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Migrant Caravan: Expectation vs. Reality
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4 Nov 2018 03:41 PM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Migrant caravan (Image source: Screenshot)

 

One of the bigger topics in the news the past few weeks has been the migrant caravan. The more Donald Trump huffs and puffs, the larger the group seems to get. What they may be expecting at the border is definitely not going to be what they receive. It also seems whatever the president is projecting at the border is definitely not going to be what happens.

 

These are people who are escaping from violence in their home country. Most of them are said to be from Honduras. Additionally, they are leaving conditions of poverty and hunger behind.  

They're only looking for a better life for themselves. They have heard that there is an option to apply for asylum in the United States. The conditions they were facing were so bad, they gave up what little they had at home and decided to walk to the edge of their country, through two more countries, and to the U.S. border.

 

They are walking, and they are on foot. Many are traveling as families. They have infants in strollers or who are being carried — all on foot, save for those who decided to swim or ride a raft made of inner tubes across a river to get into Mexico more quickly. 

They are expecting to find a better life in the U.S. Indeed, life here isn't as bad as it is in these Central American countries. But truthfully, the amount of people in the caravan cannot be accommodated. It would be hard to find places to live and jobs for 7,000 people in one fell swoop.

 

Yet, they persist. They have said they are willing to die trying to get to the U.S. Their lives are that bad, that they would rather die trying to find a better life than stay where they are. And that's not even the only caravan. Another is on the move right behind them. 

But to Donald Trump they aren't people looking for a better life. They are "criminals." And for some reason he keeps saying the group includes Middle-Easterners, which sounds like a preposterous idea, and he's never been able to back it up.

 

He was elected two years ago on his ideas of immigration, to build a wall to keep everyone out, insisting that the Democrats want "open borders." Right now it looks like his party's hold on Congress is in jeopardy, so he went back to what he knows works, hoping they maintain their numbers in Congress in this week's elections.  

Stumping for the GOP running for Congress, he discusses the migrant caravan in very negative terms and keeps inserting threat upon threat into the situation, trying to show why they need him and the rest of the GOP around, to stop what he says is illegal immigration.

 

The president has threatened to pull aid from Honduras, He has threatened to pull out of NATO after Mexico wasn't doing enough to keep them from crossing the Guatemala/Mexico border. And he has threatened to send troops to the border in increasing amounts, with the latest number being 15,000. 

It's evident that he fails to see the humanitarian angle in this crisis. He's only looking at the situation politically and is using these thousands of migrants desperately looking for a better life as pawns.

 

It's unclear what Trump is thinking these 15,000 troops are going to do at the border. Is he expecting them to shoot at these Central American families looking for a better life and asking for asylum? Is he only going to ask them to shoot "illegal’s?" Is he asking them process their asylum requests? 

It seems like it would make more sense to send 15,000 staff down to the border to process the asylum requests. He is treating this as if it is a war, but there are children involved. Does he want the troops to shoot at babies in strollers? To shoot at the parents and leave the babies orphaned.

 

And now those 15,000 troops are going to be joined by U.S. militia groups — civilians who are carrying guns and planning on forming their own caravan at the border to back up the 15,000 troops.  

They feel they are being pressed into service with the president saying the caravan is an "invasion." But, now this is causing an additional problem. The military has said in planning documents they are now worried about the militia, as while they may be "citizen patrols," they could be stealing the equipment from the National Guard.

 

The militia participants have said they are bringing weapons, camping gear, night-vision goggles, and aerial drones, yet they are promising to abide by the Border Patrol's wishes. People who live near the border do not want them around. 

Additionally, the military planners do not believe there will be huge throngs at the border. A few thousand already dropped out of the caravan with it believed to be down to around 7,000 migrants, from as high as 10,000 previously.

 

The military is assuming that only about 20 percent of the group that has been traveling on foot for weeks will make it to the U.S. border. This means there will be five military personnel for each migrant to arrive at the border. And the U.S. militia will be backing them up. 

As it is, the National Guard has been at the border for months. They are not allowed to physically interact with migrants, so they do not have much to do. What are the military going to do? Will they be allowed to get physical? Will the U.S. militia?

 

This just does not seem like it will end well for anyone. Trump took a situation that was already out of control with that large of a group traveling on foot, and he is only made it worse with each of his threats.  

It seems like only a matter of time before the Trump administration is hit with lawsuits or court action over this. Just like the family separation policy, there is nothing wise about these threats and pledges. There is no good that can come from this politically charged situation. There is no good solution.

 

Trump set the "zero tolerance" policy to deter migrants at the border. He received so much flak for it that he signed an executive order to end it and then spent more time trying to reunite all the families. Some of them still have not been reunited. 

Yet, the largest caravan is now on its way to the border. Trump's methods are not a deterrent. All they do is ramp up like-minded individuals, such as the U.S. militia, and make the situation worse.

 

The situation was not this bad under former President Barack Obama. Contrary to what Trump might have people think, it is not because he made a pledge for open borders. He simply kept it within control. He did not draw a line in the sand.  

Trump is taking a humanitarian situation and taking the "humans" out of it, wanting to only make it about illegals, criminals, and Middle-Easterners.

 

It's only getting worse, and it's not getting better. Someone needs to take control of this situation before the migrants begin losing lives, and not because of our military, but because of this politically charged militia or from the treacherous conditions they face on their trek. 

And the one way to start making a dent in Trump's plans and actions is to vote on Tuesday.

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