The loud minority advocating for stronger immigration laws usually argues that immigrants are welcomed as long as they follow the law. Come to America but just follow the laws they collectively proclaim. The Caravan followed the law and guess what happened? The loud minority groaned, keep them out of America!
“It is an invasion!” they collectively scream to those around them. A sampling of those opposed to the Caravan immigrants ranges from “No, get the @#$@ out of the country” to the various sentiments that the United States doesn’t “have to do anything” for them all the way unto the frustration that Donald Trump is now considering work permits for immigrant workers. Lost in the anti-immigrant rhetoric is the simple fact that the Caravan is doing exactly what the law requires.
First and foremost, to those demanding that México do something or keep them in México need to remember that the rule of law requires that México does not apply U.S laws extra-judicially. The members of the caravan are legally in México. They have permits from the Mexican government. Those that were not legally in México were deported.
As for México keeping them in México, México offered asylum to them and some took it. Others decided to continue unto the United States. Cuba and North Korea forcefully keep their citizens from leaving their countries. Those of you arguing that México illegally and forcefully impedes the Caravan immigrants to travel through México to get to the United States likely believe that what Cuba and North Korea is doing to its citizens is wrong. So why the double standard?
As for American law, the Refugee Act of 1980 sets the law as to how the United States will deal with immigrants seeking refugee status. The process is enshrined in the law. When an immigrant tells an immigration agent that they fear returning to their country, a legal process is launched. That is the law. The law does not convey automatic status to the immigrant, all it does is start a process that takes years and results in either the would-be immigrant being detained or released to the community. The law provides for a process to determine whether the would-be immigrant qualifies as a refugee or not.
That is the law in America.
What the Caravan immigrants are doing is what the anti-immigrants are demanding – follow the law. In return, what they are getting is the United States breaking its own law by using bureaucracy and subterfuge to impede the refugees from availing themselves of the law.
The law lays out a process that requires the refugee status seeker to seek out an immigration agent and ask for asylum. They can do this be illegally crossing the border and turning themselves into a border patrol agent, or they can cross a legal point of entry and seek asylum at the border.
But, here is the catch. The United States uses private security guards on many of its points of entry. The private security guards act as gate keepers asking those approaching the immigration stations to show their documents to them before being allowed to continue.
First of all, and conveniently forgotten by many is that U.S. territory starts right at the line where border is recognized usually in the middle of the bridge. It does not start where the border agents are stationed. This is where the subterfuge starts. The private security guards are not immigration agents and thus they cannot process asylum requests. The subterfuge lies in that as private security guards, they cannot also determine if the documents presented to them are valid or not, yet they do that by keeping people away from the agents. By keeping them away from the agents, they are interfering with the law.
But the law is clear, those seeking asylum must turn themselves into any border agent, even after crossing the border illegally. If you wanted to avail yourself of the law and someone impeded you from it, like a security guard, what would you do? Look for a way around the security guard.
They say, we want immigrants but all we ask is that they follow the law. But when they follow the law, the government decides to break it because it has never been about following the law, but rather about keeping immigrants out of the country.