Latin America is Collapsing and Taking America With It
They’re dragging us down even as we try to rescue them.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism
Long before the current scenes of thousands of migrants showing up in New Mexico or Arizona, the northward migration was fueled by a combination of Latin American instability and American greed for cheap labor going back over a century to the Mexican Revolution.
Venezuela’s spectacular collapse may be dominating the news cycle now, but a Latin American country usually implodes in a spectacular fashion every few years. Even now, there is political chaos in Nicaragua, with major protests demanding the ouster of Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega, and brewing scandals in Argentina, Brazil and Peru that could expand and tear any or all of the three countries apart.
Political instability, sharp swings from the far left to the far right, from Marxist terrorists to military warlords, are not a temporary aberration that can be fixed with our foreign aid or military intervention. They’re an enduring feature of political life that are as much a part of Latin America as the Declaration, the Constitution and the Founding Fathers are a part of the United States of America.
Political and civic institutions in Latin America are sources of instability. What little stability there is comes from the legal economy of oligarchs and the shadow economy of organized crime. The oligarchs work national economies and provide opportunities for educated professionals and trained workers. The crime lords, cartels and gangs offer security and economic opportunity for those nearer to the bottom.
America is not going to Americanize the countries south of the border. Instead America is being remade along a more Latin American model with radical politics, gang violence and a loss of civic confidence.
Latin American revolutions delivering cheap labor to America is not a new phenomenon. The real life Joads of Grapes of Wrath wouldn’t have been able to find agricultural work because the jobs were filled by Mexicans. The Cristero War’s Mexican migrants had been protected from the Immigration Act’s quotas because then, as now, agribusiness insisted that they couldn’t run farms without them.
Even in the Dust Bowl era, the same old interests insisted that there were jobs Americans wouldn’t do.
A century later the same Mexican workers that helped build California agriculture, decimated it by voting in Democrats whose environmental policies starved farms of water and strangled them with countless regulations. The workers have moved on to water-hungry cities where they don’t pick fruit, they provide services to a wealthy population of professionals, and then pass the bill to social services.
American taxpayers are being taxed to death so that blue state urban professionals can have cheap nannies, housekeepers and gardeners working off the books and making their lifestyles possible. The hospital visits, prison terms and welfare of that shadow population is financed by onerous taxes.
Despite the partisan tilt of migration, it took a revolution in the GOP to try and do something about it.
The wall is an important symbol not only of American sovereignty, but of the recognition that we are not going to fix the rest of the continent. When President Trump pulled foreign aid from migrant countries, he was not only sending them a message, but tossing out the swamp talking point that the best way to stop migration wasn’t a wall, but nation building in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
No amount of foreign aid is going to change the reality on the ground in the homeland of MS-13.
The impact of southern migration on America isn’t just about the charged demographic debates or the shift of red states to blue states. Demographic change is not going to eliminate Republicans. There are plenty of right-wing parties south of the border. The nature of what being on the right means will change in a majority-minority country. The end result won’t be conservative: it will be fascist.
Mass migration won’t end the GOP or the right. It will however eliminate American conservatism.
Leftists accuse Republicans of being fascists for opposing open borders. But open borders are the surest formula for fascism. Conservatism with its constitutional foundation of individual rights, limited government, and separation of powers will become a historical footnote. Instead, America will ricochet between socialists and national socialists, the way that some of our southern neighbors already do.
The crisis is already upon us.
A Democrat movement untethered from the middle class has come to be defined by the Obama alliance of radical white lefties and minority voters. With no further reason to be moderate, it is rapidly embracing any political extreme that is put forward, from packing the Supreme Court to letting the Boston Bomber vote to slavery reparations. Political stability requires respect for civic institutions and a secure middle class. America used to have those. Latin America never did. Now we’re losing them too.
The media has made much of the alt-right. While it describes this as a white nationalist problem, many prominent members of the alt-right are second generation Latin American immigrants. Nazism was never popular in America. Fascism and Nazism have more significant followings south of the border. The rise of the alt-right is not a reaction to a more diverse country. It is a product of that very diversity.
Gun violence is another major lefty talking point. But most of the gun violence in this country is gang-related. The problem isn’t the guns. It’s that gangs are flooding into this country and fighting over territory. We don’t have a Second Amendment problem. We have a border security crisis.
The pro-crime movement disempowers police so that ordinary people turn to criminal organizations for protection, replicating the existing model in many of the countries the migrants are coming from. As political radicals destroy civic institutions in their battle for power, gang leaders emerge as rivals to elected officials. That’s already the case in Chicago. It will become the norm in cities across the country.
Most of the vices controlled by organized crime, from gambling to drugs to prostitution to illegal migration, have already been legalized or are on the way to being legalized. This will not, contrary to some optimistic libertarian predictions, result in the destruction of organized crime. Instead, organized crime will thrive in the social chaos of the broken families, shattered communities and lost values.
The Prohibition analogy was wrong. Legalizing crimes doesn’t get rid of organized crime. Men with guns and no morals can always find ways to make money. Especially in a society losing its own morals.
Policies don’t stop crime. Social cohesion does. As a society breaks down, it tries to fight the most obvious symptoms of social breakdown with violence, before embracing the breakdown until there is no longer a distinction between law and criminality, between cops and gangs, and politicians and bosses.
Mass migration breaks down social cohesion. Immigration transformed major cities a hundred years ago, and then took a breather, allowing them to develop their own culture and identity. The organized crime that they brought with them faded as the next generation assimilated and became Americans.
That’s where the New York City, Boston or Philly we know came from. But there are no more geographic restrictions and no breathers. Not when hordes of Somalis are crossing the border on the way to Maine.
America can absorb new immigrants. But it needs time, space and control over the process. And, most of all, it needs to have a culture to absorb them into. Constant mass migration deprives us of the time, space and control. And the Left has deprived us of a culture, leaving nothing but vapidity and guilt.
The collapse of social cohesion wrecks the middle class leading to political radicalism and gang power. Political instability and social instability form a violent cycle which drive each other. The migrants heading north carry their radical politics with them. And the organized criminals who accompany them set up shop and quickly transform political instability into social instability.
That is what is tearing apart America.
Mexico began the great tradition of dumping its social problems in America over a century ago. These days it’s become an extremely profitable endeavor with billions in remittances pouring back in. Latin American countries export unskilled labor and gang members, and get back billions of dollars.
It’s a great deal for them. And a terrible deal for us.
Honduras and El Salvador don’t care if Trump cuts off its foreign aid. Not when remittances make up a fifth of their GDPs. The more of their citizens they get across the border and onto our social services, the more money their countries have. It’s not just the migrants who are exploiting the United States to avoid the social collapse of their countries. Latin American countries are exploiting America wholesale.
And, like a drowning swimmer, they are dragging us down with them even while we try to rescue them.
Latin America is collapsing. But, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, it’s always collapsing. Its people have learned to live like that. If we don’t secure our borders, we’ll have to learn to live that way too.