America has been wringing its hands over how to approach immigration for years.
Throughout history, US immigration laws have reflected an evolving set of values and priorities. Whether it was admitting immigrants based on race (yes, this was a thing until the ‘50s) or developing a more comprehensive refugee policy in the wake of international crises (think: the Vietnam War). This timeline breaks down the major moments.
It’s a combo of things related to security, the economy, and the country’s moral obligations. There are competing strains of thought. On one side, it’s that immigrants make significant contributions to society – by filling jobs, creating culturally diverse communities, and boosting America’s competitiveness and standing on the world stage. On the other side, it’s that immigration can’t be a free-for-all. The US likes law and order (the OG version, not SVU).
We’ll save that debate for another time. Anyway, in recent months, there’s been a surge of people coming to the US through Mexico, leading to a further backlog of asylum requests that could take years to be heard in court. Reports have come out about overcrowding and unsanitary conditions in detention centers. Meanwhile, the Trump admin is determined to discourage migrants from coming to the US, arguing that their asylum cases aren’t legitimate.
A few things. First, many migrants are fleeing high levels of poverty and violence in an area called the Northern Triangle: Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. These are three of the most dangerous countries in the world, in part due to gang violence. In 2015, El Salvador had the highest homicide rate in the world for a country not at war. The countries are also dealing with things like government corruption and struggling economies.
Correct again. In recent months, those numbers spiked – to the highest levels seen in more than a decade. We get into why that is, plus some key flashpoints in the immigration debate, in theSkimm app. Every week, the app goes deep on a different news topic to give you the context you need to understand what's going in the world. Download the app now, and you get the first week free.
Sign up for the Daily Skimm email newsletter.
Delivered to your inbox every morning and prepares you for your day in minutes.
Midterms. Are. Coming. theSkimm breaks down the biggest issues of 2018. Get informed and get to the polls #noexcuses
You may have been been hearing about a migrant caravan coming from Central America. We have theSkimm on what's going on with migrants at the border here.
The EU is dealing with the worst refugee crisis since WWII. We broke down the crisis and how we reached this large number of refugees in Europe.