Explaining the Caravan Issue
December 11, 2018
On Oct. 13, 7,000 Honduran citizens fled their home country in attempt to gain asylum from the U.S.. These migrants are fleeing a situation riddled with high crime rates, poverty and unemployment. As the caravan traveled further north, more migrants joined. The caravan provided an alternative route to the U.S. and one that is far less dangerous as no “coyotes”(smugglers) are involved. The caravan was brought to national attention when Republicans and President Donald Trump warned the American people of the incoming group of asylum seekers. The Republicans and Democrats, once again, are on opposite sides of this issue.
Democrats view this as a perfect opportunity to display to the world that the U.S. welcomes immigrants from all places, especially those who struggle the most in their home countries. It advances the Democrats’ pillar of “open borders” as well as the U.S. as a country of immigrants. Being that the vast majority of citizens today were at one point immigrants, it would be in bad faith for the government and those it represents to deny these asylum seekers entry. Additionally, more immigrants directly implies a more diverse community. Lastly, the granting of either citizenship or asylum to these immigrants also represents something larger – a victory against President Trump’s agenda of anti-immigration – conveying a monumental victory for Democrats around the country.
On the contrary, the Republicans believe that this caravan and its participants do not warrant asylum. The migrants in the caravan have fled mainly because of economic reasons, they do not meet requirements of asylum seekers, often connected with abusive governments. Additionally, Mexico offered asylum to all those part of the caravan, which the migrants rejected. Many Republicans believe that the situations these migrants endured cannot be as dire as described because they rejected asylum from a nation that is more similar in culture than the United States.
The U.S. provides grand amounts of aid to these Central American countries – to ensure that their citizens live well – if governments cannot meet these standards, President Trump threatened to cut off financial aid. Secondly, Conservatives believe that these immigrants take advantage of the “catch-and-release” laws in the U.S. that force immigration officers to release the illegal immigrants back into the general population after 20 days of holding. For these reasons, Republicans continue to stand against the caravan, and use it as political ammunition for the wall that President Trump promised during his controversial campaign for presidency.