As the Democratic Party officially kicks off a lengthy nomination process, the cluttered field of 25 candidates squared off last week for the first time. Only 20 of the 25 made it to the debate stage, where they were randomly assigned to either the first or second night. On the second night, sparks were flying over immigration.
After Joe Biden discussed the issue of root causes of mass immigration from the Northern Triangle countries (Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala), Bernie Sanders made an interesting point about the feared criminal gangs that often threaten those that stand in their way:
“We got to look at the root causes. And you have a situation where Honduras, among other things, is a failing state, massive corruption. You’ve got gangs who are telling families, that if a ten year old does not join that gang, that family is going to be killed.”
This is substantively true. These Central American countries have pervasive corruption to a degree that is unfathomable to those who have never set foot in the region. They also endure the scourge of murderous and vicious street gangs who have ingratiated themselves into the system that they wield considerable local political power.
Bernie’s fundamentally Marxist worldview, where every political and social issue is examined through the lens of oppressors and oppressed, leads him to quickly identify an easy (in his mind) solution to the severe problems in Central America: because violent street gangs are a serious problem there, anyone who claims that they have been threatened by such a street gang, should be given asylum in the United States.
Here is where Republicans and Democrats largely differ. Democrats believe that people are always telling the truth at the border, and that no one would lie about anything in order to seek asylum status (and the lucrative economic benefits that this status confers).
Republicans are quick to point out, and rightly so, that in many cases it is very difficult or even impossible, to verify the claims made by these migrants. In a court of law, based on the preponderance of the evidence, it would be very difficult to prove the veracity of their claims.
Setting aside, for a moment, the veracity of claims made by asylum seekers from the Northern Triangle, Bernie’s argument raises a far more important problem. Furthermore, it highlights the fundamental hypocrisy that characterizes the vast majority of Bernie’s socialist beliefs.
If you lived in a community, or state, or country, where violent street gangs would kill entire families if your 10 year old did not join their ranks, then what would you do? Would you flee to the United States? Maybe.
That would be great for you and your family, but it does nothing to help those left behind. Should 10 million Hondurans simply flee to the United States? Would that solve the fundamental problems in the nation?
Of course not.
A state, which has a monopoly on the use of violent force, is entrusted with protecting the life, liberty, and property of its citizens. A state which fails to do that is not a very good state.
Bernie Sanders and friends live in an ideological fantasy world, with preconceived notions about society, that would be useless on the ground in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
Sanders thinks that what works in Sweden or Switzerland would also work in Honduras, El Salvador, or Guatemala.
The government and murderous vicious street gangs like MS-13 could just sit down and work things out, right?
The reality is that in order to combat an organization like MS-13, the state, with its monopoly on violent force, must wage a war against the gangs, and the entire societal infrastructure that supports them. Yet, every time the government takes aggressive measures to eradicate these bands of murderers, kidnappers, thieves, extortionists, and human traffickers, there is a predictable outcry from leftist so-called “human rights defenders”…who are outraged at government action against street gangs, but have little to say about human rights abuses in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.
In fact, some have even praised Trump’s proposal to cut aid to the region, claiming that the aid merely furthers the violent aims of state security forces.
Only force, on the part of the military and police, and other state security agents, will eradicate the scourge of criminality from the Northern Triangle. Many gang members, and some of their family members, will have to die. That is the sad reality. Violence will only be eradicated with violence.
Bernie and his socialist pals have no problem when Communist dictators like Ortega, Castro, and Chavez, murder hundreds of their own citizens. However, when Central American governments kill murderous, vicious, gang-members, it is part of some right-wing plot, that is somehow the fault of the United States (read: Trump).