by Sophie Werwage
Pro vs. Con: The Caravan
Two perspectives on recent immigration across the US-Mexico border.
December 23, 2018
Pro: Allowing migrants their right to asylum
The Viacrucis del Migrante, or Migrant’s Way of the Cross, has many misconceptions surrounding it, but a larger one is that what the migrants are seeking is perfectly legal. People who oppose the caravan have said that the migrants should ask for asylum instead of crossing the border illegally, but to do so, they have to be on United States soil. With Trump’s “zero-tolerance policy,” the process becomes infinitely harder. The policy prosecutes all individuals who illegally enter the U.S. Because of this, migrants cannot get the asylum they are so desperately seeking without first entering the U.S. To not let these hundreds of men, women and children into our country is more criminal than anything the migrants have done. This group of people has walked thousands of miles for a reason. They are not here to hurt us, but to keep themselves alive.
The violence these people have gone through is worse than anything imaginable, and it is greatly the fault of the U.S. We must acknowledge that a century of U.S.-backed military corps, corporate plundering and suspicious politics has played a part in creating the poverty, instability and violence that now drives people from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras towards Mexico and the United States. U.S. policies of military intervention and economic neoliberalism have undermined democracy and stability in the region for decades, creating opportunities for drug cartels to rise. There can be no sensible immigration “debate” when the U.S. completely ignores everything its done to contribute to crisis that it now rejects.
This is not the first time a group has formed originating from South America and made its way to the U.S. Last year, two separate caravans each drew 350 migrants. Some traveled all the way to the U.S., where they applied for asylum. Others sought protection in Mexico, while others dropped out along the way. A similar thing has happened with the caravan this year. While it was a much bigger group with 7,000 people, many of the members have dispersed and settled down in areas they passed through. And contrary to the widespread belief, many of those migrants plan to seek asylum in Mexico, not the U.S.
The main issue is the fact that there are many migrants who are planning to seek asylum in the U.S., but unlike Mexico, the U.S. has closed its borders and President Trump has refused to aid any migrants with the “zero-tolerance policy,” integrated May 18. With this policy, it makes it harder for these migrants to exercise their international right to seek asylum. The U.S. refusing to help the people that they extorted reveals the values that it lives by.
The U.S. is in a much better position to help. Currently, Mexico is in a state of reconstruction, as the new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has promised to help pull Mexico out of its corrupted state. There seems to be no room for the migrants at the moment there, while the U.S. has been prospering and ignoring the rest of the world suffering at its doorstep.
Allowing the migrants to come into our country would have more advantages than disadvantages. These hardworking people could benefit our economy greatly with their own talents. They all evidently came to the U.S. for a better life, and while doing so, they are willing to go to extremes to secure a future for themselves and their families. The U.S. has always prided itself in being independent, but ignoring the millions of people living realities worse than we could ever imagine is despicable.
Julia Novoa is a first year journalism writer in her junior year. She enjoys all types of music, basically every animal, and helping out in her community....
Con: America is not responsible for the migrants
Families traveling thousands of miles through different cities in Mexico only to reach the U.S. border in the name of asylum, are only angered even more when they get denied entry into the country. This is not the fault of the U.S. when these immigrants enviably get denied asylum. These people claim they have right to be granted asylum and I wholeheartedly agree, though there are other countries such as Mexico that could take in all of these immigrants.
The trauma that these people have faced in their home country is unimaginable. They should be able to seek a safer life, though the U.S. is not responsible for taking in the thousands of refugees that rush the border. The immigrants that come from South America are traveling on foot and by caravans. Immigrants travel all the way through Mexico just to reach the U.S. border and either try to illegally enter the county by scaling the fence, and/or they try to overpower the border patrol agents by throwing rocks and stones at them. This causes the immigrants to flee back down into Mexico as undocumented immigrants.
These confrontations at the border are not necessary. The immigrants that are fleeing from South America don’t need to come all the way up to the U.S. Mexico should grant these immigrants asylum. The U.S. already has 46.7 million immigrants within its borders, while Mexico only has 961 thousand immigrants within the country. So why is it on the U.S. to take in even more immigrants when we already have 40 times more immigrants than Mexico does? America does not have the job availability that Mexico has. The U.S. has the lowest African American unemployment rate the country’s history, and with that the Hispanic unemployment rate has dropped a full point as in on track to be the lowest in history. The job market is extremely competitive within the U.S., so these immigrants would have a better chance of finding work within Mexico.
Mexico has tons of safe towns that these immigrants have already been camping at while they are on their way to the border of the U.S. Mexico needs to set up an asylum program for all of the fleeing families from South America. They could provide a type of welfare program that America uses, and or they could have some type of temporary housing for immigrants. Anything to help these families establish a new life. They are already allowing immigrants to set up camp in Tijuana and other cities so they should allow these immigrants to live within their country.
America should not be responsible for taking in these thousands of immigrants; there should be other asylum options for them in other countries such as Mexico. Instead of having a conflict arise at the U.S. border between the border patrol and the immigrants, why doesn’t Mexico just take them into their country instead of having them start a even harder life if they were able to inside of the U.S.? The cost of living is higher inside of the U.S., there is a higher chance of discrimination and there are less jobs for immigrants. Though if they were to stay in Mexico, they could have an easier transition from their hard life in South America.