President Trump plans to take executive action to prevent the entry of thousands of desperate men, women, and children who make up the Honduran Caravan through the U.S. border shutdown, troop deployment, and a “tent city” which would violate International Law, through the Refugee Act of 1980 which entitles people claiming asylum a fair hearing. Trump’s anti-immigration agenda seems to be resonating with his supporters. This is evident by the use of anti-immigrant rhetoric and the thousands of troops being sent to the U.S. Southwest Border, which according to the Washington Post, is “the largest peacetime deployment of active-duty troops to the border in nearly a century.”
The Caravan is the second wave of people seeking asylum in the U.S. since April. The Honduran Caravan, which according to the UNHCR is made up of 7,000 refugees, has made its way from Honduras, through Guatemala and Mexico with the projection for the United States. The people who make up the Honduran Caravan are fleeing crime and poverty in their home country. According to the New York Times, refugees are traveling in large groups for safety and strength in number instead of traveling discreetly. The journey to the United States is still rough and full of hardships.
Currently, members of the Caravan have had trouble moving freely through Honduras and Guatemala. Making it out of Honduras has proved increasingly difficult as the Honduran government has blocked their border limiting who can leave the country. On the other side, the Guatemalan government has been sending people back to Honduras. These actions are contrary to international law. Both Honduras and Guatemala are members of the C4 region which allows free movement between the countries without the need of passports. The biggest question in the news is what is going to happen when the Honduran Caravan reaches the U.S. border.
President Trump’s reactions to the Honduran Caravan have been clear, on Thursday, October 31, Trump commented, “Our military is being mobilized at the Southern Border. Many more troops coming. We will NOT let these Caravans, which are also made up of some very bad thugs and gang members, into the U.S. Our Border is sacred, must come in legally. TURN AROUND!” Here again, the President ignorantly tweeted that “Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S. We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them.” This tweet shows his lack of knowledge on International Law which protects all citizens right to leave their country. According to the Independent, President Trump even goes on to say that “I told them to consider it a rifle. When they throw rocks like what they did to the Mexican military and police I say consider it a rifle.” While the President seems to hype up the Honduran Caravan as a National Security Emergency, many Democrats believe this is a racist tactic to get more Republicans elected during the Midterm elections. In response to President Trump’s rhetoric, former President Obama said, “It’s designed to exploit our history of racial and ethnic and religious division that pits us against one an another – to make us believe that somehow order will be restored if it weren’t just for those folks who don’t look like we look.” It seems certain to many that fear is Trump’s number one tactic to gain support and the Caravan maybe his tool to get it.
The closing of the U.S. Southwest Border to asylum seekers would not only be unethical but most importantly unlawful. No matter political affiliations people have unalienable rights. The Declaration of Independence stresses all peoples rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” I believe the people who make up the Caravan are walking all this way to pursue happiness, to make a better life for them and their families. It is important to remember the meaning of the word unalienable, it means something that one cannot change. These are rights that no person or government can take away, especially President Trump. I believe the law must be upheld! All asylum seekers have the right to a fair hearing. As people, we must band together in times when hate is being instilled. In times when entire groups of people are labeled illegals and criminals because of the color of their skin. I applaud Obama and all those who speak up against the dehumanization of people.
According to the Washington Post, about 4,000 of the people who make up the Honduran Caravan has made it to Veracruz, Mexico, with their next goal being Mexico City. It is unclear what actions the Mexican Government will take. NBC says the Mexican Interior Department has had about 3,000 people apply as refugees. Amazingly some members of the Caravan are taking law into their own hands! According to the Independent, six Honduran refugees are suing President Trump and his administration for unlawful tactics toward asylum seekers. The attorney defending the refugees’ case is John Shoreman who, like me strongly believes in the right to life and liberty. According to CNBC, Mr. Shoreman “argues that some of Trump’s policy proposals violate the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment, which holds that ‘no person shall … be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.’” This case will be sure to draw more attention to the Trump Administrations unconstitutional plans.
If this Administration’s plans succeed, American values and rights will be at stake. We need to hold on to our rights and fight for those who are at a lesser advantage. If we do not, what other rights can be taken away on a whim of a President or for mere election advantage?