The New Face of US Immigration: Leaving for Central America

honduras-animalsBy Karla Fetrow

The Debt No One Wants to Pay

What has happened to America? Perhaps, at no time, has the waves of discontent been so intense, that not a single group can reach agreement with another. It can’t really be compared with the Civil War; it was a war of two separate factions; one wishing to split away and form its own constitution, the other determined to maintain a single, united entity. Nor can it be truly compared to the Great Depression, although many of the circumstances are similar. The twenty year era of poverty drove massive numbers into the streets, wandering around the country, looking for jobs, saw endless homeless and the creation of Union power. While Union power has been deeply corroded by government mandates, the greatest difference has been that for the first time, Americans are considering migrating out of the country they helped to make great, and start over.

The emerging migration can be blamed partly on the economy. Baby boomers reaching retirement age have discovered their social security checks are not enough to cover the spiraling costs of living. Younger people are concerned that America’s staggering debt will create a tax burden none can afford. Advanced education has done nothing to improve their opportunities for a lucrative income, only saddled them with student loans and desperation. Buying a new car is difficult enough; investing in real estate is a pipe dream.

Economies eventually recover. Innovation, reform, new resources and rebuilding the infrastructure lead the way to new economic development. From the revolutionary years, though the industrial age, Americans have had faith during their economic struggles that things would get better. They had a dream and they were willing to fight for it.

Without Liberty

America has lost its faith. This, more than anything, has stimulated the American dream to find greener pastures. Individual and community efforts to change the course of economic disparity have met in failure, primarily due to government intervention. Farm co-operatives and private homes have been invaded, their assets seized by agents who determined their organic practices were unsafe, even in the face of mounting pressure to abandon GMO projects. Neither has bartering been accepted favorably, with an insistence that all bartered items be listed as income.

America can handle a new era of poverty. What it can’t accept is the growth of a government seat that continues to nibble away at their natural liberties. Natural liberties have been defined since the early Greek civilization. Our individual survival depends on the right to seek out food, water and shelter. This same drive determines our instinctual desire to protect the assets we have obtained and to benefit from our own handiwork. As social creatures, we naturally crave free expression, whether in religion, speech or press. When these desires are suppressed, when we can no longer reasonably maintain food, water and shelter, when our assets are removed from us, along with the benefits of our handiwork and we feel unprotected, it is our natural drive to look elsewhere for free expression.

Central America Becomes the New Frontier

For many, elsewhere has become Central America. It is estimated that approximately 250,000 retirees will have moved south of the border over the next fifteen years. It has also become the main attraction for ex-pats and people looking for ways to invest their self-directed IRA’s.

What has suddenly made Central America a sudden choice for packing up and starting over? Much has to do with changes in Central American policies. Long considered a tax shelter where wealthy businessman invest millions and rake in untaxed profits from private banks, the governments within the affected countries have become worried about corporate trends, their big-money dominance and worries over corporate dependencies. Wishing to save an infrastructure that serves its citizens, their appeal to investors and entrepreneurs has been directed at the American middle class.

Many of the Central American companies have made it easier to invest in real estate and residency. They maintain an equitable exchange rate with the dollar, and in some cases, such as Panama, use the dollar as currency. You do not need a passport to visit their country; a visa will allow you into most of them. Once you’ve become a resident, you can legally buy and own property. You do not have to pay taxes unless you sell it. Owning a small business is encouraged and the start-up rates are only half the expense as beginning a business in the United States.

There are disadvantages. Central America still has a great deal of under-development. American products are expensive. Unless you accustom yourself to Central American life-styles, you won’t find a great deal of difference in the prices you pay in the U.S. Schools are generally small outside the big cities. There is a shortage of English language teachers. As you would be moving to a foreign country, it would be necessary to learn Spanish and adopt to the culture and customs.

The Appeal of Opportunity

However, for many, this only makes the prospect more exciting. There is a feeling of pioneering, as well as adventure, the excitement of being presented with an opportunity, when U.S. opportunities seem to have dried up. The idea of moving to a country without the cumbering machinery of US codes and regulations outweighs the minor handicaps of adaptation.

Climate and environment are definitely an advantage. The tropical landscape offers rugged mountains, jungles, rain forest and swift rivers to the adventure seeker; brightly colored birds and a variety in wildlife species to the naturalist. Central America is bordered with spectacular beaches for swimming, snorkeling, surfing or just plain sun-bathing. It has become so tourism friendly, it welcomes the back-packer as avidly as it absorbs the high roller.

While Central America is busy embracing retirees and expats, many US cities are on the decline as the death rate creeps over the birth rate. Their strategy has been to accept Latin American immigration, hoping that by doing so, the additional manpower will stimulate the economies. While they are rolling out a welcome mat for the influx, no studies have been made of the impact of US citizens leaving the country.

When the Dream is Over

US immigrants into Central America will bring with them, their retirement income, their SSI, their IRA’s and the profits generated from selling out. The disenfranchised will bring their creativity, their innovation, their entrepreneurship and other learned skills. Many will bring their families.

The phrase, “if you don’t love it, leave it,” has backfired for the American people. The long-term love affair with what was once considered the land of the free, is over. Those who harbor in their hearts concepts of personal liberties are suspicious of a corporate ruled government and fear federal jurisdiction is becoming increasingly more tyrannical. America didn’t just fail its people economically. The American backbone has been strong, able to withstand war and depression. It’s the breaking away from Constitutional rights, from concepts of individual freedom that has crushed the spirit of the American people, making leaving what they no longer love, a viable option. The American dream may be over in the United States, but it is just beginning in Central America.

About karlsie

Some great perversity of nature decided to give me a tune completely out of keeping with the general symphony; possibly from the moment of conception. I learned to read and speak almost simultaneously. The blurred and muffled world I heard through my first five years of random nerve loss deafness suddenly came alive with the clarity of how those words sounded on paper. I had been liberated for communications. I decided there was nothing more wonderful than writing. It was easier to write than carefully modulate my speech for correct pronunciation, and it was easier to read than patiently follow the movements of people’s lips to learn what they were saying. It was during that dawning time period, while I slowly made the connection that there weren’t that many other people who heard the way I did, halfway between sound and music, half in deafness, that I began to understand that the tune I was following wasn’t quite the same as that of my classmates. I was just a little different. General education taught me not only was I just a little isolated from my classmates, my home was just a little isolated from the outside world. I was born in Alaska, making me part of one of the smallest, quietest minorities on earth. I decided I could live with this. What I couldn’t live with was discovering a few years later, in the opening up of the pipeline, which coincided with my first year of junior college, that there were entire communities of people; more than I could possibly imagine; living impossibly one on top of another in vast cities. It wasn’t even the magnitude of this vision that inspired me so much as the visitors who came from these populous regions and seemed to possess a knowledge so great and secretive I could never learn it in any book. I became at once, very conscious of how rural I was and how little I knew beyond the scope of my environment. I decided it was time to travel. The rest is history; or at least, the content of my stories. I traveled... often to college campuses, dropping in and out of school until one fine day by chance I’d fashioned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. I’ve worked a couple of newspapers, had a few poems and stories tossed around in various small presses, never receiving a great deal of money, which I’m assured is the norm for a writer. I spent ten years in Mexico, watching the peso crash. There is some obscure reason why I did this, tightening up my belt and facing hunger, but I believe at the time I said it was for love. Here I am, back home, in my beloved Alaska. I’ve learned somewhat of a worldly viewpoint; at least I like to flatter myself that way. I’ve also learned my rural roots aren’t so bad after all. I work in a small, country store. Every day I greet the same group of local customers, but make no mistake. My store isn’t a scene out of Andy Griffith. The people who enter the establishment, which also includes showers, laundry and movie rentals, are miners, oil workers, truck drivers, construction engineers, dog sled racers and carpenters. Sometimes, on the liquor side, the conversations became adult only in vocabulary. It’s a good thing, on the opposite side of the store is a candy aisle filled with the most astonishing collection, it will keep a kid occupied with just wishing for hours. If you tell your kids they can have just one, you have an instant baby sitter; better than television; as they agonize over their choice while you catch up on the gossip with your neighbor. We also receive a lot of tourists, a lot of foreign visitors. They are usually amazed at this first sign of Alaskan rural life style beyond the insulating hub of the Anchorage bowl. Many of them like to hang around and chat. They gawk at our thieves wanted posters. They laugh at our jokes and camaraderie with our customers. I’ve learned another lesson while working there. You don’t have to go out and find the world. If you wait long enough, it comes to you.

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10 Comments on “The New Face of US Immigration: Leaving for Central America”

  1. The American backbone has been strong, able to withstand war and depression. It’s the breaking away from Constitutional rights, from concepts of individual freedom that has crushed the spirit of the American people, making leaving what they no longer love, a viable option. The American dream may be over in the United States, but it is just beginning in Central America.

    Good observation—what do you think about Panama??—all the countries in south America have faults—but I think they are trying—but it is difficult choice to make–I’m stll an American!

    fj

  2. I’m not sure that the “American” backbone or spirit is in fact broken. I see it more as a natural growth spurt, albeit a painful one. Every country has expanded its borders as it grew. We just came late to the game and there is nothing to discover, no lands to take; so in that sense the rules are different but our expansionistic mindset is not. It may not even be an “American” thing but more of a human thing that is embodied in North America and some parts of South America because these are the people who came here in the first place. Those who needed to roam for whatever reason.

    Part of me feels that the “American experiment” was destined to fail. It is too big of an area to govern in the way it is set up. There are too many different cultures within it with their own fast traditions facing challenges of keeping their traditions alive.

    In any case, I don’t see it as a complete break down but more of a natural progression. If we had been Rome,the Ottoman Empire, Gauls, Asiatics we would have done this and,in a much less cordial manner.

  3. I think developed societies today are like foolproof concentration camps. There’s two types of people in these societies: people with money, and people without. The members of both are born into their respective groups, and they stay in them for the duration of their lives.

    I mean, the amount of money in circulation is finite. In order for certain people to have money, others have to lack it. The people who have money, have made quite sure to set up a system where no one can threaten their wealth. Simply put, they own the system, and they own the people who don’t have money.

    The slaves are fed a complex mythology consisting of stories of successful businessmen who started off with nothing more than an idea and their bare hands, or billionaire movie stars that got to where they are by sheer talent and hard work. The slaves are led to believe that it is possible to succeed, wealth and fame are purported to be right around the corner at all times.

    Less-developed countries at least offer a chance to have a chance, IMO, because of the rampant corruption. Everyone in Iran, for example, is trying to fill their pockets ASAP before the party ends, milking the country dry.

    The way I see it, there’s two ways to go about this.

    1. A global revolution against money, where all the banks on the planet are reduced to ash.

    Or the easy way, which is a modern favorite, 2. Join the party; steal, cheat and fuck people ’til you get what you want.

    There’s a third way too, I guess…Jesus’ way: Live poor, die poor, let the “church” have all the money. This is the middle-class way, afaic.

    Either way, we’re all fucked.

  4. FJ, Panama is quickly becoming the most popular choice for relocation. Because of recent work on its canal system, the economy is robust compared to other Central American countries, which are just now kick starting their economic campaigns. They converted to the dollar, which is very convenient, and have a modern infrastructure built around Panama City. The rural areas have some catching up to do, but this is where the government strategies come in. They are hoping that US middle class investment will energize the rural areas, creating more jobs and more opportunities for the under-developed villages. They do not wish to make the same mistakes of their predecessors, whose huge land holdings and monopolies kept the majority of the citizens in poverty, nor do they want to create a dependency on big business or allow it to influence their politics. I will be publishing another article soon on Panama’s new policies.

    Grainne, I don’t think this has much at all to do with expansionism. The US has already expanded across the globe, and its influence can be felt everywhere. I believe it has to do with discontent. The vast majority of citizens who are uprooting are retirees or near retirees with limited income and a great deal of unhappiness that their income isn’t keeping them out of poverty, and young people who are disillusioned with the government, see no future opportunities in its restrictive laws, and want a life-style where they can both work at creating a lucrative income, and enjoy some recreational sports at the same time.

    Sh, I think the lesser developed countries of Central and South America stand a good chance for various reasons. Most of them have already experienced the years of blatant corruption, have had their blood baths and revolution, and are earnestly striving to create governments that are both economically stable and reflect the will of the people.

    Corruption does carry with it a certain amount of freedom, but it also carries an enormous amount of vulnerability. A government that does not have the support of its constituents is mired in high crime rates and violence. In many of the current Central American countries, the government has as high as an eighty percent approval rating by the citizens, something most Western governments can only dream about. When people are happy, they work together voluntarily toward a common cause. The US no longer has a common cause the people are willing to unite and work toward. It’s all about joining a party and screwing over anybody else who didn’t, for the length of time they remain on top.

  5. “I believe it has to do with discontent. The vast majority of citizens who are uprooting are retirees or near retirees with limited income and a great deal of unhappiness that their income isn’t keeping them out of poverty, and young people who are disillusioned with the government, see no future opportunities in its restrictive laws, and want a life-style where they can both work at creating a lucrative income, and enjoy some recreational sports at the same time.”-

    Isn’t this the reason so many left cities for a life on the frontier of an undeveloped America in the first place? I mean, minus the recreational sports, but still. We expand because we need to be ourselves. We need to strike out. See what we can make. Also I stand by my statement, it is the natural development of a country/nation. We just came late to the game.

  6. I am moving to Panama in June. One of the main reason was economics. The other was Government corruption in the United States. Our Government is more corrupt than most countries in the world. Our elections now permit voter fraud, EX: Philadelphia. Our Christian values are being trashed by the left wing Liberals on a daily basis. Our education system is on a free fall, and our healthcare went from one of the greatest in the world to shambles in less than 10 years. Schools are teaching our children to wipe your feet on the flag and stomp on Jesus, two things that used to be cherished by the majority! What does America have to offer The Christian,hard working,Law abiding citizen. They are being replaced by moral degenerates that we call teachers, illegal immigrants and a corrupt government in Washington. I LOVE America, but I hate what has happened to it!!!!

  7. The “christian, hard working, law abiding citizen” is fucked, period. We live in an era of insane, dangerous, criminal behavior, where you get points for fucking law-abiding chickenshit christians.

    P.S. The government in Washington isn’t corrupt. You’re just an anti-semite arab terrorist radical who hates freedom/zionism.

  8. FJD, I’ve been thinking a lot about selling out, myself. I have undeveloped land and have no real choices on how to develop it. Everything must be in compliance with the zoning laws and building codes, which rack up a fortune with their inspectors and permits. It would be cheaper and easier to sell out and move someplace where there are fewer restrictions than try to comply with all the red tape.

  9. I work with these expats and have for years. The main reason they choose to leave the U.S. is freedom. This may sound strange considering that the U.S. is supposed to be the most free country in world, but it doesn’t feel that way sometimes.
    What if you want to do something simple like build a porch on your house? Can you just build it? No, you have to get permits and ask permission. This little example of being regulated and monitored is something that motivates our clients to experience something new and unfettered. Our clients want the choice to decide what and how they do things. Of course, there is a cost to this lack of control, by definition if you can do what you want other people can too. This can be seen in Central American societies where there is no enforced regulation and cities can get ugly fast while everyone builds what they want and a smorgasbord of buildings is thrown up. I can say this though, after living here for several years I will choose this kind of freedom rather than be monitored and regulated. I think it has a certain level of responsibility to have this freedom and that should be considered, but I like it when the responsibility is in the hands of the people.

  10. sh is a troll folks, you will find many of these on the internet, it is best just to ignore them…..

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