Earlier last week, news broke that a number of refugees had fled Honduras and were headed north. As they journeyed through several countries and across Mexico, they picked up an increasing amount of people. The group’s numbers are currently estimated to be around 3,500, though as they continue towards the United States, their numbers are becoming diminished due to travel time and lack of transportation. In the United States, President Donald Trump and the Republicans are using the so-called “migrant caravan” to excite their base, bringing the issue of immigration to the forefront of the national conversation — a tactic which was effective for them in the 2016 election. He recently deployed around 5,200 troops to the border, and expressed his willingness to deploy more if he deemed it necessary. While it is certainly not desirable for such a large number of refugees to try and force their way into the country, Trump’s scare tactics and disingenuousness regarding the severity of the threat should not be tolerated. In fact, similar situations arose during the presidency of Barack Obama, and he too deployed troops to strengthen the southern border on a number of occasions.
PHOTO COURTESY OF BREITBART
However perhaps more shocking than the rhetoric of the President is the complete and utter inability of the Central American countries’ governments to stop this caravan. The governments of Honduras and Guatemala both dispatched security forces to halt the movement of the caravan, but they were unsuccessful. With the two most basic jobs of a functional state being to collect taxes and enforce their borders, it is concerning that these countries are unable to control such a small number of people. While Mexico’s government has had limited success by offering members of the caravan asylum, they have also distanced themselves from Trump’s call to action in an attempt to not tie themselves to him while still maintaining relations with the United States. This is simply not acceptable, as any functional state with even a minimally competent government should not allow foreign migrants to illegally cross its borders into another country.
Building off of this, it is imperative that the United States controls its border in the way that these countries have not. Despite the attempts of certain Democrats to tie Trump’s decision to deploy troops to his recent comments regarding birthright citizenship, the issue of the caravan should not be taken lightly or disregarded. Irrespective of the fact that the caravan will not reach the United States for weeks, we should be prepared to help those among them who we can without compromising the security of our nation.
Ryan is a Political Science major with a minor in Law, Justice and Society.