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US trade deals behind immigration crisis: Analyst

Political analyst Myles Hoenig

The US' trade deals with its neighboring countries have caused the current immigration crisis, says an American analyst.

Myles Hoenig, a former Green Party candidate for Congress, made the remarks while discussing the deaths of two migrant children in US custody.

Earlier this month, Jakelin Caal Maquin, a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl, died after being arrested by border agents. She died of dehydration while in detention.

Last week, US immigration authorities said an eight-year-old boy from Guatemala had also died under similar conditions.

The two children were among many other immigrants, who are fleeing poverty and crime in their countries and trying to cross the border into the US.

Hoenig said the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), supported by both Democrats and Republicans, was partly responsible for the crisis because it destroyed small businesses in some Central and South American countries, causing their citizens to migrate.

“These free trade agreements served to destroy what autonomy small and medium farms might have had in Mexico and elsewhere,” he told Press TV on Sunday.

“The large American agribusinesses helped to destroy the local economies, forcing migration northward. But this is nothing new as corporate control of much of Latin America has been going on since early in the 20th century,” Hoenig added.

Ever critical of NAFTA, Trump has pulled the US out of the deal and forced the other signatories—Canada and Mexico—to agree with his own version, known as the USMCA. Critics say the deal is largely the same as NAFTA only with a new name.

Hoenig said the fact that Trump blamed Democrats’ reluctance to fund his wall for the deaths of the two children has not been much of a surprise given the president’s lack of knowledge of “geo-politics, history, or how institutional governments operate.”

“He was always his own CEO and sees his role as president the same way,” he argued. “If something goes wrong under his watch, there’s always someone else to blame. He has been using the Democrats as his whipping boy since he ran for office and it plays well with his base.”

He said the only thing that really mattered to Trump was his wall, a key campaign promise, and he was going to get it sooner or later.

“He’s also savvy enough to know that eventually the Democrats will likely cave, as the shutdown will force them to negotiate, and Trump is more firm in his demand for a wall than the Democrats are in not supporting it,” the analyst added.

Trump has threatened to close the US southern border if Congress does not agree to provide $5.7 billion for his promised wall.

Hoenig predicted that somewhere down the road the Democrats would use the children's deaths as “humanitarian” excuses to justify their retreat against Trump.

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