In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we share an article by David Bacon, author of In the Fields of the North / En los campos del norteBacon discusses how the history of U.S sponsored wars in South America affected the region’s economy and politics, spurred migration to the U.S., and the need to change immigration policy to ensure family separation no longer occurs. In the article, Bacon writes:

“Many of the children and families coming from Central America to the United States today are therefore coming to reunite with their families, who were divided by war and earlier migration. They are responding to the threat of violence caused by criminalization and deportations. They are looking for economic survival in countries tied to the neoliberal economic model. …

Children will keep coming if we don’t take responsibility for dealing with causes of migration. Knowing where the violence and poverty are coming from, and who benefits from this system, is one step toward ending it. We also have to know what we want in its place. What is our alternative to the detention centers, and the imprisonment of the people inside? To the hundreds of people who still die on the border every year? 

Read more in the article about Bacon’s proposed alternatives.