Is Immigration Enforcement Bad for Your Mental Health?
In arecent survey of Latino students, more than half said they suffered fromanxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression.
Why? La migra!
Broadly asserting that “immigration enforcement has generated fear in immigrant communities across the country,” the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) pointed to mental and emotional concerns voiced by young Hispanics in Harris County, Texas, and Rhode Island.
“Self-assessmentscompleted by Latino students and semi-structured interviews with educationprofessionals and community experts” purport to show a majority feared someoneclose to them could be arrested and deported.
(The MPI paper does not specify the immigration status of the respondents. But it follows other anecdotal accounts detailing the supposedly fragile psychological state of immigrants anxious about the application of immigration law.)
Whiletheir feelings make for interesting reading, stressful claims by teenagersshould be put in context with the actual, sometimes-deadly consequences oftrying to enter this country illegally.
Talk about depressing.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reports that despite the COVID-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions, human smugglers continue to endanger migrants.
“Smugglersexpose migrants to the deadly virus by forcing them to travel inside crowdedtrailers, with no ventilation, no water and no food for hours, even days. Thetractor-trailer is the final trap of their treacherous journey,” CBP said lastmonth.
Infiscal year 2020 through August, Border Patrol agents in Texas’ Rio Grande Valleyand Laredo sectors reported more than 226 tractor-trailer apprehensionsinvolving 3,740 migrants. For Laredo, the human cargo count was up 37 percentover last year.
Beyondthe raw numbers are documented atrocities – sexual abuse, extortion, assault,kidnapping and exploitation at the hands of human smugglers who get upwards of$12,000 per migrant.
“Smugglingis a multibillion-dollar industry that only enriches criminal organizations,”said Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan. “After extracting every dollar theycan, they are indifferent to your removal from the United States, but they hopeyou come back to provide another paycheck.”
MPI doesn’t help by presenting “semi-structured” (read: leading) interviews as serious, objective research. Intimating that legitimate law-enforcement operations are akin to the Gestapo rounding up people in the middle of the night only serves to whip up more hysteria. Then again that may be just the point.