A wave of Central American migrants rush the U.S. border (Photo courtesy of Ramon Espinosa of the AP)


Opinion: The Caravan should not be let in

In Nov. 2018, the media covered a massive caravan of more than 7,000 migrants from Central America, the United Nations estimated. They have tracked their movement from the Central American country of Honduras all the way into the city of Tijuana where they have been waiting. President Trump has responded to the caravan of migrants…
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/stephenkim1221/" target="_self">Stephen Kim</a>

Stephen Kim

January 21, 2019

In Nov. 2018, the media covered a massive caravan of more than 7,000 migrants from Central America, the United Nations estimated. They have tracked their movement from the Central American country of Honduras all the way into the city of Tijuana where they have been waiting. President Trump has responded to the caravan of migrants by calling it an “invasion” through a firestorm of tweets and to reporters. He has even mobilized the U.S. military and has deployed more than 5,000 troops to the border, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Media such as CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and NBC along with numerous newspapers such as The New York Times and Washington Post have argued throughout the media cycle that the caravan that were people wishing to seek asylum in the United States and that they were coming here to escape the violence of Honduras that is one of the murder capitals of the world. They have argued that there were many women and children trying to come for a better life. However, media reporters from MSNBC and Fox actually disproved this common claim made my the mainstream media.

MSNBC had live reporter Gadi Schwartz in Tijuana and he reported that the caravan was mostly men and that they had “not articulated that need for asylum,” but instead said they are looking for work and a better life. That is a major issue of concern as the media has portrayed the caravan to be mostly women and children that were looking for asylum, but instead it is the complete opposite. According to Fox News, approximately 80 to 90 percent of the caravan are young men seeking work and better lives. People that wish to have a better life and wanting work does not grant one asylum.

The U.S. government only grants asylum regarding people that are fleeing because of persecution as a result of “race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion” according to official website of the Department of Homeland Security. The caravan cannot apply for asylum because they do not fall under any of these conditions; they are here to get better jobs and better lives and that does not make them eligible for asylum in the United States.

The migrant caravan also has reportedly been housing close to 600 criminals according to the Department of Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. These include people that are trying to illegally reenter the country after being deported, drunk driving crimes in the U.S., and more serious crimes such as rape, murder, and other serious felonies according to the Department of Homeland of Security. This is a serious issue as almost 10 percent of the caravan would be a criminal and greatly reducing the safety of American citizens.

Now, this is not saying that all of the caravan members are criminals or felons. What this is showing is that there are dangerous individuals within the caravan and the U.S. cannot let these types of people enter the country. The U.S. should have the right to vet and background check each of these individuals before they can even think about setting a foot in the country and apply for asylum. Fox News had a reporter on the ground that was interviewing members of the caravan.

Correspondent Griff Jenkins interviewed one caravan member who said he is attempting to flee because he was charged with attempted murder in Honduras, Even the L.A. Times reported that the U.S. had arrested a MS13 member as well as a convicted murderer that were present in the caravan. The U.S. cannot take the risk of letting these people in when there are active criminals that could jeopardize the safety of Americans.

Letting these people in will also undermine the legal immigration system that is in place. It is unfair for those that have applied for citizenship or permanent residence in the country by investing time and money. These people went through the right way to come into the country and it is unfair that a few thousand people get to rush the border and be granted asylum so that they could stay in this country. It is unfair that people have to wait close to two years for citizenship or permanent residence. If these people want to come into this country, they have to go through the right way by waiting patiently and going through the process just like other immigrants such as my own mother that applied and waited for a green card and later became a citizen.

What also doesn’t make any sense is the fact that these people have been offered asylum by the Mexican government, but they have refused. If this caravan was truly seeking asylum, they would’ve accepted the proposal from the Mexican government, but instead they demand that they enter the U.S. even though they have no right to enter our country!

Finally, we must think about our own citizens. The caravan has been attempting to cross in the California via the San Ysidro port of entry. Now, California currently has one of the highest levels of poverty in the United States. It has a whopping 14.3 percent of people in the state that are below the poverty level. California also has a housing crisis where rent is high and not enough housing units available.

Homelessness is a big issue especially in our city of Los Angeles where we see homeless people all over the streets. We have our own issues to deal with, and we can’t just be allowing more people to come in that already poor and are low-wage, low-skill workers. The government’s jobs is to protect, provide, and care for its citizens, but how can we be a country if we continue to bring in poor foreign nationals without taking care of own?

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