Migrant Caravan Rhetoric Signals a Troubling Turn in American Policy

On Oct. 12, the first of what is now called “the migrant caravan” left Honduras, seeking asylum in Mexico or the United States.

Most of the 6,000 people in the caravan, a majority of whom are women and children, have applied for asylum in Mexico; however, that has not deterred President Trump and his terrified constituents from the calling the caravan an “invasion,” according to The New York Times. NYT also stated that Trump has deployed 7,000 soldiers to the border in an effort to defend it from the caravan, and some of his more grotesque supporters are patrolling the border to stop the Honduran families from applying for asylum.

Trump laid out his murderous agenda in a press conference stating that he authorized the military to treat rocks thrown at soldiers on the border as rifles, according to The Washington Post. The logical conclusion of Trump’s rhetoric is soldiers firing into crowds of civilians, and his ideas have been implemented in Israel, which routinely murders unarmed people trying to cross its border with Gaza.

For this reason, it is important to follow international events because things that become normalized by Americans overseas can easily be implemented in America. I think that it is plausible that in the confusion that ensues from the migrant caravan reaching the American border, some soldier or swinish militiamen will become frightened and shoot the refugees. In the aftermath, the same people who justified the actions of Israel will use the same logic to excuse brutality in America. For an example of the arguments that will be reused, I would suggest reading Samuel Rosner’s New York Times op-ed titled “Israel Needs to Protect Its Borders By Whatever Means Necessary.”

It is also important to understand international events because what goes around comes around. America has meddled in Latin America for well over a century, and now we are living with the consequences in the form of unstable neighbors. The United States has overthrown every government in Central America with the exception of Belize, yet we wonder why these nations can’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps. American companies have continuously dominated Honduras, the origin of the migrant caravan, and the U.S. frequently deployed its troops to enforce this economic dominance.

Constant U.S. imperialism causes instability which leads to war and migration. We respond to the precariousness of Central America with increased xenophobia and bloodthirstiness, and this cycle has led to Trump.

I haven’t really touched on the impracticality of deploying thousands of troops to the border or the ridiculous cost because anyone whose brain hasn’t completely rotted knows that the premise of these people being any sort of existential threat to the United States is absurd. However, what we must keep in mind is that even if Trump was just using the caravan to stir up people before the election, it doesn’t matter. The troops are still at the border and his words can’t be taken back; this increasing escalation is putting us on the road to exterminationist policies.

This summer we saw the separation of families at the U.S. border and American support for Israel mowing down civilians in Gaza, and this fall we have seen the implicit threat to kill immigrants, the attempted bombing of Trump critics, overtly bigoted political campaigns, and the worst anti-semitic hate crime in American history. All of this violence takes place parallel to the rise of the far-right globally; there is Duterte in the Philippines, Orban in Hungary, Le Pen in France, Bolsonaro in Brazil, Netanyahu in Israel, and Trump here.

We are on the road to an increasingly chauvinistic and inhumane future with our eyes wide open, and it isn’t completely Trump’s fault that he is able to capitalize on the monstrous tendencies that Americans already hold; we are all at fault.  

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