Sunday, April 7, 2019

How our government stopped the 1989 asylum surge BEFORE it got out of control

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In 1984, the WSJ published an op-ed, “In Praise of Huddled Masses.” “We propose a five-word constitutional amendment: There shall be open borders.” Well, 35 years later, that is exactly what we have. Our government is now telling us that the laws, which actually say the opposite, compel them to let anyone in. We didn’t even need a constitutional amendment to create open borders. We just needed judges.
As we allow nearly everyone into our country and release them into our communities, the “mother of all caravans” is forming in Honduras, according to media in Mexico. Was there ever a time in history when we allowed this to go on? Remember, our current laws have been in place since 1952, and the updated asylum statutes have been in place since 1980. We’ve been through this before, only then, as I demonstrated with the case of the Haitian boat people in 1993, our government shut it down immediately. But there is another case we should study that is even a better apples-to-apples comparison to what is going on today, and that is the way we shut down the asylum surge of Nicaraguans in south Texas in 1989.
Following the coup of Sandinista Marxists against the Somoza dynasty in 1979, a number of people fled the country and requested asylum at our border. In total, 126,000 applied for asylum, but that was spread out over the period 1981-1990. However, unlike with those coming now from the Northern Triangle countries (and increasingly from Nicaragua), many of these individuals were legitimate asylees, and some were actually wealthy individuals tied to the ruling family or the Contras, whom the U.S. was supporting against the Sandinistas. In fact, this was a part of the strategy of the Reagan administration to combat communism. So, we definitely had a vested interest, unlike today, in bringing some of these people in.
But towards the end of the 1980s, the migration became a flow of impoverished individuals simply fleeing economic conditions in Nicaragua. In 1988, Hurricane Joan left 432 people dead and 230,000 homeless. It was certainly a sad situation, as we see today with the devastation of hurricanes in the Caribbean, but it clearly has nothing to do with asylum. According to the Congressional Research Service, between June 1988 and March 1989, the totality of this iteration of Nicaraguan migration, 18,000 Nicaraguans crossed the border at Brownsville, Texas, most of them declaring asylum. That was regarded as an emergency situation at the time.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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