What About the Caravan?
U.S. troops shot rubber bullets and tear gas at caravan members reaching the U.S. border. Why would people travel for one month to reach our border only to be fired upon?
Let’s look at the beginning. In mid-October about 160 people began their long dangerous journey from San Pedro Sula, Honduras. This is is the center for gangs and drug trafficking. The 160 people decided to travel together for safety, as is often done in their land.
By the time they reached the Guatemala border, more than 1000 people were in the caravan. By the time they reached Mexico, the caravan had more than 7000 travelers. People learned of this caravan through social media.
Their journey is propelled by what they are leaving. El Salvador has a high murder rate. Unemployment in Honduras is 60 percent. Every day those people are threatened with violence or death from gangs.
The dangers ahead are no worse than what they are leaving behind.
Migrants hope to apply for asylum. Some hope to cross illegally. Some have no idea what will happen. Oscar Chacon, executive director of Alianza Americas, says, “No one has the power to organize this many people. No one can engineer such an exodus.”
He continues, “When you are desperate, you believe in miracles.” Migrants want and need what we all need: food and security, a place to raise a family without starving or seeing a loved one murdered.”
California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas are the four states that share a border with Mexico. Those citizens know first-hand about Central and South American people coming to our border. Yet only 21 percent of those citizens think the caravan is a major threat.
Seventy percent of Americans say that these migrants should be allowed to enter our country. The migrants would need to show they were persecuted in their home country and that they do not have a criminal record.
Here are other figures from the Monmouth University Polling Institute: “29 percent of Americans see the migrant caravan traveling toward our border with Mexico as a major threat to the U.S.
A majority of Republicans (54%) see the caravan as a major threat. Only 28% of independents and 11% of Democrats see the caravan as a major threat.”
While the White House declares this caravan as our enemy, we really are interconnected. Go back some decades to the U.S. economic policies. The violent drug trade in the migrants’ home countries is fueled in large part by gangs founded in the US and by Americans’ demand for illegal drugs.
If the US cuts off aid to Central America, it will only bring more desperate people to our doorstep.