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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Avoiding the Issue


According to one source, from February 2021 to October 2023, the United States (U.S.) Department of Homeland Security data show 6.5 million encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border. Furthermore, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data:


·  At any given time in 2016, an estimated 40.3 million people are in modern slavery, including 24.9 million in forced labor and 15.4 million in forced marriage.


·  It means there are 5.4 victims of modern slavery for every 1,000 people in the world.


·  1 in 4 victims of modern slavery are children.


·  Out of the 24.9 million people trapped in forced labor, 16 million people are exploited in the private sector such as domestic work, construction or agriculture; 4.8 million persons in forced sexual exploitation, and 4 million persons in forced labor imposed by state authorities.


·  Women and girls are disproportionately affected by forced labor, accounting for 99% of victims in the commercial sex industry, and 58% in other sectors.


Additionally, one source reports, “Amid a global migration surge, the trafficking industry has become a multi-billion dollar business. Mexican officials estimate as many as 6,000 people cross into Mexico every day from diverse places like Russia and Venezuela.”


For context, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement organization differentiates between human trafficking and smuggling thusly:


Human trafficking centers on exploitation and is generally defined as:


·  Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or


·  Recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.


Human smuggling centers on transportation and is generally defined as:


·  Importation of people into the United States involving deliberate evasion of immigration laws. This offense includes bringing illegal noncitizens into the country, as well as the unlawful transportation and harboring of noncitizens already in the United States.


Finally, one source reports:


As the Center for Immigration Studies recently reported, a United Nations-led “Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP)” calls for more than 200 nonprofit groups to dole out $1.6 billion in cash debit cards, food, clothing, medical treatment, shelter, and even “humanitarian transportation” during 2024 to millions of U.S.-bound immigrants in 17 Latin American nations and Mexico.


But suspicions that the administration of President Joe Biden is directly footing the bill for at least part of facilitating the most voluminous mass migration crisis in U.S. history, now in its fourth straight year, can now be confirmed.


Considering the aforementioned statistical data and standards of clarification, suppose person X states that some non-government organizations (NGOs) are ostensibly responsible for direct action in regards to human smuggling and indirect residual effects of human trafficking.


Hearing this claim when engaged in dialogue with person X, person Y – a supporter of the Biden administration and NGO efforts – avoids the issue altogether. Person Y’s response (or lack thereof) is indicative of the logical fallacy known as avoiding the issue. Per one source:


The logical fallacy of avoiding the issue occurs when someone deliberately tries to avoid a subject rather than giving sound reasoning for their conclusions regarding the subject. There may be many reasons why someone may want to avoid a subject. On frequent reason for this avoidance occurs when someone wants to hide the fact that their belief system breaks down in this area.


In this case, it isn’t that person Y merely misheard person X’s proposal or was otherwise distracted. Rather, person Y avoided the claim as a means to forego the unpleasant effects of cognitive dissonance regarding discomfort stemming from one’s conflicted belief system.


While human trafficking and smuggling are criminal acts, person Y maintains that it’s okay to break the law when one’s own interests and goals are satisfied. According to a separate source, avoiding the issue occurs:


When an arguer responds to an argument by not addressing the points of the argument. Unlike the strawman fallacy, avoiding the issue does not create an unrelated argument to divert attention, it simply avoids the argument.


The logical form of avoiding the issue is as follows:


Person X makes claim 1.


Person Y makes unrelated statement.


Audience and/or person X forgets about claim 1.


This logical fallacy is on frequent display regarding political matters. Nevertheless, the frequency of illogical behavior doesn’t justify the irrationality of such action.


From the perspective of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I submit that knowledge of this logical fallacy is important for reducing self-disturbance. Unhelpfully demanding that an ideologically opposed opponent will conduct dialogue in a faithful manner is a recipe for upsetting oneself.


After all, person Y may consider it the morally and ethically superior thing to do by supporting President Biden and NGOs who arguably engage in criminal activity regarding those who illegally breach the U.S. border. Thus, arguing the merits of person X’s case may fall on deaf ears.


Even if person X can pinpoint specific human made laws which are violated to facilitate human smuggling, person Y may believe it’s a heavenly, universal, or other ethereally-originating element which commands that helping people migrate from point A to B supersedes human law.


Therefore, person X would essentially argue against person Y’s unfalsifiable claim. Thus, when person Y willfully avoids the issue and continues subscribing to unscientific and irrationally ideological imperatives, person X will experience the unpleasant effects of one’s own self-disturbing beliefs.


Although I personally object to human trafficking and smuggling, I practice REBT as a means of not upsetting myself in the manner of person X. What’s that you say? My silence constitutes complicity? Hey, look over there, it’s a squirrel! (See what I did there?)


If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.


As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.


At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!



Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW




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SeekFind. (n.d.). Logical fallacy of avoiding the issue / avoiding the question / missing the point / straying off the subject / digressing / distraction. Retrieved from

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