‘Run for Your Life!’ Why the US Must Recast its Immigration Debate

Harbour Island, Bahamas:  Church of God of Prophecy 1/8/15
Harbour Island, Bahamas: Church of God of Prophecy 1/8/15

Why do the illegals keep coming?

The journey of terrors to reach water in the US doesn’t stop them.  Neither the certainty of life off the books nor the chance of months in a detention center followed by deportation deters them.

Dismiss as weepies, if you will, those stories about deportees lasting a week in the homes they’d fled to survive.  Now we have startling numbers – murder rates – that mark as rational the choices of the illegals.

They explain the futility of interdiction and punitive statutes.  They should drive us to scream for an intelligent approach to what drives flight to the US.

For they tell us something awful about life on our southern perimeter, something from which no amount of interdiction can protect us.  Only change at home and abroad can.


In mid-December, World Health Organization (WHO) published its lengthy Global Status Report on Violence Prevention 2014.  I saw it reported first in Nassau Guardian story by Krystel Rolle-Brown of which a version appears on Caribbean News Now under the headline Bahamas is 11th most homicidal country in the world, says new report.

 The report shows that [The Bahamas] recorded 31.1 murders per 100,000 people. WHO estimated the rate of homicides per 100,000 based on the 2012 crime figures.

 With a homicide rate of 32.1 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, [a] country qualifies as an armed conflict zone, according to … WHO….

 Honduras, which records 103.9 murders per 100,000 people, is ranked number one on the list [of 133].

 Venezuela is second on the list with 57.6 murders per 100,000 people.

 Jamaica is third with 45.1 murders per 100,000 people.

 Belize is fourth with 44.7 murders per 100,000 people.

 Colombia is fifth with 43. 9 murders per 100,000 people

El Salvador is sixth with 43.9 murders per 100,000 people.

 Guatemala is seventh with 39.9 murders per 100,000 people.

 Eighth is Lesotho with 37.5 murders per 100,000 people.

 South Africa is ranked ninth with 35.7 murders per 100,000 people

 [Trinidad is tenth with 35.3 murders per 100,000 people] [The Bahamas is eleventh with 31.2 murders per 100,000 people]

 [Haiti is twelfth with 26.6 murders per 100,000 people]

 The Dominican Republic is 13th with 25.4 murders per 100,000 people.

 Mexico is 14th with 22.0 murders per 100,000 people.

Guyana is 15th with 20.2 murders per 100,000 people.


That’s 13 of the top 15 killer countries west of the Azores, north of Brazil and south of the US.  Is it any wonder people would find alluring the US with a murder rate under 6 per 100, 000?

With our drug wars and proxy wars, we’ve contributed mightily to conditions on our southern perimeter.  No, we don’t bear sole responsibility for the 13’s troubles.  But we should have foreseen the wars’ consequences.

‘Irony’ might be illustrated by an unstoppable flow of people seeking refuge in the country that abetted in the crimes that forced them to flee their homes.


One country’s trials can be another’s opportunities.  That’s certainly how China views The Bahamas, as I’ll discuss in another post.  Its inroads pose a far greater economic – and social – threat than the refugees.

As I wandered New Providence and Harbour Island the last three weeks, I wondered if, as at home, the Chinese would force changes to protect their stakes in Bahamian resorts, infrastructure and financial services.

It’s certain American immigration worries won’t be a significant consideration.

Harbour Island, Bahamas:  St. John's Anglican Church 1/8/15
Harbour Island, Bahamas: St. John’s Anglican Church 1/8/15