We are extraordinarily privileged to have been born in a country that is a stable democracy and a world economic powerhouse providing us Americans with opportunities allowing us access to the world and freedoms beyond the imagination of most of humanity.
Have you been to Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador or any number of developing democracies/economies in the world beyond a vacation to one of their exclusive beach front resorts? Have you spent any time experiencing the day-to-day lives of these people who are simply trying to survive to live another day? Unfortunately the overwhelming majority of human beings attempting to enter the U.S. along our southern border are doing so in an attempt to stay alive. They are subjecting themselves to extraordinary risk not because they so desire to inflict their problems on Americans or hope we will foot the bill for their existence, they are simply taking those risks because the alternative is death.
On April 23, 2018, the U.S. government ordered the departure of U.S. government family members and authorized the voluntary departure of U.S. government personnel due to crime, civil unrest and limited healthcare availability in Nicaragua. This is not a precautionary measure this is an order for government family members to leave the country and as for the voluntary departure of U.S. government personnel this means they are actually encouraged to return to the U.S., where they will still be employed but unfortunately unable to actually contribute much if anything to our mission in Nicaragua. Crime throughout Central America crosses a variety of sectors and is contributed to decades of corruption throughout both the public and private sector. These activities extend far beyond gang violence. .
Corruption ran deep under the rule of these despots and it was the innocent who paid the price. Our United States government contributed to the degradation of those cultures and allowed an environment to flourish where criminals ran amuck and the innocent suffered. Unfortunately today those countries no longer have the ability to protect their general population and though not entirely the fault of the United States we certainly have some accountability. And now that we no longer need strategic cooperation from those governments and do not receive a significant economic benefit through trade agreements with those countries, are we simply going to turn our backs on the humanity whose suffering in some ways we created?
Donald Trump and his advisors perpetuate America as a Christian nation with a nationalistic approach to values, but what he fails to understand is in the world of diplomacy you don’t get a do-over. It is not a zero sum game and you can’t make the rules as you go along. Relationships with governments are based on decades of history and in some cases centuries. When you become the leader of a country you inherit all the history of those relationships and must navigate the accountability that comes with that history as you move your own foreign policy forward. This is how democracies function. We don’t have the privilege of starting over. The United States if truly a country of Christian values cannot turn it’s back on those simply trying to live another day. We cannot rip children from the arms of parents whose only crime originates from attempting to survive. Can we open our border to every single human being that wants to immigrate to the United States? Obviously not, but we can extend our hand in a humane and comforting way to find solutions for those who truly have no ability to help themselves. After all, I do believe that is the very foundation of Christian biblical teaching.
These immigrants are not running to the United States to steal our jobs or live on our social programs, they are running to the United States for help because we are the largest and most powerful nation on earth and it just so happens these are our neighbors with quite frankly no where else to turn. We must sincerely revisit our foreign policy in Central America and do everything possible not just to provide financial resources but also to provide guidance and encouragement in developing a future for their people. It isn’t us versus them, the United States would benefit greatly from a prosperous and vibrant Central America and the future generations of the United States would be better served by our efforts today. In the meantime, do your best to understand if just for one minute what life is like for these families who so desperately just want to live another day.