Why the EU wants to punish economic migrants

From Deutsche Welle, the German satellite TV channel, an interesting passage buried well down in the piece:

The Return Directive raises hackles not only because of possible human rights infringements, but because the remittances sent home by illegal workers to their poor countries of origin — for example Ecuador and Bolivia — are an important source of income there.

Last year, immigrants in Europe, the US and Japan sent money back to their families in Latin America and the Caribbean amounting to just under 43 billion euros ($66 billion), the EU Observer online newspaper said.

It is more than the region receives from foreign direct investment or development assistance combined.

“…more than the region receives from foreign direct investment or development assistance combined.”

Sit back and let that sink in for a bit.



Imagine that. Undocumented immigrants are a bigger part of the Bolivian and Ecuadorian economies, and those of several other LatAm and Caribbean countries, than foreign direct investment and development assistance combined. Meaning, those working stiffs, however unpapered, are a once hidden vertebra in the backbone of their respective nations’ economies.

That means what exactly, Auntie ‘Bina?

That means, possum-pie, that the much-vaunted neo-liberal policies of “foreign aid” and “direct foreign investment” aren’t helping those impoverished countries half as much as the plain old sweat of their own expatriates’ brows. It means that Ecuadorians, Bolivians, etc., etc., can do more for Ecuador, Bolivia, etc., etc., than USAID, the World Bank, the IMF, or any other assclown who insists that foreign investment is what those countries really need to get their economies into working order, and their people into work, period. It means that hose people have FOUND work, all right, but not as a result of aid or investment; they found it by leaving the countries that “aid” and “investment” have stripped bare, and going to where the jobs are: Europe, North America, and Japan primarily. There, they make a meagre living–and are grotesquely exploited in many cases–but also manage to make enough to send home and provide vital foreign income that boosts the economy of Ecuador, Bolivia, etc., etc.

That’s what it means, but that’s not all it means.

It also means that the great plan of the generous “aid” and “investment” designed by stuffed suits from rich countries to rob the poor–is FAILING. Failing because those damn uppity undocumented economic migrants are foiling it. Foiling it by doing nothing more than working hard, sending a portion of their earnings home, and dodging La Migra. Foiling it, in other words, by doing what people in dire need, and who cannot afford the long, expensive wait to be “legal”, will do to make sure that their near and dear ones don’t starve to death.

And do you know what else that means, possum-pie?

It means that neo-liberal economics, and neo-con politics, are one big fat miserable failure. And that the best way to help countries in poverty…is to help their people help themselves, rather than punishing them for doing just that.

Of course, it’s now blindingly apparent that helping poor countries was never the idea in the first place. Does Auntie ‘Bina have to spell out what it really was, or have you got the general drift of it by now?

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