Sometimes even the most well-intentioned idea can go horribly wrong.
The Red Cross obviously wanted to help those making the long and treacherous journey from Central America, through Mexico and across our southern border, as its purpose clearly is to alleviate suffering and save lives.
Certainly, the organization doesn’t want to see needless death and tragedy, and it would go against its mission to just stand by and not try to make a difference. So the Red Cross came up with a novel way to “help.”
“It’s practically a road map or a TripTech for an illegal migrant,” said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, in an interview with The Epoch Times. “It’s one thing to give out water to migrants. It’s quite another thing to help them migrate illegally — and breach the sovereignty of a border.”
What she’s talking about is literally a road map, a very detailed map indeed, of Mexico and Central America, showing all the various transport routes stretching from Panama to the United States. Called “Messages of Self-Help for Migrants,” it’s in Spanish and indicates all the places for immigrants to find shelter and assistance along these routes.
Turn it over, and there’s lots of helpful information on things everyone walking from Central America to Texas should know: how to navigate forests and jungles, locate shelter, hide safely in vehicles, hop a moving train and find medical assistance. Oh, and it also offers tips on how to deal with immigration authorities.
Is this a sort of “underground railroad” to help oppressed people find a better life? That might be how the Red Cross is looking at it, but Vaughan says it is not. She says it’s “enticing criminal behavior that is also very, very dangerous and illegal.” She says that if the Red Cross really wants to help, its message should be not to come.
These aren’t really asylum seekers, she says. They don’t meet those criteria and won’t be granted asylum status by a judge once it gets to court — if it ever does. Of course, most immigrants from Central America don’t claim asylum once they’re here, possibly because of those who do, fewer than 15 percent of them are granted it. They know to just disappear into the country.
The map features the Red Cross logos from seven countries: the United States, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama.
The Red Cross obviously sees this as a humanitarian effort, undertaken to help people avoid risks and travel safely. The nonprofit describes itself as an “impartial, neutral and independent organization,” and so it is neutral on the issue of migration. (No word on the fact that it’s illegal.) The Red Cross says it isn’t trying to prevent or encourage it.
So, is this really the thing to do to “help”? I stand with Vaughan and say it absolutely is not. This definitely crosses a line and does, in fact, encourage risk-taking and lawbreaking.
Vaughan is right when she says the way to help people in these countries is to offer assistance where they live, “not aid and abet this illegal migration that is so dangerous and has created so many problems for all of the countries where it occurs.”
Vaughan says the U.S. should investigate this to find out how the map came to be published and who funded it. (Looking at this two-sided sheet, it seems the printing wouldn’t have cost much, but obviously, a lot of work went into the content and creating such an informative map.)
The International Committee of the Red Cross, based in Geneva, is funded mainly by voluntary donations from governments, as well as the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies. It is active in over 100 countries and had a budget of $3 billion.
Full disclosure: We’ve always been big supporters of the Red Cross, and several years ago my wife Janet worked with them on disaster relief. We’ve encouraged people to donate to them whenever there was a natural disaster.
I can’t tell you how disappointing it is to hear about this now. It’s just one more in a long line of disappointments from companies and organizations that should know better but that make incredibly bad decisions trying to be “woke.”
I suppose we might never have known about “Messages of Self-Help for Migrants” if this helpful little publication hadn’t apparently fallen out of an illegal immigrant’s backpack in Uvalde, Texas. The immigrant had been trespassing on land owned by rancher John Sewell, who spied it on the ground and picked it up. Uvalde is about 50 miles from the border with Mexico.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.