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Despite his incessant harping on the issue of illegal immigration, President Trump has had few positive achievements. He hasn’t Built the Wall, he hasn’t really stemmed the flow of migrants. About the most he can boast is some hundreds of children separated from their parents and kept in barbarous conditions, some few illegal immigrants who had become integrated into new communities seized and deported, and thousands of asylum-seekers confined in Mexico.

Insane Asylum Policy

The administration has, however, recently achieved a major breakthrough on asylum: they have gotten the agreement of the major source countries for asylum-seekers to serve as “safe third countries” in which migrants must seek asylum before they may apply for asylum in the US.

Thus, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have all agreed to serve as such safe third countries for nationals of the other countries. That is, El Salvador will so serve refugees from Honduras and Guatemala, while Honduras will serve refugees from El Salvador and Guatemala, and Guatemala will serve Hondurans and Salvadorans. Moreover, Mexico has agreed to be a safe third country for all three of the Central American countries.

Here’s the deal: people fleeing criminal violence in any of the three Central American countries are required to seek asylum in another country that is just as hazardous.

There is just one troubling detail: all of the Central American countries, and Mexico too, are extremely dangerous. That’s why people are fleeing them. Organized gangs dealing drugs and engaging in other criminal behavior threaten the lives of anyone who crosses them by refusing to do their bidding. This is detailed for El Salvador in this excellent piece in the New York Times.

Much the same story can be told about Honduras and Guatemala. And if you don’t think Mexico is dangerous, consider that Mexican police were just violently assaulted by a gang that freed the son of El Chapo, the notorious drug smuggler now in US custody.

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Here’s the deal: people fleeing criminal violence in any of the three Central American countries are required to seek asylum in another country that is just as hazardous.

Moreover, the most cursory examination of their histories establishes beyond dispute that the US bears a heavy responsibility for the prevalence of criminal violence in Central America and Mexico. For a start, it is the market for illegal drugs in the US that drives gang violence throughout the region.

Then there are specific acts of the US government in recent decades that undermined political stability and economic development in each country, making them more vulnerable to criminal gangs. During the 1980s the Reagan administration supported the rise to power of right-wing governments that engaged in large scale massacres and disappearances. And as recently as 2009 the Obama(!) administration solicited and supported a military coup against an elected center-left president of Honduras, replacing him with a right-wing regime that has presided over a huge increase in political corruption and gang activity.

In short, to use Trump’s expression, these are s___hole countries, and the US has made them that way. And we are now requiring refugees to seek asylum in exactly those countries.

The Trump administration commits crimes against humanity by denying asylum to people with a credible fear of death or injury. It is certainly insane to think that any of the Central American countries, or Mexico, can keep them safe.

impeachment unavoidable

It is a criminally insane asylum policy.

John Peeler