Migrant Caravan

          America has always prioritized supporting other nations. As a global leader, the U.S. helps many countries in many ways, whether through strong military support, diplomatic relations, or relief and aide. People can immigrate to America in hopes of a better life. However, those unable to wait–often due to impending danger–can try seeking asylum. The United States has granted asylum to an average of 23,669 people each year since 2007. Asylum is protection for those meeting the international law definition of a refugee. The United Nations define a refugee as “a person unable or unwilling to return to his or her home country, and cannot obtain protection in that country, due to past persecution or a well-founded fear of being persecuted in the future on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” In the past month, a caravan of migrants from Honduras has been trekking to America, hoping to seek asylum. The caravan has caused lots of argument among Americans, as citizens and politicians are divided about how to act.

        On October 12, a large group of Hondurans planned to migrate to the United States. About 7,000 people started in the group, which has since grown. Among those interviewed, there are several reasons that people are taking part in the trek. Some are looking to flee gang violence and the lawlessness. Others are simply wanting to get out of poverty. The caravan has traveled through several countries and are right now passing through Mexico. They have walked, rode buses or on the back of trucks, or any other way they can find. They stop in towns to bathe and look for any generosity they can get. In response to the news that the caravan intends to reach America, President Donald Trump sent over 5,200 military personnel to the southern border. They joined 2,000 National Guard Members as well as Customs and Border Patrol agents. The personnel are to ensure the border is not illegally breached while putting up new defenses like concertina wire. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the majority of the caravan reached border cities, like Tijuana. They have been protesting the slow pace of the U.S. granting asylum pleas. Some people have even been frustrated and tried crossing the border, only to be met by U.S. officials. Border patrol has arrested some of the crossers, while firing pepper spray at others. This situation is far from over and could escalate very quickly.

        The caravan has caused varied reactions from people of several countries. In Mexico, some citizens welcome and help the immigrants. Others, however, strongly oppose the travelers and have called upon the government to act after some Mexican troops and police officers were assaulted. There have been several protests from many Mexican people wanting the caravan out of their town. This has lead to many people looking down on and treating the migrants in a rude manner. Some citizens expressed concern over the supplies, safety, and ease in their neighborhoods, while others simply do not want foreigners. Meanwhile, Americans have been debating over what to do. Liberals want to be more open towards letting them in, while conservatives have expressed concern over national security. President Trump signed an executive order that anyone who crosses the border other than at an entry port will not be granted asylum, which was later overturned by federal Justice Jon Tigar. The migrants are able to apply for citizenship, but instead want an easy and cheap way in. While there is heavy gang violence in Honduras, it does not meet the requirements for gaining asylum. In addition, some of these people appear pretty violent and some criminals could easily slip in if we automatically let everyone in. As President Trump tweeted “They are fearful of being in their country–yet they are proudly waving their country’s flag.”  Since the most recent development, the Mexican government said they would deport the migrants who illegally crossed the border. America has closed traffic lanes from Mexico. Recent government reactions to the caravan will affect people from both countries in a number of ways.

        Jesus said in Mark 12:31 “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these.” And in Matthew 5:32 He said “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who borrows from you.” We as Christians should help others where we can. God has blessed us, so we can bless others even with something small. However, we are unable to help everyone out and completely fix their problems. Likewise, our country cannot help out every individual’s needs. We have our own problems to tend to like the national debt, veterans’ affairs, natural disasters, and school safety, to name a few. America can support these people in other ways and other countries can pitch in too. It is good to help out others, but we are unable to do so if we cannot take care of ourselves.




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