Olivia Pan ’20
Chief Opinions Editor
These last several weeks, there has been an extraordinary amount of discussion regarding a caravan of immigrants making their way towards the United States border. According to BBC, “There are several caravans moving north. The first and biggest is the one that left San Pedro Sula on 13 October.” It was originally estimated that 7,000 immigrants comprised the first caravan, but it is currently estimated that there are now between 4,000 and 5,000 immigrants comprising this first caravan that is traveling presently through Mexico to the U.S border, with most traveling from Honduras. (WashingtonPost). At least 2,300 children are a part of this caravan, according to Unicef.
Trump, in his consistent recklessness with the facts, has labeled this caravan of immigrants as being dangerous to American safety, and has threatened to send heavily increased border patrols. Trump previously stated, “We’ll go up to anywhere between 10 and 15 thousand military personnel on top of border patrol, ICE, and everybody else at the border” (Fortune). Trump had also previously tweeted that the caravan includes, “unknown Middle Easterners,” a claim he later acknowledged was unsubstantiated (CBS News). In fact, according to Business Insider, “Many of those in the caravan appear to be women and children, based on multiple reports from journalists who’ve been following it closely.”
Once again, Trump gets to make it up as he goes along, stoking fear and hate in his base of supporters, without even considering the facts regarding who actually comprises the caravan. And by doing so, he gets to feed into the anti-immigration rhetoric and fears that are present in this country, fears that are based on no more than misinformation and ignorance. I don’t know about you, but individuals fleeing violence and immense poverty in search of a better life do not pose a threat to my personal safety. Right now, I’m more concerned with the many disenfranchised and violent American men who are shooting up yoga studios, schools, and bars, etc. every other week. I’m also more concerned with the home-grown terrorists committing violent hate crimes, who are undoubtedly fueled by Trump’s rhetoric. That’s who I’m afraid of. The real threat is already here. The threat is not little children who are leaving behind horrid living situations in order to escape abuse and poverty. And despite what Trump would have you believe, immigrants do not comprise the majority of criminals in this country. In fact, according to a study published by the libertarian Cato Institute, “…native-born residents were much more likely to be convicted of a crime than immigrants in the country legally or illegally.”
We need to recognize the enemy. What truly poses a threat to our safety as Americans? Oftentimes, the boogey man lives right next door. All of Trump’s misinformation regarding this caravan as being immensely dangerous is simply an excuse for him to continue his anti-immigrant agenda and rile up his band of followers. I am not saying that we should not have security at our borders and for everything to be a free for all. However, I’ve got some bigger things on my mind than this caravan, and so should you: health care, random gun violence, sexual abuse going unpunished, the huge economic gap between the haves and the have nots in our country, which only fuels ignorance and hate. Those are some of the things that should keep us up at night. Poor, broken, hungry, and scared people making a run for safety and a better life doesn’t even make the top 10 on that laundry list.