Rivers on immigration: a problem that is only going to get worse.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

November 3rd, 2018



The roots of America’s current border issues go all the way back to the 1823 Monroe doctrine when America announced that it had replaced Europe as the colonial master of Latin America. There is no reason to believe Monroe had anything in mind but self-interest, particularly when it came to America’s commercial interests. And those interests were not in the best interests of what were to become America’s banana republics. And now, as Fidel Castro once said – the hens have come back to roost.

Call Number: Graff 4195 Author: Triplett, Frank. Title: Conquering the wilderness, or, New pictorial history of the life and times of the pioneer heroes and heroines of America ... / by Colonel Frank Triplett ... ; with 200 portraits from life, and ... engravings from designs by Nast, Darley, and other eminent artists. Published: New York ; St. Louis : N.D. Thompson & Company, 1883. Physical Description: xxxix, [2], 17-716 p. : ill., ports. ; 24 cm. Contents: pt. 1. From the Alleghanies to the Mississippi -- pt. 2. The plains -- pt. 3. The Pacific slope. Subject (LCSH): Indians of North America --Wars. Indian captivities. Frontier and pioneer life. Pioneers. Other Name: Nast, Thomas, 1840-1902. Darley, Felix Octavius Carr, 1822-1888. Everett D. Graff Collection of Western Americana (Newberry Library) References: Graff coll. 4195 Frontispiece "The March of Destiny" shot with digital NikonD100 camera

The March of Destiny

The accounting of US transgressions against its neighbours is overwhelming. The declaration of Manifest Destiny justified the theft of Mexican territory. Washington engineered carving Panama and its canal out of Colombia. The CIA organized numerous government coups and the military invasions in Cuba, Chile, Guatemala, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Grenada. Even today US troops are stationed in Honduras, ostensibly to support the Honduran government, but primarily to secure US banana and coffee interests in that country, something it has done for over a century.

One could argue that America’s actions with its backdoor neighbours were not unlike those of the Soviets following the second world war. Except that the Soviets didn’t just invade and pillage, they actually made an effort to improve the social and economic conditions of their satellites. Notwithstanding the loss of freedom and the inherent faults of the communist system, the Soviets were benevolent colonialists at least from that perspective. And, of course, the fight against communism served as justification for America’s role as enforcer in Latin America.

Former GW Bush era Secretary of State, Colin Powell, labelled it the ‘Pottery Barn rule’ – if you break it you’ve bought it. And central America in particular is one broken basket case of poverty and violence, thanks largely to US commercial and foreign policies. And so, for the masses of Central American pilgrims and their families, forced from their homes by poverty, political oppression and violence, it is a matter of just coming home to Uncle Sam.

Mexican caravan

Immigrants heading for the US border -1000 km away the caravan has become a political issue

The most desperate of these people come from the nations which make up the so-called northern triangle, composed of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. With a population approximating that of Canada, these three states harbour some 50,000 violent gang members. Honduras has been called the most dangerous place in the world. And they are all dirt poor.

Migration, people leaving or forced out of their homes and looking for a better life, is not a new thing, and it is only news because the US president thinks it makes good politics. But it’s not a simple case of we and they. 60% of Mexicans have relatives already living in the US, and over 15% of those who were born in the Caribbean or Central America now live in the USA.

Trump’s dystopian wall and his army on the border is a false god and a stop-gap at best. Walls will not keep the starving Latin American hordes out any more than China’s wall held back the Mongolian hordes, or the Mediterranean has served to ward off desperate migrants leaving Africa for a better life. If you want secure borders you need to help those nations you border enjoy their own security – economic, political and social.

The history of the planet is replete with case studies of migration and migrants moving on in search of a better life. And Immigration is the story of America, despite the inevitable xenophobia and even outright racism that is too often its companion. So you better get used to it America. This latest caravan is a harbinger of migrations yet to come as humanity continues to do what it is doing to prepare for its own extinction. Greater poverty and starvation, and political and criminal oppression are the future for this planet… unless…

There are half a billion people in the Asia-Pacific region alone who now go hungry every day. It should be no surprise that we are incredibly over-populated and still growing, even as our ability to feed ourselves is ever diminishing. We have wiped out 60% of all animal species since 1970. Scientists claim there is only two years for us to to put an end to the loss of the earth’s biodiversity, and twelve years to stop our accelerating rate of climate changing emissions. Just read the newspaper and you’ll soon become your own Dr. Death on this stuff.

Amazon forest

Amazon forest

And the response of our global leaders? The American president is a climate denier who is terminating all efforts to deal with climate change and the environment in general. Brazil has elected a new leader who wants to convert the rest of the Amazon forest, the lungs of the earth, into high methane emitting cattle ranching. Germany is helping Russia build a new pipeline so it can burn even more natural gas.

Our greenish PM is promoting new pipelines to spur even more oil and gas extraction. And our new Ontario premier has just shut down all climate change programs, is attempting to kill a national carbon tax and has even threatened to get rid of the environmental Greenbelt. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how this movie is going to end.

American has never acknowledged its role as an imperial power, and the American people I know don’t consider themselves colonialists. Perhaps that is the reason it is so bad at this colonial stuff. So perhaps it should stop pretending. Aren’t we all Americans?

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.   Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa.  Tweet @rayzrivers


Background links:

Caravan –    African Migration –     Nicaragua

Birth Rate –     Trump Rolls Back –     Understanding Migration

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9 comments to Rivers on immigration: a problem that is only going to get worse.

  • Ray Rivers

    And thanks again for clarifying Susie.

  • Susie

    Thank you Ray and Rob for your kind responses. No, I was not fortunate enough to be one of those 22 year olds to get a good education, it was just a realistic number! My life has been unique, not a lifestyle that has been taken for granted, but has given me great strengths in dealing with the past, present, and with a very strong perception/vision of where our future is heading should we continue in the path that our Government is choosing.
    And yes Ray, I did know that Puerto Rico was a protectorate of the U.S. and the people are legally U.S. citizens. My take there was the masses (many1,000’s literally) presently entering certain U.S. States with a suitcase in hand and nowhere to go once they arrive. We all know that large numbers going through a crisis state of survival, leads to crime going in every direction! This is a serious situation that has to be dealt with from within, and they have no idea what the outcome is going to be?? Illegal masses on the other hand, presently on route, should be handled in a different nature, but both hold the same situational crisis. Poverty in Toronto, Montreal and the larger cities here in Canada is becoming a pandemic also, with no immediate solution going forward. Canadians attitudes (frame of minds) on this subject is: “oh well, doesn’t affect me”! How little do they know that it affects all of us and they will learn, “too little, too late” what will upset them when they are faced with reality. My views of course. Thank you!

  • rob n

    I had to check the URL to make sure I was reading the Gazette and not the NY Times of the Washington Post! This informative article belongs in those papers.

    Along similar lines of deceit, I started to watch Oliver Stones’ “Untold History of the United States”, https://imdb.to/2D488ux – but couldn’t get far into it. The “truths” were too much for my mind to comprehend.

    We have been lied to. The people in those countries see the USA for what it really is.

    The world is not as it seems.

  • Ray Rivers

    Suzie thanks for your comment. However I would note that residents of Puerto Rico are actually American citizens – Their country was ravaged by the hurricane Maria last year and they still have not recovered. The ferocity of the hurricane is attributed to global warming and the damages were almost the entire GDP of the Island’s economy.

    “Sec. 302. [8 U.S.C. 1402] All persons born in Puerto Rico on or after April 11, 1899, and prior to January 13, 1941, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, residing on January 13, 1941, in Puerto Rico or other territory over which the United States exercises rights of sovereignty and not citizens of the United States under any other Act, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States as of January 13, 1941. All persons born in Puerto Rico on or after January 13, 1941, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, are citizens of the United States at birth.” (https://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-29/0-0-0-9711.html)

  • Susie

    Oh my, everyone wants to enter the so-called rich Western World! Is it so-called rich, because we have sacrificed to make it this way through sacrifices of sometimes 3 jobs to afford education, limited number of children, bare bones lifestyle, and govt. and mandatory payment of high taxes, etc. etc. Well, with the high costs that we are presently incurring to survive, the illegals and the migrants with open borders, are really going to make the U.S. and Canada, as Trump says, a huge move closer towards poverty, politics and violence, and falling into a lifestyle to which they are presently trying to escape. These people are hungry, angry, and very demanding! I speak from experience of those plane loads coming into Florida daily from Puero Rico – it is not a pretty situation for those trying to deal with this magnitude of people fleeing their country. Please educate yourself before making assumptions. Present day, more than ever, people are homeless with not enough beds available for their keep. Along with that goes their addictions, food, clothing, and where is their future going? Education requirements for a job takes years and mega $$$, are these homeless ever going to be self sufficient? It takes us a good 22 years to learn to speak and get educated to hopefully go forward with a good paying position. Bringing in hundreds of thousands yearly, as what is now permitted, with nothing, let alone having to learn our language, we need to face reality with all this and have some intelligent thoughts. Taxpayers “cannot” subsidize housing, education, medical, clothing, food, T.V’s, Cell Phones, Computers, etc. etc. for the masses. The illegals that do have a trade and make a living, pay absolutely nothing to the Govt. to help with rising costs, and undercut the prices of those registered for the same work, paying taxes, creating what is legal, a jobless society. We are stuggling to keep our heads above water with costs escalating beyond our control – the Governments needs to be strong! Realism needs to supercede emotions! I feel for these people also and feel we should have immigration, but controlled according to what we can handle – not an open door policy! If we can’t take care of the needy at home, we shouldn’t think we can take care of the world needy! This needs serious thinking going forward as to what type of country we are forming, and all those in the moment of worldly emotion, not come forward in 20 years saying we did it all wrong! You snooze, you loose! If I was a multimillionaire I would sponsor families and save taxing everyone, which is the scenario now – you and I are now paying for many years ahead, every new homeless person entering on our soil. My opinion only!

    • rob n

      Hi Susie,

      I took the time to read your detailed note. I agree with most of your statements.

      Most of the issues can be resolved in creating an environment, preferably in the person’s own country, where education, health care, and economic growth can be fostered without government or religious ideology. Those are ideal roles for the UN and the World Health Organization, among others. If only politician’s would keep their ideology off the programs and let them proceed on a science based program.

      The decision to leave one’s home, where once there was a thriving community of friends, business, social events, a comfortable language, and religious events is for the brave or the desperate. War, famine, corruption, climate change contribute to people seeking out a better life.

      We, in North America, live lives of complacent comfort. Compare your life to your grandparents life. If they lived through the 1930’s depression, World War II, you’ll recognize how good we have it. If you were born between 1950 and 1960, your life has been golden. Especially if you spent 22 years in school. That’s 9 years of post-secondary education, congratulations. I only have 5.

      We do not know our own history. We take our life styles for granted. As a result, we are throwing away what could have been a great legacy for our children – a peaceful life with a good standard of living.

      The baby boomers, I among them, have not been good stewards of our country. Our youth will pay for our largesse with hard economic times and a standard of living ours.

      I agree, government needs to be strong, but who votes for austerity? Prime Minister Chretien and Paul Martin (as Finance Minister) balanced on the knife’s edge in the 1990’s. As a country, we had a oil sands sized truck full of debt. But with a solid plane, Canadians, together, paid down the debt. And we did it without much pain. We weren’t put into an austere bind, queing for milk, eggs and bread. Life was good and the country prospered, until some guy from the Conservative Party of Canada sent the debt soaring again… even though he said he was from the party of fiscal management… but I digress.

      The bottom line is, if freedom is good enough for you, it’s good enough for me. Stay out of my country’s politics. No more CIA, covert government support, ‘dark’ money, ‘blood for oil’ wars, religious attitudes overriding science based facts. Then, most likely, people will prosper where the are, and not have to leave their home.

  • Cogent and succinct. A well done analysis deserving of major publication and readership.

  • Susan Cooley

    Excellent article!

  • Alide Camilleri

    We hear you. It took me a while to realize how predatory Americans are, but once the truth hit me I saw it everywhere. What makes it worse is that on top of the country’s attitudes is the reality how really uneducated Americans are. Now we have Canadians imitating our southern neighbours not realizing that as far as Americans are concerned we are just the 51st state and we should just relinquish our independence. As for our own Mini-Me Trump (Doug Ford), let’s just hope he gets turfed before he does too much harm to our greenbelt. The Amazon in Brazil will definitely be lost now, and it will do untold harm to the environment.