Washington, DC – A new Dallas Morning News op-ed from Dan Restrepo, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress who served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs on the National Security Council during the Obama Administration, makes the case for why the United States needs a new approach to migration. Specifically, an approach that moves us away from our continued emphasis on deterrence-only policies at the U.S. southern border with Mexico.
Dan Restrepo in the Dallas Morning News: “Look beyond the U.S.-Mexico border to manage migration“:
“As the number of encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border rise, the belief that people will stop coming if borders are made harder to cross has once again kicked in, this time by expelling Venezuelans attempting to enter between ports of entry under the controversial public health order known as Title 42.
…Watching beleaguered men, women and children trudge through slick mud and stifling heat and humidity, the magnitude of systemic failure — and the need for a different approach — is staggering. Decades of hardening the U.S.-Mexico border and seeking to externalize it by encouraging our neighbors to enact visa requirements and border restrictions is collapsing under the weight of a hemisphere reeling from regime-driven state failure in Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Haiti, not to mention the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, unprecedented levels of food insecurity, and the accelerating effects of the climate crisis.
…Far more needs to be done. All countries throughout the hemisphere need to coordinate and step up to stabilize, regularize and integrate migrants and would-be migrants while protecting those on the move.
…For hundreds of years, the Darién Gap served as a nearly impenetrable physical barrier to human mobility in the Americas. Today it is a flashing signal that a new approach — at scale — is urgently needed.”
According to Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication at America’s Voice:
“For too long, the U.S. policy approach to regional migration has gotten it exactly backwards, pretending that the complicated dynamics that lead to forced migration begin, end, or can be addressed only at the U.S. southern border or through deterrence-focused policy.
We are simply looking through the wrong end of the telescope. Instead, we need a realistic hemispheric approach that includes new legal channels for migration so that walking to and across Mexico is not seen as the only option to reach the safety and opportunity of the U.S. We simultaneously need a functioning system of courts and adjudicators to welcome those seeking safety, put them in a safe place and evaluate their claims in a fair, orderly and accurate manner. Policies that simply deter migration by making it more deadly and dangerous are not working and haven’t worked for half a century and carry a huge humanitarian cost in lives. We need an intelligent approach that goes beyond building expensive and ineffective walls or relying on the danger of trekking through the Darien Gap or walking across Mexico in order to have a functioning immigration and border management system.
We need to re-envision migration policy in our hemisphere so that it works for the American people, helps our economy and puts the safety and security of families, children and individuals first.”