“NEEDLESS PAIN AND SUFFERING”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Oct. 21, 2018) — According to The Tampa Bay Times on Sunday, a “caravan” of thousands of Honduran citizens continues on a path toward the United States after crossing from Guatemala into Mexico Saturday morning largely undisturbed.
Although Mexico has strict laws about illegal entry, many of its citizens are reportedly assisting the “migrants” who say they left their homeland because of poverty, violence and poor economic conditions. While some have been offered asylum interviews and visas by Mexican authorities, many intend to enter the U.S. with or without permission.
Mexican police were able to stop a number of travelers from crossing into Mexican territory using tear gas, but, according to The Times, “police could do little if anything in the face of the throngs who avoided the official entry point and crossed the notoriously porous border elsewhere.”
On Thursday President Trump threatened to call up the U.S. military to completely close the U.S.-Mexico border if the “caravan” could not be contained. However, on Saturday at a rally in Elko, NV, Trump praised the efforts of Mexican authorities to hold the caravan in check within its own borders.
As many as half of the people in the caravan, which has swelled and dwindled alternately, decided to return to Honduras as of Saturday, but on Sunday, The Guardian and others reported that the group now numbers 5,000.
On Sunday Trump called the troupe an “onslaught of illegal aliens” and said that “full efforts are being made to stop” them from crossing into the U.S. “People have to apply for asylum in Mexico first, and if they fail to do that, the U.S. will turn them away. The courts are asking the U.S. to do things that are not doable!”
Trump was likely referring to a 1997 court decision known as the “Flores agreement” which mandates that illegal-alien minors cannot be held in detention facilities for longer than 20 days. Since processing of groups of illegals crossing the border generally takes considerably longer than that, the Clinton administration, Obama regime, and now the Trump administration have been compelled to release the entire family units into the community to await a decision on their asylum applications or place the children with sponsors.
Earlier this year, the Trump administration was harshly criticized for allegedly seeking to “circumvent a court settlement that has, for 20 years, set standards for the care of children in immigration detention.”
On June 20, Trump signed an executive order intending to keep family units together, but a limited number of housing units equipped to accommodate families has hampered its realization.
On Saturday Trump blamed the U.S. immigration system on “Democrats” and cited “needless pain and suffering” of those attempting to enter the country illegally. He called upon Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to contact him, apparently to discuss brokering new immigration laws.
Update, 10:37 p.m. EDT: The U.S. State Department issued the following statement on the “migrant caravan”:
The United States is closely following the migrant caravan, in which thousands of migrants from Honduras and other countries continue to make a dangerous journey through Guatemala and into Mexico. Many migrants are attempting to transit these countries and in the process are violating their sovereignty, their laws, and their procedures. As President Trump has stated, consistent with U.S. law, the United States will not allow illegal immigrants to enter or remain in the United States.
We are concerned that these migrants may be victimized by human smugglers or others who would exploit them. We also are deeply concerned by the violence provoked by some members of the group, as well as the apparent political motivation of some organizers of the caravan.
We understand Mexico will detain and repatriate migrants who enter Mexico in violation of Mexican law, and in instances where migrants apply for asylum, process the requests in accordance with Mexican law. We also understand that those who do not qualify will be returned in a safe and orderly process, consistent with Mexican law.
We welcome the Government of Mexico’s collaboration with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to address refugee and migration issues in the region, including the influx of people arriving in Mexico. The United States stands ready to assist the Government of Mexico in this effort.