Monday, January 18, 2021

If not now...but when?

 In Guatemala security forces used batons and tear gas to beat back another  caravan of deperate migrants bound for the United States. 

Between 7,000 and 8,000 migrants, including families with young children, have entered Guatemala since Friday, attempting to flee poverty and violence in a region suffering from the coronavirus pandemic and back-to-back hurricanes in November.

“We want the Guatemalans to let us past,” said Joaquin Ortiz, a Honduran in the caravan. “Because we’re not leaving here. We’re going to carry on. I want to get through because it’s horrible in our country. There’s nothing in Honduras.”

Espinal, a Honduran native explained, “I want a future for my girls ... there’s no work over there in Honduras.”

If the migrants do get past, Mexico is preparing to halt them with its security forces.

Those who do reach the US border it is questionable that the newly installed Biden administration will welcome them. A Biden transition official advised the migrants not to make for the United States. Those who are seeking to claim asylum in the first few weeks of the new administration "need to understand they're not going to be able to come into the United States immediately." The official also emphasized that any immigration legislation proposed by the Biden administration will be for undocumented immigrants already living in the U.S., not those who are considering arriving now. Migrants "will not find when they get to the U.S. border that from Tuesday to Wednesday, things have changed overnight and ports are all open and they can come into the United States."

Biden does wish to end the Trump administration practice that required asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico, known as the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP), but it will not be allowing all migrants to enter the U.S. at once as soon as Biden takes office, the official said.

" is not the time to make the journey," the official said.

Incoming Biden administration to migrant caravan: Don't come, you won't get in immediately (


Mike Ballard said...

Labour puts too much time into producing the wealth of the USA now. Yet, the 40 hour week seems normal. What's not normal is that increasing output per hour of labour hasn't resulted in a higher standard of living and a shorter work week.

ajohnstone said...

Mike, i am always astonished at the working hours of our American fellow-workers. How many put in unpaid overtime - made easier now with the laptop and mobile phones - and those who take on part-time second jobs - and of course it takes two breadwinners to pay the mortgage and household bills. 8 hour work-day, 8 hour leisure and 8 hour sleep, a demand from the 19th Century is not the reality for so many in the USA.

I was an unskilled employee and my vacation was over 5 weeks paid leave annually. Even management in the US are hard-pressed to get two-weeks vacation and we can see it in their popular culture - all the movies centred on the long weekend public holidays or rushed - see everything, do everything Summer vacations. Perhaps it is one reason why so few Americans leave their home state much less venture abroad.

And the demand is once more solely a monetary one - $15 an hour minimum wage. Time to up our demands in the US and cut working week without cutting pay.

Inflation can always eat away a pay rise, but although possible with increasing productivity which is more under our own control than an outside factor, it is harder to steal time away from us.

It is as if our American fellow-workers are very willing wage-slaves