Is Donald Trump Responsible for the Caravans?

Why are caravans of migrants from Central America slowly making their way north to the U.S. border?  Certainly not an exodus from the horrors of war, famine, or a devastating natural disaster.  Yes, poverty and corruption are ubiquitous there, but opening our southern border would not address a humanitarian crisis in these countries, though it would certainly improve the lives of those making it across the Rio Grande.  Nor are these marchers fleeing religious or ethnic cleansing, while a dangerous thousand-mile journey on foot is hardly the most efficacious escape from local crime. 

Overwhelmingly, these migrants are just job-seekers, pure and simple, and surprise of surprises, President Trump is responsible for this caravan, thanks to his job-creating economic policies.  After all, nobody marches for weeks on end to enter a depressed economy.  Moreover, caravan members undoubtedly know about the booming U.S. economy  thanks to employed friends and relatives already here and the recent upsurge in remittances flowing home (nearly 29% of the Guatemalan GNP, for example).  Rest assured: had Hillary won in 2016, the convoy would likely be heading south from the U.S.      

Yogi Berra once said you can see a lot by looking around, and this is especially true here.  One need only watch TV reports and look at newspaper photographs to see what this is about.

Most obvious, these marchers appear to be in good physical shape, a key trait, given the type of work they will probably find.  These are not pitiful starving children with extended bellies living in squalid refugee camps while emaciated mothers desperately mob U.N. trucks handing out free flour and rice, as one might find in modern Somalia.  No need for emergency medical teams to rescue thousands from life-threatening plagues.

To appreciate the overall fitness of these migrants, just ask how many Americans are in decent enough physical shape, let alone motivated to even think of walking a thousand-plus miles for a minimum-wage job.  I'd guess that if a typical unemployed American attempted to travel on foot from, say, Seattle, Washington to San Diego, California (1,065 miles), a comparable distance for those leaving Honduras to the Mexican border town of Reynosa across from McAllen, Texas, he would quickly drop out despite the interstate highway surfaces, conveniently available rest stops, motels, public restrooms, and ample restaurants.

Talk of "an invasion" aside, completing this exodus will undoubtedly impress potential U.S. employers and encourage them to risk employing an undocumented dishwasher despite ICE and possible fines.  To be blunt, given a choice between hiring a jobless American accustomed to the good life with ample government welfare benefits versus a Guatemalan who has just journeyed 1,100 miles for a hotel maid job, preferring the Guatemalan is a no-brainer.  And these migrants know that employment will be especially plentiful in the multi-billion-dollar underground economy, where illegals work off the books in food service, construction, the hospitality industry, childcare, and similar under-the-radar small business jobs

As a bonus, these happy-to-find-work migrants are unlikely to demand expensive health insurance, sue for discrimination, or file complaints over workplace conditions with OSHA.  Nor do employers have to worry about discrimination-proofing the workplace with mandatory "sensitivity training."  No need to ask job applicants about their history of overcoming obstacles, assess their motivation, or request letters of recommendation.  Easy to imagine a job interview with an immigrant saying, "I wore out three pairs of flip-flops to get to this job interview for delivering pizzas.  Any questions?"

To repeat, the caravan is fundamentally about economics – a fresh supply of motivated low-wage workers whose liabilities – the cost of educating their children, government-paid health care, and occasional gang violence – will be outsourced to the American taxpayer, not the employer.  Talk of "asylum," "humanitarian crisis," and similar high-sounding justifying verbiage is deceitful.  This is "mobs for jobs," so to speak.

President Trump knows full well that a booming economy is a magnet for non-U.S. job-seekers and record-low unemployment, particularly among black Americans (an enormous accomplishment), cannot survive these caravans.  The dynamics are inescapably hydraulic: as unemployment is pushed down to historic lows, up goes the incentives for foreign workers to seek American jobs.  Basic supply and demand.

Ironically, the left that has traditionally opposed the flood of cheap foreign labor for the obvious reason that this influx hurts economically struggling Americans.  But today's left, at least the Democratic Party version, embraces the reverse, perhaps believing that the American workers' best interests lie in sacrificing their jobs to help (eventually) elect more Democrats.

We've come a long way from 1969, when the civil rights icon Reverend Ralph Abernathy; the liberal senator Walter Mondale; and Cesar Chávez, the much admired defender of immigrant Mexican laborers, marched to the Mexican border to protest farmers' use of illegal aliens as strikebreakers.  In fact, during the '70s, Chávez, whom the N.Y. Times called "the Martin Luther King of Chicanos," was at the forefront of the campaign to seal the southern border to boost wages of poorly paid Mexican "stoop labor" in California.  Cesar even sent his cousin, ex-con Manuel Chávez, and others to brutally beat those attempting to cross the border, a tactic absolutely forbidden to the government's Border Patrol.  Today, that delegation of eminent liberals would be joined by President Trump, who would stand shoulder to shoulder with Manuel Chávez and cousin Cesar.

Perhaps the key takeaway of this caravan crisis is that sustaining low unemployment without inviting hordes of illegals is a quandary of the first order.  Unfortunately, squaring this circle may be impossible.

Why are caravans of migrants from Central America slowly making their way north to the U.S. border?  Certainly not an exodus from the horrors of war, famine, or a devastating natural disaster.  Yes, poverty and corruption are ubiquitous there, but opening our southern border would not address a humanitarian crisis in these countries, though it would certainly improve the lives of those making it across the Rio Grande.  Nor are these marchers fleeing religious or ethnic cleansing, while a dangerous thousand-mile journey on foot is hardly the most efficacious escape from local crime. 

Overwhelmingly, these migrants are just job-seekers, pure and simple, and surprise of surprises, President Trump is responsible for this caravan, thanks to his job-creating economic policies.  After all, nobody marches for weeks on end to enter a depressed economy.  Moreover, caravan members undoubtedly know about the booming U.S. economy  thanks to employed friends and relatives already here and the recent upsurge in remittances flowing home (nearly 29% of the Guatemalan GNP, for example).  Rest assured: had Hillary won in 2016, the convoy would likely be heading south from the U.S.      

Yogi Berra once said you can see a lot by looking around, and this is especially true here.  One need only watch TV reports and look at newspaper photographs to see what this is about.

Most obvious, these marchers appear to be in good physical shape, a key trait, given the type of work they will probably find.  These are not pitiful starving children with extended bellies living in squalid refugee camps while emaciated mothers desperately mob U.N. trucks handing out free flour and rice, as one might find in modern Somalia.  No need for emergency medical teams to rescue thousands from life-threatening plagues.

To appreciate the overall fitness of these migrants, just ask how many Americans are in decent enough physical shape, let alone motivated to even think of walking a thousand-plus miles for a minimum-wage job.  I'd guess that if a typical unemployed American attempted to travel on foot from, say, Seattle, Washington to San Diego, California (1,065 miles), a comparable distance for those leaving Honduras to the Mexican border town of Reynosa across from McAllen, Texas, he would quickly drop out despite the interstate highway surfaces, conveniently available rest stops, motels, public restrooms, and ample restaurants.

Talk of "an invasion" aside, completing this exodus will undoubtedly impress potential U.S. employers and encourage them to risk employing an undocumented dishwasher despite ICE and possible fines.  To be blunt, given a choice between hiring a jobless American accustomed to the good life with ample government welfare benefits versus a Guatemalan who has just journeyed 1,100 miles for a hotel maid job, preferring the Guatemalan is a no-brainer.  And these migrants know that employment will be especially plentiful in the multi-billion-dollar underground economy, where illegals work off the books in food service, construction, the hospitality industry, childcare, and similar under-the-radar small business jobs

As a bonus, these happy-to-find-work migrants are unlikely to demand expensive health insurance, sue for discrimination, or file complaints over workplace conditions with OSHA.  Nor do employers have to worry about discrimination-proofing the workplace with mandatory "sensitivity training."  No need to ask job applicants about their history of overcoming obstacles, assess their motivation, or request letters of recommendation.  Easy to imagine a job interview with an immigrant saying, "I wore out three pairs of flip-flops to get to this job interview for delivering pizzas.  Any questions?"

To repeat, the caravan is fundamentally about economics – a fresh supply of motivated low-wage workers whose liabilities – the cost of educating their children, government-paid health care, and occasional gang violence – will be outsourced to the American taxpayer, not the employer.  Talk of "asylum," "humanitarian crisis," and similar high-sounding justifying verbiage is deceitful.  This is "mobs for jobs," so to speak.

President Trump knows full well that a booming economy is a magnet for non-U.S. job-seekers and record-low unemployment, particularly among black Americans (an enormous accomplishment), cannot survive these caravans.  The dynamics are inescapably hydraulic: as unemployment is pushed down to historic lows, up goes the incentives for foreign workers to seek American jobs.  Basic supply and demand.

Ironically, the left that has traditionally opposed the flood of cheap foreign labor for the obvious reason that this influx hurts economically struggling Americans.  But today's left, at least the Democratic Party version, embraces the reverse, perhaps believing that the American workers' best interests lie in sacrificing their jobs to help (eventually) elect more Democrats.

We've come a long way from 1969, when the civil rights icon Reverend Ralph Abernathy; the liberal senator Walter Mondale; and Cesar Chávez, the much admired defender of immigrant Mexican laborers, marched to the Mexican border to protest farmers' use of illegal aliens as strikebreakers.  In fact, during the '70s, Chávez, whom the N.Y. Times called "the Martin Luther King of Chicanos," was at the forefront of the campaign to seal the southern border to boost wages of poorly paid Mexican "stoop labor" in California.  Cesar even sent his cousin, ex-con Manuel Chávez, and others to brutally beat those attempting to cross the border, a tactic absolutely forbidden to the government's Border Patrol.  Today, that delegation of eminent liberals would be joined by President Trump, who would stand shoulder to shoulder with Manuel Chávez and cousin Cesar.

Perhaps the key takeaway of this caravan crisis is that sustaining low unemployment without inviting hordes of illegals is a quandary of the first order.  Unfortunately, squaring this circle may be impossible.