For over a week now, thousands of Central Americans have traveled on foot toward the Mexico-United States border. The caravan is full of unarmed people, including many women and children, seeking asylum in the U.S.
Although President Donald Trump has unsurprisingly demonized the group of immigrants and sent hundreds of unnecessary troops to the border, it is crucial for Americans to realize that the caravan poses no tangible threat. Sending troops is a major waste of funds, and Trump has politicized the situation to stoke unwarranted fear and hatred toward immigrants nationwide.
Over the last few years, illegal border crossings have seriously decreased, according to The New York Times, despite much of the public thinking otherwise.
President Trump would rather have Americans think the caravan is full of “many gang members” and “some very bad people,” according to Twitter on Oct. 29. In reality, there’s virtually no evidence that dangerous people are marching toward the border, as reported by CNN.
In addition, President Trump has preemptively sent hundreds of members of the National Guard to assist law enforcement at the border, giving the impression that the caravan is an immediate threat. These migrants are marching on foot. It will take weeks for them to arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border, if not over a month.
Alarmingly enough, it appears President Trump’s racial appeal is working. Despite a plethora of issues that should be deemed more pressing, recent CNN polls indicate GOP voters are increasingly ranking immigration as the top issue, according to CNN.
The U.S. is not going to be invaded by dangerous illegal immigrants tomorrow, even if that is the narrative President Trump is feeding Americans.
In fact, the caravan is not an example of illegal immigration at all.
“Some of those in the caravan might have tried to enter the United States illegally in the past and were deported or turned away as a result. Some probably haven’t. Describing the entire group as ‘illegal immigrants,’ as is common, ignores the simple fact that most of them aren’t yet immigrants to the United States at all,” according to The Washington Post.
Most members of the caravan do not intend to sneak into the country illegally; instead, they are seeking asylum. Once on U.S. ground, migrants can request protection from the American government, as many of the Central Americans heading toward the U.S. plan to do, according to The Washington Post.
“It’s not a picking-somebody-up-if-they’re-sneaking-across-the-border situation. When they encounter the Border Patrol, they’re saying they need protection,” Wendy Young, president of Kids in Need of Defense told The Washington Post.
The U.S. is a country with strict laws and regulations that have allowed it to become one of the world’s most powerful nations. Truly believing that we would completely open our borders and freely admit thousands of undocumented immigrants is ignorant and nothing more than a fear tactic of the Trump administration.
With that being said, America prides itself on being a country of compassion and refuge. That is why policies like those surrounding asylum exist in the first place.
It is our job to work with Mexican authorities to assist these people in finding safety. That would be a far better use of money and resources in comparison to allowing the president to slander and politicize the situation, while sending hundreds of troops to defend against defenseless, desperate immigrants.