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When Did Escaping Communist Tyrannies Become an ‘Invasion’?

I’m old enough to remember when Republicans welcomed escapees from Communist regimes. Those were the days. Now some conservatives have to re-label victims of Communism as “illegal immigrants each day … invading our country.”

Let’s get into the numbers. The Southwest Land Border Region has seen about 2.4M “encounters” with migrants in FY22 (Oct 2021-Sep 2022). That’s about 644,000 more than in FY21, and more than double the 977K in FY19 – the last pre-pandemic fiscal year (Source: CBP [1], as is the case for all migrant data below). That’s certainly a large increase, although within a population of over 330 million Americans, it’s still less than 1%.

The more important point, however, is where the folks are coming from. In 2019, the four largest sources were Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Today, the numbers from the latter three combined are down from 2019, and the numbers for all four combined are down from 2021.

Unfortunately, there isn’t data for other countries before 2020, but we do know why the numbers rose from 2021 to 2022. Two-thirds of the increase came from three countries: Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua. All three are suffering under Communist dictatorships (the Castro family in Cuba, Maduro in Venezuela, and an older-but-meaner Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua).

These are not “invaders;” they are desperate victims of tyranny looking for the safety of a democracy.

What about Mexico, you ask? Good question. Here’s your answer (WaPo [2]).

An increasing number of Mexicans rightly suspect that (Mexican President) Mr. López Obrador is trying to perpetuate his party’s dominance even after his term ends in 2024, mimicking the authoritarian system that prevailed under the Institutional Revolutionary Party during the 20th century. On Nov. 13, tens of thousands of people marched through Mexico City [3] and other cities to protest the president’s plan. Mr. López Obrador branded them as defenders of class and racial privilege — then mobilized his supporters, many of them bused in from outlying regions, for a counterdemonstration in Mexico City on Sunday, in a show of force as the country’s Congress considers the issue.  [4]Though the president probably lacks the two-thirds majority needed to amend the constitution, he has said that he will try to achieve his objectives through legislation, [5] which requires only a simple majority.

In other words, escapees looking for a stable democracy aren’t expecting to find it in Mexico; this would also help explain the increase in refugees coming from Mexico itself since López Obrador took office.

I’ve already discussed why escapees from tyrants should be welcomed into America. What applied to Bashar Assad’s victims [6] certainly applies here as well. That said, I can’t end this post without also noting a much darker reason for the GOP’s reluctance to embrace victims of 21st Century Communism.

All three of the regimes cited here (Ortega, Castro, and Maduro) are allied to Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Who else is allied with the Kremlin? Large [7] chunks [8] of the Republican [9] Party [10], that’s who. This appalling reality is only beginning to sink in to the American electorate, but large diasporas from these prison societies trying to help their peoples back home take their countries back would make it a lot more obvious. The more the GOP can stop Americans from welcoming victims of tyranny, the longer they can hide the fact they’d rather admire tyrants than oppose them.