Trump sends troops to the border

Matthew L. Self

A caravan comprised of a variety of people from South America is heading for the southern U.S. border at a slow but deliberate pace. The situation has caused a great deal of concern from both Republican and Democrat voters.

The caravan began its march in San Pedro Sula in Honduras with a relatively small group of 160 locals who began the long trek north on Oct. 12. More people joined the caravan until their numbers swelled to well over 7,000 migrants. The migrants are fleeing from violence, corruption and poverty in their home nations. According to many of the migrants in the caravan, no one person is responsible for getting the movement started. Rather it was created by groups of locals who decided that they could no longer live in their current circumstances.

Both the Republican and Democratic parties in the U.S. are concerned by this march. This event takes place just before the 2018 midterm elections and Trump’s reactions have created issues on both sides. Both the Democratic and Republican parties have flung their fair share of accusations at one another in recent weeks as they attempt to use this event to sway voters to their side.

President Trump gave a speech on Nov. 1 to address the issue of the migrant caravan and how it would affect the American people. In his opening statements, he stressed that the migrant caravan would be a burden to the United States should it successfully cross the border. Trump also called it a blow to immigrants who have gone through the arduous process of becoming citizens legally.

“Illegal immigration hurts American workers, burdens American taxpayers, undermines public safety and places enormous strain on our local schools, hospitals and communities in general, taking precious resources away from the poorest Americans who need them most. Illegal immigration costs our country billions and billions of dollars a year,” President Trump said. “Mass uncontrolled immigration is especially unfair to the many wonderful, law-abiding immigrants already living here who followed the rules and waited their turn. Some have been waiting for many years, some have been waiting for a long time, they’ve done everything perfectly.”

Over 7,000 active duty troops have been deployed at the border in the states of Texas, Arizona and California to prevent the migrant caravan from crossing into the U.S. They are meant to act as a supplementary force to the border patrol agents who are thinly stretched in protecting the border. Army units are mostly assisting in the form of transportation for the border patrol agents and by helping them erect barricades and temporary housing centers. The troops that have been sent to the border contain military police, military engineers, medical personnel and more. These untis will be armed but will also have non-lethal weapons should they encounter any conflict with the caravan.

The migrant caravan is still hundreds of miles from the border, only recently arriving at Mexico City. The government of Mexico has offered to grant asylum to any immigrants who remain in the country. Around 1,700 immigrants have accepted Mexico’s deal while the remainder are determined to continue their journey to the southern border of the U.S.

There have been many clashes between the Mexican police and the migrant caravan, such as when the caravan crossed Mexico’s southern border. Hundreds of migrants clashed with Mexico’s police in a brutal meeting that left one migrant dead, supposedly by a rubber bullet fired by Mexican police.

Jackson Woods, the head of the college democrats on campus, is of the opinion that sending troops to the border is a waste of funds and is of questionable legality.

“There are better ways to respond to events like this than a costly military operation, given the possibility of ‘mission creep,’” said Woods. “Steps like these respond to the short-term symptoms and not the long-term causes of people coming to the United States- if this administration wants less people to try and come to the U.S. we need to make other places better.”

Woods is afraid that sending the military will only inflate the issue and is largely unnecessary, a fear that many other Americans hold in the days preceding the midterms. Others support the president’s move to defend the border just as they are concerned for their own livelihoods and the impact of what thousands of illegal migrants entering the country would have on our economy.

Concerned citizens such as Charlee Bonczkowski, president of the College Republicans on campus, believes that the caravan poses a danger to the country.

“We need a stronger border and I think it is worth it to put more money into its protection. Illegal immigration hurts our economy as we have to take care of them through our welfare programs. If they were to come here legally then they could earn their right to be a citizen,” Bonczkowski said. “It’s not just a Republican issue, there are many Democrats I’ve spoken with who think it’s an important issue. I think that we will see more Democrats voting for Republican candidates as they’re against illegal immigration.”

The migrant caravan is not expected to reach the southern U.S. border for at least another two months, which will leave the situation up to debate between the concerned citizens of our nation.