• Rania Khalek

What’s behind the nightmare at the border? A bipartisan crisis of imperialism decades in the making

Trump’s not president anymore, yet the horrors at the border continue. Migrant children are still being rounded up and placed in detention. Families are still being separated. And people are still being deported by the thousands. But most liberals have gone back to brunch.

Yes, the cruelty at the border reached new heights under Trump. But now that he’s out of office, too many people are looking away out of partisan interests and the media isn’t giving you the full story.

How did this happen? Why are people picking up and leaving their countries? Why are they being subjected to so much cruelty on their journey no matter which party is in charge? And why so much effort to obfuscate?

There are three root causes of the border nightmare that the media refuses to touch.

First is US imperialism causing people to flee in the first place. Second, the militarized border apparatus is cruel by design to deter people from coming to the US. And third, both parties are responsible -- it’s completely bipartisan, all to make a profit for ruling elites. AND it’s destabilizing the US, making it more right-wing.


Upon being appointed border czar, Vice President Kamala Harris said we “must address the root causes that cause people to make the trek, as the president has described, to come here.”

But our leaders aren’t really addressing the root causes. Otherwise, they’d be rushing to undo decades of interventionist foreign policy in the global south—right-wing coups and the imposition of a neoliberal economic order that steals resources and destabilizes and destroys, all for the profit of a parasitic capitalist elite in the global north. Add to that climate change, to which the US and its allies in the global north have disproportionately contributed, and it’s no wonder people are desperate to escape.

From the way US officials talk about Latin America, you’d think that most migrants were fleeing the countries we demonize and sanction, like Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.

But the majority of migrants at the border are fleeing El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Haiti. What do these countries have in common? They all have right-wing neoliberal governments propped up by the US.

They’ve been subjected to US-backed coups, flooded with US weapons and training to militarize their police, endured decades of the US arming fascists to stamp out leftist movements that threaten US interests, have had their resources stolen and been forced to implement a neoliberal economic model through US-controlled financial institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. In other words, they’ve all been destabilized by US imperialism.