Article by Karin Bashir
On October, 12th, a caravan of migrants from Sad Pedro Sula, Honduras began their journey to the United States. The caravan gained both members and international attention as migrants from Guatemala and El Salvador joined the march. The caravan consists of approximately 7,000 migrants and UNICEF estimates that around 2,500 of them are children. They embarked upon the treacherous journey of thousands of miles to the US in order to flee political persecution, violence and destitute poverty in their home countries.
Yet despite the images of the elderly, bloody-blistered feet, and young children- Trump once again, has used fleeing migrants to incite anti-immigrant sentiment and responded by twitter claiming “bad thugs” and “gang members” are “invading” by way of the caravan. Both the mass exodus of migrants and the State’s response of criminalization bare striking resemblance to the mass migration of refugees in Europe which took place in 2015. Similar to the caravan, thousands of refugees fleeing persecution entered in massive groups crossing through the Balkans hoping to find safety and a future in the EU. European countries like Greece, Germany, and Austria (each the size of a US state) individually took in the thousands of refugees crossing by land and sea.
While the refugee crisis in Europe slowly evoked resentment leading to tightened borders, their reaction looks to be the picture of tolerance in comparison to Trump’s preemptive response. Consider that in 2015 alone, over 79,000 migrants entered Greece on their way into Europe. Yet in the face of a few thousand, Trump has decided to respond with violence. Trump aggressively stated that unless the caravan stops, he will cut off foreign aid to the region and in violation of international law, he is planning to deny Central Americans the opportunity to seek asylum. Further, he launched Operation Faithful Patriot sending what may grow to 15,000 troops to the border ordering them to respond to potential rocks thrown by migrants with gunfire. Just to reiterate- if one of the children of the caravan throws a rock, Trump, our commander in chief, wants soldiers to shoot the child—an act once again in clear violation of international law.
With the caravan nearing the border and Trump’s plan of action changing by the day, there is no telling what will happen when the exhausted women, children, and men arrive at our doorstep. We can only hope that international and internal pressure will force bigotry and baseless fear to step aside and finally make way for human rights.