Refugees from Central America

To the editor:

I am very concerned about the misleading rhetoric coming from the administration and the media about the caravan of immigrants headed to the United States from Central America. Is the president exploiting the caravan to distract voters from other issues such as health care, jobs and the climate crisis? The obvious answer is yes.

Few Americans are aware of the role that the United States played and continues to play in creating conditions that force people to migrate. For example, in 2009 the U.S. backed a coup in Honduras that overthrew a democratically elected president who tried to implement modest land reform and raise the minimum wage. The coup opened the country to organized crime and drug cartels with ties to the highest levels of the Honduran government. The November 2017 election continued this pattern of corruption and fraud, yet the U.S. threw its support behind the current president who violates the Honduran constitution and has proceeded to militarize Honduran society. Under these conditions, is it any wonder that people are leaving?

Despite what Mr. Trump may say, we are not about to be invaded by an armed and dangerous force. These migrants are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, children fleeing unspeakable violence and tremendous economic and social instability. They travel together because there is safety in numbers, and they are looking for safety and peace. They deserve our empathy and recognition of their right to have asylum claims heard — not the response proposed by the current administration. The fact that our government is preparing to meet them with 15,000 of the world’s most advanced military troops, rather than welcoming them with warmth and sustenance, is appalling. Remember that we have been tasked with welcoming the alien, because we, too, were once aliens in a strange land. We will be shown mercy as we ourselves show mercy.

Patricia Beneshan

Lake Placid