Op-Ed: Migrant Caravan Deserves Empathy, Not Hatred


Photo illustration purchased from BigStock.com.

Photo illustration purchased from BigStock.com.

Since the 2016 campaign trail, President Trump has made it exceptionally clear that he feels no sympathy for immigrants seeking refuge and asylum in the United States.

He also feels no remorse for further complicating the process of relocating to a safe environment, and acting on threats of deportation and imprisonment.

This summer, countless articles appeared about Trump’s detention centers, which separated children from their families. In recent months, however, this atrocity has been overshadowed and managed to escape further public scrutiny.

Today, a new and looming “threat” has captured attention and sparked public debate about immigration policies.

In early October, a group of about 7,000 immigrants began traveling on foot from Honduras to the southern border. Since then, the numbers have dwindled to around 2,500, as countries along the way have processed asylum cases.

As the caravan nears the United States, Trump has made it clear that he is willing to use force to uphold his deranged understanding of immigration law, ordering upward of 5,200 troops to the Mexican border. Moreover, Trump has also suggested “cutting off, or substantially reducing” aid to origin countries as a repercussion of their failure to stop the caravan. 

Trump has also offered a number of speculative theories as to who is organizing the caravan and what their intentions might be. For an Oct. 21 tweet, he wrote, “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners” are hiding amongst asylum seekers. 

In another tweet, he wrote that the caravan is being led by the Democratic Party, and is an “assault on our borders.”

A recent controversial television ad, paid for and endorsed by Trump’s campaign team, took things to another offensive level. 

Border patrol has stated that they are planning to process asylum applications for women, children, and the elderly, before taking any further action.

Still, Trump has made it clear that he is going to try his hardest to bar migrants from entering the country—even as this violates the Refugee Act of 1980, which seeks to “provide a permanent and systematic procedure for the admission to the United States of refugees of special humanitarian concern to the U.S., and to provide comprehensive and uniform provisions for the effective resettlement and absorption of those refugees who are admitted.”

Migrants endure tremendous, unimaginable hardship before making what I can only imagine is the incredibly difficult decision of leaving their own country.

Even the thought of turning refugees away by threatening to use military force is nothing short of deplorable. America was founded as a beacon of hope, and it has remained as such for much of its young history. Today, we are in danger of abandoning our core principles. 

Trump continues to swirl rumors that through executive action, he will impose new citizenship and asylum regulations in December, which would allow him to bar certain groups of people, including refugees, from entering the country.

There is no conclusive way to predict how this will end up when the caravan reaches the border. In light of the results of the recent midterm elections, I have hope that our nation will show refugees the empathy they deserve.