A brown wave is coming to the United States. On October 13, 2018, 4,000 or more citizens of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras walked out of their countries to escape from violent crime, poverty, and political corruption. Their goal is to reach the Land of Opportunity – the U.S. – and crash through the gates.
Even before this new surge of desperate South Americans heading north en masse, the U.S. border patrol agents stopped 37,544 undocumented immigrants in August. The following month, that number rose to 41,400.
“Shelters and churches along the border have been flooded as a result of the surge as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have been releasing hundreds of migrants from detention at a time.”
There are two ways to seek asylum in the United States:
- Affirmative asylum processing with the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) is for people physically present with the national borders. Form I-589 (Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal) is required.
- Defensive asylum processing is a request to prevent removal once inside the U.S. or at the border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents routinely direct would-be immigrants without proper legal documents or in violation of their immigrant status, as well as those caught trying to enter illegally, for defensive asylum processing.
President Trump wants to stop the brown tide before it gets here. He threatened to cut foreign aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras and possibly cancel our trade agreements with them. On October 18, Trump tweeted his priorities:
“The assault on our country at our Southern Border, including the Criminal elements and DRUGS pouring in, is far more important to me, as President, than Trade or the USMCA. Hopefully, Mexico will stop this onslaught at their Northern Border.”
On October 19, Trump told reporters that the flood of South Americans “might as well turn back, they’re not coming into this country.”
The same day, Trump and Mexican officials finalized a plan that had been in the works during the past few months on how to deal with the thousands of immigrants heading north.
Basically, the plan calls for Mexico to ask the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to establish shelters along the border between Mexico and Central America.
Yup. That ought to help a lot. (NOT.)
The Mexican UN appeal is driven by a desire to legally “head ’em off at the pass” and redirect traffic away from northern destinations. According to the Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Geronimo Gutierrez:
“That will allow us to have a process by which in our border we will make sure that of serving human rights, respecting international law, if there are legitimate claims to refugee, those can be processed in a very clear way.”
The problem with this sensible plan is just that: it’s sensible and law-abiding. The immigrants are passionate about making it to the U.S. border and will break laws if need be. Anything is better than staying put, apparently.
As proof of their drive and determination, come what may, yesterday, October 20, caravan migrants broke down the Guatemalan border fence and rushed into Mexico.
So much for an orderly crossing and legal paperwork processing.
After being attacked with stones, police equipped with riot shields met a group of the onslaught – more than 3,000 people – on the Mexican side of a border bridge at Tecun Uman in Guatemala. The 50 or so immigrants who were able to get past them were treated to a salvo of pepper spray. The rest of the group fell back into Guatemalan territory.
Mexican police closed the border gates and, through a loudspeaker, instructed the crowd, “We need you to stop the aggression.”
In response, some caravan members jumped off the border bridge into the Suchiate River. Some crossed the river by organizing a rope brigade. Others used rafts used by locals to ferry passengers across.
Meanwhile, Mexican police and immigration agents permitted small groups of ten to thirty asylum seekers who intend to apply for refugee status through the border gates. After filing a claim, a shelter takes them for the night.
But young men too eager to wait pulled on the fence until it came down. At that point, a large crowd of individuals and families rushed over the border into Mexico, regardless of the consequence.
“One way or another, we will pass,” the immigrants had chanted before the fence came down. As Edwin Santos from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, shouted, running with his wife and father into Mexico:
“We are going to the United States!” he shouted. “Nobody is going to stop us!”
Four Mexican police officers were injured in the border confrontation. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the caravan members had used women and children “as shields as they make their way through.”
In the understatement of the year, Pompeo called the play:
“This is an organized effort to come through and violate the sovereignty of Mexico. We’re prepared to do all that we can to support the decisions that Mexico makes about how they’re going to address this very serious and important issue to their country.”
But Pompeo failed to follow through to the logical conclusion of the international incident – that these thousands of border jumpers are heading directly to the United States’ border to force a conflict.
Trump has promised to close the U.S. border if Mexico can’t stop the massive influx of South American immigrants. This drastic action would “disrupt hundreds of thousands of legal freight, vehicle and pedestrian crossings each day.”
Placing the responsibility for the current situation on weak Democratic immigration laws, Trump tweeted:
“I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught — and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!”
Although GOP critics accuse Trump of grand-standing before the U.S. midterm elections with his get-tough talk on illegal immigrants, the President did not organize the caravan. He is simply dealing with the reality that thousands of unhappy South Americans want to bypass international laws and civil rules in order to relocate in a better place.
Trump has always been firmly opposed to harboring illegal immigrants in the country. He has overseen the deportation of many undocumented residents. His position on closing the U.S. border is well within his stated policy of zero tolerance toward unlawful entry.
Mexico’s efforts to control and deflect the north-bound immigrant caravan have dispersed some of them. But expect to see more drama when large groups show up on the doorsteps of the Land of the Free – just in time for the midterms.
The timing of this immigration crisis has made some observers wonder if billionaire radical liberal George Soros is behind the whole thing. Soros is the main contributor to the group Pueblos Sin Frontiers (Villages Without Borders) which has been organizing mass migratory caravans for years.