I am afraid that many political leaders today don’t understand the desperate situation the citizens of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador find themselves in. From all reliable sources, these countries are becoming unlivable. And as long as the wage differential is 10 to 1, people will head north.
The “push” of crime and violence and the “pull” of better wages is irresistible for many.
I have suggested for many years that we should create a Marshall Plan-like program for Central America. The Marshall Plan was created after World War II in order to help Western Europe recover after the war. The U.S. contributed $13 billion (over $100 billion in today’s dollars) to help our allies. This generosity was paired with our self-interest as we fought communism.
A similar plan for our southern neighbors would help them in improving infrastructure and other needed programs. The amount needed for the wall is about $25 billion by some estimates. Imagine how many schools, hospitals, bridges and water and sewage treatment plants could be built with this amount of money. There seems to be a choice here. Build a wall to separate us from our neighbors or help them toward a better life and lessen their need to go north. The latter choice is in our best interest.
Twenty-two-foot walls only help sell twenty-four-foot ladders. The challenge before us is to convince our political leaders that our nation’s best interest is to help our neighbors, not reject them.