On July 15, 2014, over forty Central American children were deported from the United States on flights going to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. The United States government has stepped up its deportation of illegal child migrants, more than any under any previous presidential administration. Some 50,000 migrants from Central America have left their homes due to high levels of crimes and brutal gang actions since October of 2013, according to the U.S. government.
Much of the media projects a anti-immigrant prospective, where they blame the parents, gangs, and even the children for thinking that the U.S. will aid them. However, as Chrisley Carpio reports, what is not being mentioned is that U.S. economic and military policies have made huge impacts in Central America. For instance, in 2001 El Salvador changed its national currency to the U.S. dollar, which drastically increased the cost for basic goods, benefitting U.S. businesses while leaving thousands of Salvadorans living in poverty.
Honduras has come to have one of the world’s highest murder rates—but, as Carpio argues, this fact must be understood as a historical legacy of U.S. military operations in Central America, including specifically in the case of Honduras, the US-backed right-wing coup of 2009. As far back as the 1950s, the US has used Honduras as a base of operations.
Corporate media associate the current wave of Central American refugee children with drugs, crime, and poverty, but do not take into account the United States’ historic role as a source of destabilization. That U.S. imperialism might be one fundamental source of poverty, crime, high levels of migration, and the current wave of deportations—this possibility is outside the scope of the corporate media’s coverage. Yet, as Carpio and others argue, if the U.S. had not been involved in these countries, no children would need to flee their homes in search of aid.
We need coverage that shows that refugee children are not criminals. News that provides the story behind the current wave of children refugees—including the US role in creating the conditions that drive it—will be an important step. As Brad Sigal reports, in communities such as Minneapolis, many people are already organizing to express solidarity with Central American refugees.
Chrisley Carpio, “Central American refugee children: Victims of U.S. intervention in Central America,” Fight Back!, August 7, 2014, http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/8/7/central-american-refugee-children-victims-us-intervention-central-america.
Brad Sigal, “Minneapolis vigil shows solidarity with Central American refugee children,” Fight Back!, October 2, 2014, http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/8/10/minneapolis-vigil-shows-solidarity-central-american-refugee-children.
Student Researcher: Ricky Calderon (Sonoma State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Suzel Bozada-Deas (Sonoma State University)