In a statement made to the Madrid-based Efe news network on September 18, Carl Meacham, the director of the Americas Program of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), predicted that the recent decline in the number of unaccompanied youths who have migrated illegally into the United States will soon reverse itself.
“The situation in Central America hasn’t changed; we have the same problems of insecurity and violence, the lack of governability continues and jobs are still a problem — there is no work for young people who are members of cartels or street gangs,” said Meacham.
Though the number of unaccompanied youths illegally entering our country has declined in recent months, “that won’t last long,” Meacham said. A CBS News report on August 7 cited Department of Homeland Security figures released that day showing that about 5,500 unaccompanied children were arrested in July, about half the number apprehended in May and June and the lowest monthly figure since February. However, the decline may be at least partially attributable to the intense heat in Mexico during the summer months.
However, noted DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson in response to the decline, those numbers were still much higher than in previous years. From last October to July, 63,000 unaccompanied children entered the United States illegally, double the number from the same period a year earlier.
Meacham pointed to President Obama’s decision on September 6 to postpone action on immigration until after the November elections and said it will prompt Central American families to pay for their children to be sent northward on the treacherous journey to the U.S. border. In predicting a resumption of the massive flow of unaccompanied children into our nation, Meacham spreads blame for the migration across both the executive and legislative branches: “The president has not acted, Congress has not acted and the circumstances of the situation have not changed. There has been no legislation or change from the executive branch to eliminate the reasons why these children come to the United States,” Meacham said.
The position taken by the CSIS, apparently, is that it is the responsibility of the United States to eliminate the conditions in Central America that have caused thousands of desperate young people to risk a long and dangerous journey to the U.S. border, which they have been illegally crossing in record numbers.
We see no call from CSIS for increased border security, more efficient processing of these young illegal aliens by our immigration courts, or more aggressive deportation of them back to their countries of origin.
A closer look at CSIS and its leading personnel will tell us why the think tank has taken the position it has — i.e., that the United States should focus on restructuring the infrastructure of Central American nations to discourage migration rather than enforcing our own immigration laws more strictly. The nonprofit organization has been around for 52 years and with a full-time staff of 220 employees, its “large network of affiliated scholars” has substantial resources at its disposal. In 2013, the CSIS moved to a new $100-million headquarters in Washington, D.C. The University of Pennsylvania’s 2013 Global Go To Think Tanks Report ranked CSIS as the number one think tank in the world for security and international affairs and the fourth-best overall think tank in the world.
The CSIS was founded in 1962 by Admiral Arleigh Burke (the Eisenhower administration’s chief of Naval Operations) and future Ambassador to NATO David Manker Abshire. Abshire is a member of the interventionist Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). When prominent CFR member Henry Kissinger retired from his position as secretary of state in 1977, he set up an office at CSIS that he still has and where he continues to work as counselor to CSIS and as a trustee. Other former government officials who established a professional relationship with CSIS included James Schlesinger (CFR), Admiral William J. Crowe (CFR), Harold Brown (CFR), and Zbigniew Brzezinski (CFR).
Former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), who has chaired the CSIS Board of Trustees since 1999, is a CFR member. John Hamre, CSIS president, is also CFR, as is the CSIS director whose statement was the launching point of this report, Carl Meacham.
With credentials such as those, it is apparent that Meacham’s warning about the impending increase in youthful illegal aliens about to cross our borders was not made to bolster support for the legislation introduced by Republican Senator John Cornyn and Democrat Representative Henry Cuellar (both of Texas) last July. Known as the Helping Unaccompanied Minors and Alleviating National Emergency (HUMANE) Act the legislation would expedite the processing of minors who have illegally crossed the border into the United States.
With its focus on eliminating the reasons why the unaccompanied children keep fleeing to the United States — reasons that include near anarchy and gang violence in the Central American nations — Meacham and the CSIS seem to be more amenable to a plan such as was proposed by Honduran President Juan Hernandez last July. Hernandez said Washington should help Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras fight gangs with a plan similar to U.S. anti-drug programs in Colombia and Mexico, as well as provide funds to stimulate economic growth in the region.
Honduran Foreign Minister Mireya Aguero told the conference she attended with Hernandez that efforts to step up security at the U.S. border were not working and that U.S. aid would be better spent in Central America. “It’s much more practical for the United States to launch a mini-Marshall plan, as they did after World War Two, to create opportunities and really get to the root of the problem in Central American countries that is fueling migration,” said Aguero.
The Marshall Plan was named after Secretary of State George Marshall, who was also a CFR member and guided the Truman administration’s interventionist foreign policy. It seems that the CFR-top heavy CSIS would warmly embrace such a plan for Central America. Ironically, experts suggest that despite, or because of U.S. aid, Mexico is on the verge of becoming a narco state, where drug gangs literally control all public policy at the point of a gun or the end of a bribe.