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Caravans and Common Sense

Don Rose 28 November 2018 One Comment

If there was not a “caravan” of some 5000 asylum-seeking migrants at our southern border,  it would be necessary for Donald Trump to invent one in order to panic the congress into giving him billions of dollars to build that wall Mexico was supposed to pay for.

Art Blakey Caravan 001

   So he only has to invent fearsome myths about those caravans  to scare us into believing our very safety and democracy is being threatened. He has inflated a major administrative problem–processing huge numbers of asylum seekers–into an existential crisis requiring the US Army to save us.

    Let’s back up a bit and examine what the caravan scare is all about.

   First off, there have been caravans in past years–though smaller than the current ones. Migrants, mostly from Central America, would trek across Mexico, cross our border and peacefully present themselves as asylum seekers. Several hundred would actually gain asylum after months-long waits. Most would be rejected and either return home or find haven in Mexico or elsewhere.

  Yes–a few dozen, maybe up to a hundred of the rejected would find some illegal way to enter the US. But as we know, contrary to Trump’s  scare-talk, in immigrant communities crime rates among both legal entrants and the undocumented are lower than in communities of US citizens.

  Trump says the current caravan includes about 500 bad guys–gang-bangers, crooks and “Middle Easterners” i.e., terrorists.  This supposedly was determined by spies embedded in the caravans and by paid informants.

   My question is, why would all those potential evil-doers choose to travel in the caravans that are so carefully scrutinized and vetted?  Genuine bad guys–and there are some–find less visible routes and clandestine ways to breach the border. They have done so in the past. They are unlikely to be dumb enough to be scrutinized along with legitimate asylum seekers and risk being identified.

    It’s also clear that the caravans–heavily populated with women and children–have no ability to “invade” the US. Unarmed? Against guns and tear gas–even used on children?  Trump’s scare-talk defies logic.

   It also defies logic to believe that Democrats or their wicked financier George Soros are urging the creation of more and more caravans. The caravans do not serve any purpose for Democrats. They are in fact a political liability, despite the myth that Dems want open borders so the tide of new immigrants, documented or undocumented, will vote for them. But perhaps it is too much to expect logic from this administration. Or truth.

     There is no question that we need comprehensive immigration reform. Democrats and Republicans have proposed such bills in past years but the Trump Administration has never done so. It obviously finds a political advantage in exacerbating our engrained xenophobia instead of seeking rational solutions to a genuine problem that is being felt throughout the Western world.

    Fortunately Trump’s xenophobic scare-talk did not prevent his losing the House of Representatives in November’s big blue wave. He’s still at it, however, hoping it will keep him in office in 2020.

   Let’s wish him similar luck.

Don Rose is a regular columnist for the Chicago Daily Observer

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