Central America, and Afghanistan.
Location at Santa Fe Community College Board Room (#223).