Monday, March 5, 2018

Immigration Policy, Latin American Style

Just for fun, let’s take a look at the mass immigrant migration currently taking place in South and Central America. Thanks to the failed socialist policies of Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro, citizens of his country are resettling in neighboring nations, among others. Some have been welcomed, but the large numbers have provoked a reaction. In many countries Venezuelan migrants are  now no longer welcome. They are provoking what is called a backlash, though it seems a more rational than emotional response.

Bloomberg has the story, entitled "Venezuelans, Go Home":

Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans fleeing economic collapse are crowding into cities and makeshift camps in Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador and throughout the region, the largest mass emigration in modern Latin American history. The Panamanian song, which brought the singer death threats from aggrieved migrants, reflects a growing friction. The sympathy that greeted early arrivals, many wealthy professionals, is giving way to fear and resentment of the poor and desperate. It is evinced by outbreaks of nationalistic insults, harassment and even violence.

You know how this came about:

Venezuela’s slump since socialist autocrat President Nicolas Maduro took office in 2013 is the deepest in the Americas in recent history. Oil output, the economy’s mainstay, has plunged as the state producer runs out of money — and as Maduro imprisons its officials and replaces them with military men. Hyperinflation has made the currency worthless, and malnutrition is now endemic.

Almost 2 million Venezuelans are living outside the country.

About half a million are in Colombia alone, and they are arriving at the rate of about 100,000 per month. President Juan Manuel Santos said the influx is perhaps his country’s most serious problem. He’s tightened visa rules and deployed troops to patrol informal border crossings. Alejandro Ordonez, a conservative presidential candidate, has tried to capitalize, saying that many Venezuelans are involved in “criminal structures” and calling on the government to protect jobs for Colombian workers.

Some sentiments seem to be universal. Perhaps we should offer them all sanctuary in Oakland, CA.

[See also stories in the Washington Post and Reuters, linked by Hotair, via Maggie's Farm.)

This report is from Reuters, about a bus full of people looking for work in other countries:

On board the bus, web developer Tony Alonzo had sold his childhood guitar to help pay for his ticket to Chile. For months he had been going to bed hungry so that his 5-year-old brother could have something for dinner. Natacha Rodriguez, a machine operator, had been robbed at gunpoint three times in the past year. She was headed for Chile, too, hoping to give her baseball-loving son a better life. Roger Chirinos was leaving his wife and two young children behind to search for work in Ecuador…

By the time dawn rises over Caracas, hungry people are already picking through garbage while kids beg in front of bakeries. Come dusk, many Venezuelans shut themselves inside their homes to avoid muggings and kidnappings. In a country with the world’s largest proven crude reserves, some families now cook with firewood because they cannot find propane. Hospitals lack supplies as basic as disinfectant. Food is so scarce and pricey that the average Venezuelan lost 24 pounds last year.

“I feel Venezuela has succumbed to an irreversible evil,” Chirinos said…

Venezuelans elected Chavez, the late leftist firebrand, in 1998 with a mandate to fight inequality. A charismatic former lieutenant colonel, Chavez transformed the country during his 14-year rule, pouring oil revenue into wildly popular welfare programs. But he also nationalized large swaths of the economy and implemented strict currency controls, state meddling that economists say is the root of the current crisis…

Now, financially ravaged Venezuelans with fewer skills are pouring across South America in a frantic search for work in restaurants, stores, call centers and construction sites. Some travel only as far as their savings will stretch: A one-way bus ticket to neighboring Colombia from Caracas costs the U.S. equivalent of around $15; the fare for a trip to Chile or Argentina can run as high as $350, a small fortune for many. The plunging currency and rocketing inflation make financing the voyage more expensive with each passing day.

Sociologist Tomas Paez, an immigration specialist at the Central University of Venezuela, estimates that almost 3 million people have fled Venezuela over the past two decades. He believes nearly half of them have left in the last two years alone, in one of the largest mass migrations the continent has ever seen.]


Jack Fisher said...

I read these stories with the same incredulity I read the latest global warming disaster prediction.

osma said...
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