What Happens to a Country When All its Young People Leave?

We naturally look at the impact of illegal immigration as it affects us.  This is understandable and appropriate, but there is another reason to want an end to this invasion of people from Central America.

What happens to a country when its young adults all leave?  What kind of future does a country have?

A significant portion of the illegal immigration tsunami headed to the U.S. is from the Central American countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. In our sound-bite culture, politicians routinely toss off comments about how we should "invest in these countries" to get people to stay there.  Sounds simple -- stick here, carrot there.

But it's not so simple.  All three of these countries are rife with endemic corruption and crime that is so rampant, it dwarfs the government itself.  A perusal of the State Department website, the CIA website, and Infoplease quickly paint a picture of these troubled republics.

Guatemala has among the highest murder rates in the world at 52/100,000 compared to an average of 28/100,000 for the U.S. and official corruption combined with powerful gangs and soul-crushing poverty fill much of their 14.4 million people with despair.  The country is a major transit area for cocaine and heroin with an estimated 1000 metric tons of cocaine per year passing through and 46,000 are living with HIV/AIDS. The CIA website lists Guatemala’s problems as:

  •     weak governance
  •     endemic poverty
  •     food insecurity
  •     severe violence
  •     citizen insecurity
  •     inequitable access to economic opportunities and social services

Would you stay there?

El Salvador, home of MS-13, is the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America, with a population of 6.4 million.  They lead the region in per capita inflow of remittances from the U.S.  Their murder rate is 71/100,000.  The same list of “problems” shown above apply here as well.

So, what about Honduras? The State Department estimates that Honduras has about 1 million citizens living in the U.S., of which 600,000 are illegals.  Considering their native population is about 9 million, that's a lot.  In 2015, their murder rate was 67/100,000.  The State Department website diplomatically refers to "ineffective law enforcement" as an issue contributing to the crime rate.  If you add to this 22,000 people with HIV-AIDS and the fact that 57% of the population lives in urban areas, you begin to get a picture of the issues at hand.

I'll skip Nicaragua, which is in a full-blown locked-up dictatorship by Jose Daniel Ortega Saavedra and his vice president (and wife) Rosario Murillo.

All three of these countries have a governmental structure that puts most of the power in the hands of the leader flanked by an ineffective unicameral congress and a corrupt judiciary.  None of these countries appear to have ever had a decent government and have no idea what one would look like. Even catastrophic insurrections and civil wars have not improved the lot of the people.  I am reminded of Ambrose Pierce's definition of revolution: "a brief respite between misgovernments."

Remittances from abroad are the lifeblood of the regional income and are going up rapidly. The Washington Examiner notes

"Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador all said that natives in the  United States sent over $17 billion home last year alone. Since 2009, legal and illegal immigrants from those three nations have shipped $120 billion home, according to an immigration expert citing United Nations and Latin American banking data."

This means that we are paying the common folk while some very rich people loot their rather abundant natural resources, which include gold and silver.  Any new incoming money source seems to be immediately viewed as a resource by corrupt elements of every stripe.

So having pointed all this out, what are we doing to help these people?  On paper things look great.  They are in lots of international organizations with cryptic initials:  the IMF, the UN, OAS, WTO, and the World Bank. No point in even saying what the initials stand for, it's all lip service where these countries are concerned.  They are also in a trade agreement called the U.S.-Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).  The U.S. also has programs to help out.  There is the Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity and the Central American Regional Security Initiative.  Sounds great, but not working.  The only effective thing we seem to do for them is provide a safety valve, which is not good for us. We need to turn off the illegal-immigration-turned-routine-career-path spigot.

One thing is for sure -- we as outsiders cannot make things better.  Their problems are endemic and deeply rooted.  Whether it be revolution or fresh political thinking, it has to come from the inside.

I don't know the solution to this travesty, but one can guess what a solution might look like. These three countries have things in common -- a common Mestizo (Amerindian-Mayan) racial and cultural heritage and Christianity, both of which shape common social norms. Maybe these things can become the basis of progress. They have a big supply of youth and energy; more than half the population of Guatemala is under 19.

They sorely need a credible leader arising from the grassroots, someone who can light an ember of hope.  It will take a long time to convince the citizens that things can change, but constructive nationalism and patriotism will not take hold until it is based on something meaningful and relatable to them.  How can any leadership structure develop if all the young men and women just leave? Big political changes are the activities of the young and idealistic.

It is possible to create an influential movement on a large scale -- no one with a brain thinks that these "caravans" of migrants have an organic origin. You only have to look at the legal principle of "cui bono," meaning "who benefits."  A lot of very influential globalists are interested in the chaos that results from these immigrant crowds.  While we are trying to cope with this invasion, they are cleaning up financially and politically.  These globalists both inside and outside the U.S. are determined to drown us in Central American bodies until our systems break down. They mobilized the young people, but for their own ends.

There must be some young people who want to stay in their own country and work for change -- people we can support.  Somebody has an idea of how to start down this path and my guess is that those people do not work in the U.S. State Department.  Department of State workers are all happy to go down with the good ship Tolerance; they are singularly uninterested in getting anything done.

We can't just take all these Central Americans into the U.S., nor should we.  We shouldn't be absorbing the flower of their youth into the lowest level in our economy just so they will keep our corrupt officials in power forever by becoming malleable voters.  It's sucking the lifeblood out of these countries and disabling all hope of prosperity for their citizens.