After the surge, ready for the shantytowns?

In a June 5 piece, I noticed how the reporting of independent foreign correspondent Michael Yon from Central America meshed with the reporting of the Center for Immigration Studies' Todd Bensman up at the U.S.-Mexico border, in a piece about how Joe Biden is sneaking migrants into the U.S. from buses originating in Central America.

Well, it turns out that the two reporters have since gotten together, and now they've come up with a doozy of a new story:

Yon's entire tweet reads:

Illegal Aliens Welcomed to Texas — and beyond...


and I spent yesterday on the ground rummaging around the Texas roads below. Today we rented an airplane and flew above. Clouds kept us at 1800AGL and so the colonia below was too big for our cameras to gulp with a single shot. This 3rd world north of Houston is situated by Plum Grove. A high government official wishing to remain anonymous told Todd and me the owner just more than doubled the size depicted below with additional land purchase of 35,000 acres. We did not confirm this but the government official is in a position to know. The government official said this single colonia will be able to house at least 200,000 people — and most will be illegals. Colonias are popping up around America in various forms such as "commandeered" hotels. Cartels are King of the Colonias. Rapes, murders, and tuberculosis, will continue until morale improves or WEF is dead. This is killing America. This is war. The image below is from the article attached. Todd and I could not fly high enough to see the entire colonia from one place. PLEASE SHARE WITH EVERYONE…especially share with idiotic liberals who will be raped and murdered "disproportionately" in their gun free zones and homes.

What he's describing, when he uses the northern Mexican term colonias, is shack life, the vast shantytowns that ring every city in Latin America and a host of other third-world cities in Asia and Africa, too.

It's too soon to say if that is exactly what is happening in Houston, but the report suggests there's more than a passing resemblance that ought to be watched. 

It's not surprising.

Some five million foreign nationals have been let into the U.S. based on Joe Biden's open border policies.  They have to live somewhere.  Many, and perhaps most, do not have U.S. sponsors.  There's no plan of action for what to do about five million migrants from the Biden administration other than to let them stay.  New York City, where some 60,000 have arrived, is stretched to the breaking point with the caring and feeding of that many newcomers.  At some point, there is no place to put them.  Housing on their own economic muscle is generally out of the question — because it's the same for ordinary Americans.  But they still have to live somewhere. 

And now suddenly, we're seeing where — in the emergence of shantytowns now beginning to ring America's major cities such as Houston, making them resemble Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Mexico City, Caracas, Medellín, Lima, Quito, San Pedro Sula, and other places — all of which have nice ritzy centers, housing for the rich and upper-middle classes, and endless rings of shantytowns in the hillsides and valleys outside these big cities, where the desperately poor live in tin-roof hovels, some precariously positioned on cliffs, with no flush toilets, no running water, no paved roads, no electricity, or only pilfered electricity from power lines to power the television sets and sometimes refrigerators inside.  When I first saw the shack cities (known as ranchos rather than colonias in Venezuela), I needed to lie down, almost feeling as if I would faint.  They were so huge and overwhelming...and awful.  I felt the same way when I saw the shack cities ringing Tijuana, utterly horrified that such human misery could be so close to the prosperity of the United States.  And Manila, Jakarta, Shenzhen — the same sensation.

Since I've spent time in and around them, though, here is what I know: most shack-dwellers are from someplace outside the city, and typically it's the countryside or another country.  In Colombia and Peru, the people were often war refugees from the nation's vicious Marxist narco-terrorists who flooded into the city for protection and found nothing there for them.  They ended up on the outside, looking in, able to go to jobs in the city but not able to enjoy the city and culture.  In Venezuela, they were often actual foreigners — from Haiti, Colombia, and other places, drawn to Venezuela by that country's cycles of oil booms with all its jobs and bounties.  There also were a lot of rural people drawn in for the same reason, leaving the entire country grossly underpopulated, with something like 90% of its population urban.  Like the internal refugees of Colombia and Peru, there was no place for them, so they ended up on the outskirts of the capital in the huge shantytowns ringing that urban area, trying to get in for their day jobs and back to the shacks at night.

Shack cities look awful on first glance, but they aren't entirely so.  When I visited Caracas in late 2005, noted Venezuelan blogger Miguel Octavio of the late great Devil's Excrement blog told me to look closely at the shantytowns — notice the glass windows, the electrical wires running out, the presence of television satellite dishes on nearly every structure.  He himself lived on the edge of one and explained to me that not only were they not as scary as they appeared, but they also weren't bastions of chaos, as might be expected.  "They have rules," he told me, citing, for example, when to turn off the blasting boom boxes of reggaeton music — which shut down promptly at 10:00 P.M., and woe to anyone who defied it.  The penalties from the gangs who ruled them and made the rules were much more severe for the shack-dwellers than they were in ordinarily policed societies.

This brings up the third thing I know: that shack cities are shack cities precisely because they are governed by gangs and their declarations, and lack the established rule of law characteristic of representative democracy.  That was what Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto found in his amazingly good book, The Other Path: The economic answer to terrorism, which studied shantytown culture intensely, and in The Mystery of Capital, which contained a whole chapter on the relevance of rule of law to whether a place looks like Pacific Heights or like a typical shantytown.  Most precisely, de Soto noted that shack-dwellers lack title deed to their properties, meaning they can't capitalize on them or invest in them, nor buy or sell them, nor profit from them.  That keeps them looking like, well, shacks.

We are seeing the outlines of that dynamic emerge in Houston now that some five million illegals have been allowed into this country.  They are from someplace else; they are under the thumbs of gangs; and if they end up in that pre-built housing, you can bet they aren't going to have title deed ownership to it, ensuring that it will get run down and neglected.

Eric Hoffer once observed that the U.S. is getting "increasingly Latinamericanized."  It's not just in the banana republic lunacy of the bid to Get Trump.  We now see it in the open border, where the newcomers are coming to live exactly as they had lived before they left their home countries.

What a sorry picture.

Image: Twitter screen shot.

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