The immigration debate has been a hot topic for decades. That being said the discussion has evolved in recent years, especially since the (unfortunate) rise of Trump and Trump-like politics. While America’s immigration policy has always been pretty bad, things have only gotten worse under Trump. Between border walls, travel bans, and the reversal of sanctuary cities, Trump-era immigration politics is something of a noisy mess, and it can be hard to keep track of what’s what. Recently, Trump and company have been up in arms about a ‘migrant caravan’ that is headed its way up from Central America to the Mexican-American border. Right-wing media has painted the caravan as a group of murderers and criminals; however, this is very far from the case.
What is the Caravan?
Contrary to Trumpian belief, the migrant caravan is not made up of criminals and homicidal maniacs. In fact, the caravan is composed of approximately 1,100 people, most of which are from Honduras. Hondorus is a deeply impoverished country, where two-thirds of the population live in abject poverty. The caravan is also being supported by the humanitarian group, Sin Fronteras, whose goal, according to their website, is to, “build solidarity bridges among people and turndown border walls imposed by greed.” What also wasn’t mentioned to Trump, was the fact that a good portion of the caravan found asylum in Mexico, rather than hoping to resettle in the United States.
The caravan began on March 25th from the southern tip of Mexico and had slowly made its way north by foot, car, bus, and by whatever means. Rumor has it that Trump heard about the caravan during a Fox News segment. Since then, Trump has been threatening foreign trade and even the nation of Honduras for letting the caravan go through. Sadly, (or not so sadly) Trump’s frantic efforts were all for naught. Now the caravan has reached the US-Mexican Border in Tijuana, amid protests, disdain, and fiery Tweets. What was promised by Fox & Friends to be hundreds of dangerous criminals ended up only being around 150 hopeful migrants (cue the slide whistle).
What Happens Next?
When migrants arrived at the Tijuana border, American border officials shut the door on them at first, saying that they couldn’t process their request for asylum. As a result, these migrants were expected to stay the night on the Mexican side of the border. This has sparked protests across the U.S declaring that these people have the right to asylum. At the same time, Attorney General Jeff Sessions shot back directly at the migrants declaring that, “Those seeking entry into the United States must pledge fidelity to the law, not break them, or else face criminal prosecution.”
For some time it was feared that these 150 some migrants who had traveled through Mexico wouldn’t be given their fair shake at applying for asylum. Fortunately, border officials caved, and all but ten were admitted into the United States to apply for asylum. Unfortunately, this isn’t the end for these weary travelers.
Applying for asylum comes with its challenges, and many are facing an immigration program that is far less forgiving than the days of Obama and other past presidents. These migrants are people who have come up all this way with next to nothing, escaping the dangers of their home country. Many of these migrants are mothers and children, who are very far off from the dangerous criminals they were painted as. This is far from the end of the story, and there is no telling whether or not these people will be fully accepted into this country. However, it is somewhat comforting to see that even amidst poor leadership, fake news and bigoted politics, the systems of the United States can still function against it all and give these people the opportunity of applying for asylum.