We are all born nearly the same—99.9% identical in genetic makeup they say.  So why do we fall for the divisive propaganda perpetrated by the current White House administration?

Mexico and Central America

Throughout the 1500s, Spaniards invaded Mexico and tyrannized the native Aztecs. They plundered Mexico’s mineral wealth, slaughtered and enslaved the natives, forced them to speak the Spanish language, and “saved” them with Christianity. Spanish conquerers had all but eradicated Mexican culture by 1600. Then came the spread of European diseases which nearly decimated the native population—this being how a few hundred Spaniards were able to overrun millions of native Aztecs. Mexico became a colony of Spain, until 1821 that is, at which time Mexico reclaimed their independence. Over the past 200 years, Mexico continues to rebuild its culture and economy, but the effects of colonialization and subsequent social stratification still thwart progress in a significant way.

This 300 year history of Spanish invasion and rule is nearly identical for Central America. Regarding the recent spotlight on immigration from Latin America, roughly half of the migrants are Mexican nationals and the other half are Central Americans—most coming from the countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

The Face of Immigration

Last year, 303,916 migrants were apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol. Less than one tenth of a percent were found to be dangerous criminals. The remaining 99.9% of apprehended migrants have wide-ranging backgrounds and stories. Many hail from impoverished cities in Central America. These cities have high levels of gang violence. Gang members fund their vocations through local extortion, and failing to pay results not in a late fee or bad credit, but in death. Young children are recruited into gang activities. Teenage girls are pressured to become gang member girlfriends. Many women face a lifetime of domestic violence. Many LGBT youth are assaulted and murdered.

The journey across Central America and Mexico to the U.S. border is long and dangerous—and expensive. Migrants have to borrow and sell everything they own to pay a smuggler. They do this knowing the risk of deportation. They do this knowing they might be sent back to nothing, and in some cases, a death sentence. What other backstories might a migrant have in order to leave everything they know to risk a long journey with seedy smugglers, threat of deportation, and the daunting goal of starting a life with nothing in a strange land? What level of desperation must a human being feel to make this choice?