Distributing food to Nicaraguan refugees in San Jose, Costa Rica, July 2018
Juan Carlos Ulate / Reuters

For three decades, the United States has treated migration at the U.S.-Mexican border as a matter of perpetual crisis management. More often than not, the domestic conversation is overtaken by hysteria. The latest flashpoints include a politicized debate about the end of Title 42, an order issued by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration early in the COVID-19 pandemic to turn away migrants on public health grounds, and outrage stoked by conservative politicians about the U.S. government feeding migrant children in federal custody (which it is legally and morally required to do) amid a baby formula shortage.

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