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Outrage on Refugees and Silence on Sanctions


I have seen immigration-control advocates exclaim against illegal immigration my entire life. They say that U.S. officials just need to “crack down” in the war on illegal immigration in order to bring an end to America’s decades-long, never-ending, ongoing, perpetual immigration crisis and immigration chaos along the border. They just don’t get it, and I doubt they ever will. They just cannot see that it’s their immigration-control system itself that is the cause of the crisis and the chaos that they lament.

Oh, well. Over the decades, I have come to accept the periodic paroxysms of anger, outrage, anxiety, and depression among immigration-control advocates over the consequences of their very own program. Their over-heated reaction to illegal immigration has become a regular part of American life. 

But what I do not understand is why immigration-control advocates choose to remain silent, at best, and supportive, at worst, about economic sanctions that the U.S. government imposes on the people of foreign countries from whom people are escaping and coming to the United States.

Consider Venezuela, for example. Many of the people entering the United States at the U.S.-Mexico border who are seeking refugee status are from Venezuela. In fact, recall Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s abusive antics in using Florida taxpayer money to transport refugees in Texas to Massachusetts, an act that has brought a criminal investigation and a civil lawsuit against him. Most of those immigrants were from Venezuela. 

Outrage on Refugees and Silence on SanctionsThe big reason Venezuelan immigrants have left their country is to survive. Faced with death by starvation if they stay versus the possibility of survival by coming to the United States, it makes sense that many of them would choose the second option. I think most people would do the same thing given that choice.

Part of the reason for Venezuela’s dismal economic condition is the socialist system that the Venezuelan regime has adopted. Socialism does that. 

But there is another reason for Venezuela’s dismal economic condition: the economic sanctions that the U.S. government has imposed on the country, in the hopes of achieving regime change there. This was confirmed by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk, who stated, “While the roots of Venezuela’s economic crisis predate the imposition of economic sanctions … it is clear that the sectorial sanctions imposed since August 2017 have exacerbated the economic crisis and hindered human rights.”

Thus, given that U.S. sanctions are a major cause of horrific economic conditions in Venezuela, which is the major cause of the big flow of Venezuelan immigrants coming to the United States, wouldn’t you think that immigration-control advocates would be protesting the U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and calling for them to be lifted?

Yet, all we get is silence from immigration-control advocates or, even worse, support for the sanctions. What’s up with that?

After all, everyone knows what is going to happen to Venezuelan refugees who are forcibly deported to Venezuela. They are probably going to die. Of course, that doesn’t mean anything to U.S. officials because that’s their goal with their sanctions. They figure that if they can kill a sufficiently large number of Venezuelan people with their sanctions, Venezuela’s president Nicolás Maduro will experience a crisis of conscience and abdicate in favor of a U.S.-appointed unelected dictator named Juan Guaidó.

But what’s fascinating is that that mindset of callous indifference to the deaths of innocent people that characterizes U.S. officials has also been inculcated in many immigration-control advocates. This is especially true for DeSantis, who has made it clear that he wants President Biden to continue enforcing U.S. sanctions against Venezuela, even while he declaims against the Venezuelan refugees coming to America.

The best explanation I can come up with for this horrific silence or support for this malignant program is that it is the result of the mindset of deference to authority that has been inculcated in many Americans. That mindset of deference to authority has clearly stultified the consciences of immigration-control advocates. It’s just one more horrific consequence of our national-security state way of life.

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Jacob G. Hornberger
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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