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.