Did The U.S. Create Its Refugee Crisis? | William Thomas Online | William Thomas

Did The U.S. Create Its Refugee Crisis?


                                           Give me your tired, your poor, 

                                           Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, 
                                           The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, 
                                           Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
                                           I lift my lamp beside the golden door. 





By William Thomas



Are all these wailing children and distraught parents “coming home” to the country that displaced them? It’s wrenching in ways you will feel forever to uproot yourself from lifelong attachments to family, community and country to cross a border, request refuge, and attempt to settle in an unfamiliar land.


I know. I am one of them. And I had it easy, emigrating under political duress to a country that shares my language, history and skin colour. See, I’ve even learned to write “Canadian”.


But if you hail from the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras wrecked by decades of U.S.-sponsored coups and death coups – especially if you are a woman, young girl or small child – your long and hazardous journey overland to the U.S. border will be desperate, disorienting and very possibly brutal. Even with the best of unlikely outcomes.

“One person is being displaced every three seconds – less than the time it takes to read this sentence,” reports the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).


Even the exclusive ownership of the word “America” by a single American nation is a daily insult to the 180 million people of Central America and the 428 million people in South America.

But no one wants to talk about the post WWII-role of the United States in fomenting the conflicts responsible for producing most of the world’s refugees today.


Filippo Grandi, current United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, “has called on the world’s nations to help prevent and resolve the global refugee crisis,” writes Whitney Webb. “But he would also do well to point out the common cause uniting many of the world’s worst conflicts – the U.S. military-industrial complex’s insatiable lust for conquest, power and profit.


collect corpses in Mosul, Iraq on February 28, 2018. © Khalid Al Mousily : Reuters

Collecting corpses in ruins of Mosul, Iraq on February 28, 2018. -Khalid Al Mousily/Reuters

More than 65 million people were forced to leave their home countries in 2016, fleeing deadly conflict. More than half of these refugees were minors.

The top refugee-producing nations have been targets of U.S intervention. Today, the three nations producing the highest number of refugees are Syria (12 million), Afghanistan (4.7 million) and Iraq (4.2 million). That’s 20.9 million family members viciously uprooted over decades of “American” aggression that spawned al-Qaeda and ISIS – and uses them as terrorist proxies today. Many more children and adults have been maimed and traumatized for life – along with 20-30 million dead. Wherever you look across the USA, serious karma is coming due.


Syrian Refugees

Refugees from Damascus, Syria, Jan. 31, 2014 -United Nation Relief and Works Agency/Getty


“The best interests of the child is the cornerstone principle in international children’s human rights law and U.S. domestic child welfare law,” explains Human Rights First.


Various conventions and agreements require the international community to assure the basic rights of individuals when the governments of their home countries are not protecting their basic rights.

The UN high commission for refugees has called for Central American migrants to be treated as refugees displaced by armed conflict… “which implies that they shouldn’t be automatically sent to their home countries but rather, receive international protection,” the agency says.


The U.S. Code defines a refugee as any person outside of the U.S. who “has a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.


"Asylum seekers" are refugees either already in the USA, or seeking admission at a port of entry, such as the Mexican-U.S. border. It is not illegal to cross international borders to seek asylum.


Except in the Land of Liberty.



CIA Interference 

In South & Central Americas 

by Sakura Saunders

 Geopolitical Monitor

(U.S overthrows of elected governments in red.)


Guatemala 1954

Ecuador 1960-63

Brazil 1961-64

Peru mid-1960’s

Uruguay 1964-1970

Chile 1964-1973

Bolivia 1964-75

Argentina 1970’s

Nicaragua 1978-1990

Honduras 1980’s

El Salvador 1980-92

Panama 1989

Venezuela 2002 - 2018


Good Neighbors


2014 - 2016

Statistics and authorities agree that this country of immigrants is not experiencing an immigration crunch. Instead, the USA has for decades worked hard to create its own refugee crisis.Yet, the gulf between an “immigrant” taking time to prepare entry papers and a “refugee” fleeing violence in haste has escaped many purple-faced pundits.

The most recent mass migration of refugees into the United States began in the spring and summer of 2014, when tens of thousands of women and unaccompanied children – primarily from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala – risked the dangerous journey to the U.S. seeking asylum. Lawyers indelicately termed trying to hold so many deported families in unprepared ICE facilities, a “shitshow”.

President Obama and the Dept. of Homeland Security called the exodus, a “humanitarian crisis”. They quickly implemented an “aggressive deterrence strategy” featuring a blitz by billboards, radio and tv spots across Central America highlighting the dangers of fleeing overland. And the consequence of illegal immigration.


Washington also induced Mexico to endorse and enforce its Southern Border Program.


But ten of thousands of victims of gang and domestic violence remain unpersuaded that the risks of detention and deportation could be worse than facing gang rape, child trafficking, bloody beatings or bullets in their heads. Studies continue to find that widespread awareness among Hondurans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans that “migration to the United States is dangerous and unlikely to be successful, had no significant effect on their decision to migrate.”


Here’s why:

“World Murder Capital" San Pedro Sula - Business Insider 


San Pedro Sula has been recognized as the murder capital of the world ever since the U.S.-backed a right-wing coup and blocked Honduran re-elections in 2009.


Journalist Stephen Zune describes how American corporations and their paid politicians panicked after democratically-elected president Manuel Zelaya raised the minimum wage, provided free school lunches and milk for young children, pensions for the elderly, additional scholarships, built new schools, subsidized public transportation – and, even worse, sought to organize an assembly to replace an onerous 1982 constitution written by a former U.S.-backed military dictator.


Leader of the coup, Honduran General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, was a graduate of the notorious School of the Americas, an ongoing U.S. Army training program notoriously nicknamed “School of Assassins” for its many “graduates” who have engaged in the “extralegal” torture and murder of political opponents. And Washington-backed coups.


One school text is the CIA’s Study of Assassination. The 19-page political murder manual includes this advice: "The simplest local tools are often much the most efficient means of assassination. A hammer, axe, wrench, screw driver, fire poker, kitchen knife, lamp stand, or anything hard, heavy and handy will suffice." For assassins using "edge weapons… puncture wounds of the body cavity may not be reliable unless the heart is reached... Absolute reliability is obtained by severing the spinal cord in the cervical region.” Of course… "persons who are morally squeamish should not attempt it.” 

As head of the Honduran Air Force, School of the Americas graduate General Luis Javier Prince Suazo also played a key role in overthrowing President Zelaya.


Exposing Hillary Clinton's crimes against humanity in Latin America - Fort Russ

Exposing Hillary Clinton's Crimes Against Humanity In Latin America - Fort Russ

While helping the illegitimate junta consolidate its power “in the face of massive nonviolent protests,” Zune writes, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton later boasted in her memoir of working tirelessly to prevent Zelaya’s return to office – thereby  “placing the USA at odds with the Organization of American States, the Rio Group and the U.N. General Assembly, all of which called for the ‘immediate and unconditional return’ of Zelaya.”


Snubbing calls by the international community to condemn the coup, Clinton used a buddy lobbying for a business group supporting it to communicate with the illegitimate ruler installed by the military.


“In subsequent years, horrific repression and skyrocketing murder rates – now the highest in the world – resulted in tens of thousands of refugees fleeing for safety in the United States,” Zune relates. “Secretary of State, Clinton rejected granting political asylum and supported their deportation.” 

For most of its citizenry, Honduras today is not a nice place. “In this job you become hardened to seeing death, but to have to recover a child who has been cut to pieces and burned – that was just too much, says a morgue worker who recovers mutilated children’s bodies in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.


“The vast majority of the child migrants come from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala – all struggling with levels of violence tantamount to an undeclared regional war, writes Jo Tuckman. “Honduras has a murder rate of around 90 per 100,000 inhabitants.” 

In San Pedro Sula, it’s now 180 murders among every 100,000 persons. 

In the USA, the same murder metric by police and other assailants is under five. 

“Honduras today is under the rule of a regime that is the product of a coup, supported by the United States, against an elected government,” concludes Stephen Kinzer, former New York Times foreign correspondent and current reporter on world affairs for the Boston Globe. "This is something that’s happening right now.

Police Parade Notorious Criminal Gang


“Heavily armed street gangs such as the Mara Salvatrucha and Calle 18 impose a reign of terror on entire neighbourhoods across the region, which is also a key route for Mexican and Colombian cartels shipping narcotics north,” Tuckman continues.


“Drug-fuelled corruption, political instability, and – in the case of Honduras, a [U.S-backed] rightwing coup – have all contributed to institutional collapse. As their states fall apart around them, many Central Americans feel that justice and security can only be found elsewhere.”


Taxi driver Roberto Cerrato’s 11-year-old granddaughter is now in the care of her mother, both living illegally in the United States. “I cried for a month after she left, but it is the best thing,” Señor Cerrato says. “Honduras is not a place for children.”


For many people the choice is to flee or to die, says Carlos Paz, director of the San Pedro Sula office of the church organisation Cáritas.


It’s worth a resident’s life to know the invisible boundaries of rival gangs. In just one incident, eight children between the ages of 7 and 13 were kidnapped and killed in La Pardera barrio for refusing to join the dominant local gang.


Better to avoid their funerals. And to see, hear and say nothing, while paying “taxes” extorted from businesses and impoverished family homes by rival gangs.


Salvadoran national police detain two men during an anti-gang raid in San Salvador. -Esteban Felix:AP

Salvadoran national police detain two men during anti-gang raid in San Salvador. -Esteban Felix/AP 


“El Salvador is a small, Central American country bordered by Honduras, Guatemala and the Pacific Ocean,” describes Maureen Kane. In 1980, El Salvador's American-trained death squads “targeted anyone they suspected of supporting social and economic reform. Often the victims were unionists, clergy, independent farmers and university officials.” 


martyrdom of Maura Clarke M.M., Jean Donovan, Ita Ford M.M., and Dorothy Kazel O.S.U. assassinated in El Salvador

                       Maura Clarke M.M., Jean Donovan, Ita Ford M.M., and Dorothy Kazel O.S.U.

                               assassinated by U.S.-backed death squads in El Salvador, 1980

Their “targets" infamously included:


      Bishop Oscar Romero (shot to death while saying Mass)

      Four US church workers (raped and murdered)

      Six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter (shot to death)


The masked and militarized police death squads eliminated entire villages, Kane details, killing more than 1,000 people in the village of El Mozote alone. 


“El Salvador exhausted its resources fighting itself,” Kane remarks, and would have been forced to its repression if not for continuous military and financial aid from the USA. In the end, as many as 75,000 people were murdered.


“For over 30 years, members of the U.S. military and the CIA helped organize, train, and fund death squad activity in El Salvador,” corroborates Patience Johns. No wonder Human Rights First reports: “El Salvador now ranks as the homicide capital of the world, with half of murders committed against children. Guatemala has the second highest child murder rate.


And the mayhem is worsening in this desperately poor country. Since 2015, UN-listed homicide rates in El Salvador have more than doubled. El Salvador’s national murder rate now exceeds 103 homicides per 100,000 people – a level of violence last seen in this country’s U.S.-supported civil war.


“They took their turns, they tied me by the hands. They stuffed my mouth so I would not scream. Then “they threw me in the trash,testified Norma, a 17-year-old Salvadorean gang-raped by the notorious M18 gang because she married a police officer.

International team of forensic anthropologists uncovers remains of men "disappeared" by a death squad in Guatemala 10 years ago

           This member of an international team of forensic anthropologists uncovers remains of men 

               "disappeared” by a US-backed death squad in Guatemala 10 years ago.


In 1954, responding to pressure from the United Fruit Company, whose lands had been returned to the people, a coup was arranged while the U.S. Navy blockaded the Guatemala coast and American planes fired machine guns over Guatemala City.


The CIA’s assassination guide was found among the training files for its covert "Operation PBSUCCESS”. Authorized by Ike – the president who later warned us about military-industrial collusion – PBSUCCESS called for "subversion" of Guatemala’s elected government.


The CIA’s "A" list of those to be assassinated contained 58 names. Its operation also called for a "roll-up of Communists" (social-democratic reformers) and “collaborators" (citizens backing the government they elected). The CIA’s hand-picked replacement,  dictator Castillo Armas, initially rounded up and executed hundreds of Guatemalan citizens. “Successive military regimes murdered more than 100,000 civilians.


With the democratically-elected Jacobo Arbenz handily deposed, the CIA backed a succession of murderous “strong men”. Among them, dictator Efrain Rios Montt, later convicted of genocide by a Guatemalan court.


“PSUCCESS squelched any chance for a stable Guatemalan government, concludes the Association For Diplomatic Studies and Training. People began fleeing the country. And the next five regimes were increasingly “unstable and repressive”.


This “CIA action became the mold for CIA intervention in Latin America: bribery of military officers and a propaganda campaign against the leftist government that included the resurrection of oppositional radio stations, the mass distribution of anti-government leaflets, and the anonymous submission of articles to newspapers painting the Arbenz government as communist,” writes Geopolitical Monitor’s Sakura Saunders in her report, “CIA In South America”.

“Such interference is the pattern of U.S. foreign policy. Profits of investors are preeminent and any person or movement seeking to take control of resources for the popular good is branded an enemy and treated as such,” adds Andy Piascik in his “U.S. History of Overthrowing Elected Leaders”.

As Democracy Now!’s Laura Gottesdiener points out, “During the 1980s, at the height of the armed conflict, when the US was training and funding what is now well understood to be a genocide, the United States denied 98% of all Guatemalan asylum cases.


For people in my neighbourhood, it's normal to see a body or a corpse murdered in the street," says Darwin, 15, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras

                    For people in his Honduran neighbourhood, says Darwin, 15, "it's normal to see 

                           a body or a corpse murdered in the street.” 



When the new normal becomes bodies rotting outside your door, it’s time to leave. In 2014, more than 14,000 children travelled with their families from the Northern Triangle region – which has the world’s highest murder rates – to the United States.


Between October 2013 and mid-June 2014, more than 52,000 unaccompanied children reached the southern border.


Almost half of these desperately frightened children were girls.


Other Salvadoran, Guatemalan, and Honduran children and families continue to seek refuge in Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Belize – countries which saw requests for asylum from their neighbours increase by almost 1,200% from 2008 to 2014.

woman shot dead by two gunmen on a motorcycle in San Pedro Sula

Woman shot dead by two gunmen on a motorcycle in San Pedro Sula, March 20, 2013. -Jorge Cabrera/Reuters


Meanwhile, thousands of women continued to flee their homes in Central America and Mexico to escape armed gangs and domestic violence. With authorities often unable to curb the violence and provide redress, many vulnerable women are left with no choice but to run for their lives,” says Antonio Guterres, head of the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.


“If this was happening in any other part of the world, the United States would be telling the receiving countries they have an obligation to protect the arriving migrants, points out Michelle Brané (brah-neh), director of immigration policy at the Women’s Refugee Commission.


Gang-related extortion of Central American homes and business is widespread, reports the Washington Office of Latin America – an advocacy organization for human rights in the Americas. WOLA notes that “poor neighborhoods are the most heavily hit. Between January and July of 2014, at least 700 Salvadorans, Hondurans and Guatemalans were killed for failing to pay extortion fees.” 

Individuals forfeit their lives for witnessing a crime, attempting to leave a gang, or failing to pay a gang's extortion “tax”. Across the Northern Triangle, only 5% of homicide cases lead to a conviction. 

Wouldn’t you try to escape into the loving arms of Lady Liberty?                   



      Immigrants from Honduras and El Salvador who illegally crossed the US-Mexico border are stopped in Texas.  

      -Eric Gay/AP



Despite Obama’s “Aggressive Deterrence Strategy”… “After 18 months of concerted efforts by the United States and Mexican governments to dissuade Central Americans from making the trip,” write Inkpen, Igielnik and Krogstad. “Most considering such a journey are well aware of the dangers and low chances of success. Yet, between October 2015 and January 2016, CBP apprehensions of families and unaccompanied children in the southwest border increased more than 100% over the previous year.”


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has concluded that “Salvadoran and Honduran children… come from extremely violent regions where they probably perceive the risk of traveling alone to the United States preferable to remaining at home.


Even the dangers of heading north are preferable to daily exposure to crime and violence at home. “The unprecedented levels of crime and violence that have overwhelmed the Northern Triangle countries in recent years [make] no amount of danger or chance of deportation sufficient to dissuade those victims from leaving.

Sign by independent candidate for Congress named Rick Tyler posted in Tennessee,

Campaign sign posted in Tennessee by independent candidate for Congress, Rick Tyler. (not photoshopped)


“They are saying either you take your kid back and live in danger and don’t try to save your kid’s life by claiming your right to asylum, or insist on applying for asylum where we are going to separate you from your child and endanger your child, Brané elaborates.

West Texas public defender, Maureen Franco, worries this policy could encourage parents to plead guilty to improper entry just to get their children back. “This has some constitutional ramifications. How voluntary could a plea be if someone feels they have to plead guilty to be reunited with their children?” she asks.


    More than 66,000 children travelled with their families or alone from the Northern Triangle region to the United 

    States in 2014. -Eric Gay/AP 


The UNHCR concluded in a March 2014 report that a large majority of the Central American children they interviewed may qualify for international protection.


Nearly two-thirds of surveyed migrant women said threats and attacks by armed criminal gangs, including rape, killings, forced recruitment of their children and extortion payments, were why they left their home countries.


"We had kids tell us really awful, awful traumatizing stories,” said Michelle Brané. “One girl told us of opening her door and finding a chopped-up body in a plastic bag as a warning from a gang."


“The increasing reach of criminal armed groups, often amounting to de facto control over territory and people, has surpassed the capacity of governments in the region to respond,” said the UNHCR report. “Unable to secure state protection, many women cited domestic violence as a reason for flight, fearing severe harm or death if they stayed.”


“Violence at the hands of abusive husbands and partners, including rape and beatings with baseball bats, was another key reason why women were fleeing their homes,” the Guardian found. “More than three-quarters of the women interviewed said they knew the journey overland to the United States was dangerous, but it was a risk worth taking. Some took birth control pills before starting their journey to avoid getting pregnant as a result of rape by human traffickers or gangs.”


“Coming here was like having hope that you will come out alive,” said Sara, who fled Honduras and sought asylum in the United States.


anti-immigration display at the Arizona state capital in Phoenix, 2014. -Jerry Burch:Demotix:Corbis

Fat, white and fearful: Phoenix resident, 2014. -Jerry Burch/Demotix/Corbis 


Riskily reporting for the Guardian from San Pedro Sula, Jo Tuckman relates how:


Karla arrived at the Texas border with her two very young children, her mother, and three siblings under the age of 15. It had taken the family a month to make the 1,500-mile journey from their home in northern Honduras, travelling by bus through Guatemala and Mexico. They had sold everything they owned to pay a network of people smugglers who bribed the way clear through checkpoints along the route.


The main motive for the journey was fear: Karla wanted to get beyond the reach of her father and his contacts in the street gangs that have turned Honduras into the country with the highest murder rate in the world.


Karla says her father was seeking revenge after he was convicted of raping her as a child and sent to prison. He had already hired a gunman to kill her older brother who fled illegally to the USA.


Yearning to breathe free, tempest tost Karla’s joy at finally reaching America’s golden door of sanctuary turned to despair when she and her family were whisked straight back to Mexico to be sent home.


“We are back where we started and I don’t know what to do,” said this wretched, homeless mother of two. “We haven’t got a dollar between us.”

Supporting the Colombia death squds, Clinton’s goons instilled fear and brought horror


“People facing threats from street gangs, extortionists, drug traffickers and domestic abusers may be potential targets if returned,” WOLA reports. “Many victims fear the police as much as the criminals.”


With forced migration driven by violence and insecurity, “deportations are inhumane and put returnees at risk, concur Dan Restrepo and Ann Garcia at the American Progress institute.


“The ones who are the most vulnerable are the ones who are returned to the situations they are running from, agrees Sister Lidia Mara Silva de Souza. Her Scalabrini order has worked with deportees from the USA for decades.

More than 80 returnees have been murdered in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in just two years.

Just 40 a year, did someone say? How many confiscated children or murdered family members would be “too many" in your house?

"If you don't speak English and don't contribute, get out" at Trump rally. -YouTube

 She is shouting, "If you don't speak English and don't contribute, get out.”  -YouTube 




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 发件人     William Thomas 2019