Opinion: The U.S. should acknowledge its complicity in migrant issues

The May 2 news article “U.S. plan to stem migration faces obstacles” well named the myriad challenges in working with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, including corruption and bad governance. It failed to name, however, U.S. responsibility for continuing to empower corrupt leaders, support repressive security forces, and buttress an economic development model in the region that mostly benefits elites, leading to dramatic levels of inequality and environmental destruction. For more than 30 years, I have led human rights delegations of faith leaders to the region. It seems clear that the desperate faces at the U.S.-Mexico border are the fruit of decades of such failed policies, made dramatically worse by U.S. support of the 2009 coup in Honduras.

Vice President Harris would do well to acknowledge our country’s responsibility for the furnace of violence that Central America has become and adopt a humble posture with social movements there, which are clear on needed policy changes. The administration should also follow the lead of eight U.S. senators who introduced a bill (S. 388) demanding suspension of U.S. security aid to Honduras until impunity ends and human rights are respected. Hopes of “would-be migrants” might be stirred if they could experience real change in their political realities, and ours.

Jean Stokan, Mount Rainier

The writer is justice coordinator for immigration for the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.

For full Op-Ed go here.

Jean Stokan