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Column: Why is Biden recycling failed tactics to slow immigration?

As Americans become increasingly anxious about immigration, Vice President Kamala Harris is searching for answers in all of the wrong places.

The solutions to the causes of migration aren’t in Central America — certainly not in corporate investments that have been a big factor in depriving people of their lands and livelihoods. As a daughter of immigrants, Harris must know the truth. Now would be a good time to end myths Americans cling to about immigration.

A new Gallup survey found that about 19% of Democrats said they want less immigration, a steep increase from 2% in 2021. Most of the people who said they want less of it are Republicans: 71%, compared with 69% last year.

It doesn’t matter that the U.S. is experiencing a worker shortage so dire that some Republicans propose lifting restrictions on child labor. It doesn’t matter that tens of thousands of unfilled jobs are in industries that rely on immigrants, such as meat-packing and construction. Many Americans want less immigration, period. And the truth is, nobody would benefit more from undoing the drivers of migration — poverty, violence and corruption — than people south of the border.

But so far, the Biden administration continues to rely on the useless strategy of trying to curb immigration by encouraging investment from international corporations. This month, Harris announced $950 million in new private investments in Central America to address “root causes” of immigration, including from Nestlé — which is known to displace small coffee farmers and has been accused of benefiting from slave labor — and Target, which is hostile to unions. The irony is stark when the administration claims to be prioritizing labor rights.

The new funds bring the total private-sector pledges to $4.2 billion. The Biden administration argues that the funds will create jobs and help people thrive locally. Some investments seem well-intentioned, including those to boost social services and microloans to women. But the emphasis on export-oriented industries known to exploit land and labor, such as textile manufacturing, is incomprehensible.

The U.S. has always protected the investments of its corporations in Latin America through alliances with corrupt oligarchs and organized crime, including U.S.-backed military governments that have massacred people who fought for labor rights and local ownership of land and resources. Harris’ plan to promote clean energy projects is concerning since plantations for palm oil, used in biofuel, have been a main driver of displacement in Guatemala and Honduras.

“All the best lands in both countries are fundamentally in service of the global economy in Canada, the U.S. and Europe,” Grahame Russell, director of Rights Action, told me. “That’s the underlying problem.”

Source: latimes