If your entire income comes from farming, imagine having to abandon it because of severe and persistent drought, pests, and weather disasters. Imagine neighbors desperate enough to put you and your family in danger and a government so corrupt it endangers your lives and livelihoods even further. What in the world do you do? Leave your home, your village, your country? Now you’re a migrant.
The Dust Bowl of the 1930s forced people to move West, and those of us with Irish roots probably have ancestors who escaped the potato famine in the mid 1800s. Coastal areas in the U.S. are starting to put pressure on inhabitants to move inland — environmental crises, past, present, future.
Environmental degradation makes Guatemala and Honduras increasingly unsustainable. People must escape their homes, often leaving vulnerable family members behind. Most of us wouldn’t tolerate a day, let alone a lifetime in some of these places, water often unavailable, soaring crime rates and heat waves, along with collapsing infrastructure. President Trump has a word for these kinds of countries but it’s unprintable.
These refugees are labels, not people. They’re illegals, and rapists, terrorists, drug lords, so it’s not a crime to cage them, to separate children from families, to tell the military to build more detention centers, and now to ship these refugees to ‘blue’ sanctuary cities—thinly disguised blackmail and punishment for places where Democrats tend to dominate. He doesn’t have to look into reasons why they walk hundreds of miles from their homelands. Mr. Trump is Commander in Chief (and he won the election).
Imagine if he were to forego his ego and listen to those who know about these things, if he were to accept the reality of climate change, its effects worldwide and its link with the current border crisis. (Imagine the impossible.)
There’s no real border crisis with Canada. Its government is stable, its environment mostly livable. Not so in Central American countries. Our real national emergency is a global one and Donald Trump is a major contributor.
Beverly Roxby lives in Belfast