Caravan is 'dangerous, serious' situation

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Edgar Beem’s recent article, “The caravan is coming! The sky is falling!,” is simply another excuse to bash President Trump. If it was a serious commentary on the progress of the caravan of migrants surging toward the U. S. southern border, it would not contain such inaccuracies and misstatements.

Contrary to the assertion that these migrants are “mostly women and children,” the opposite is true. The Epoch Times reports that, according to the Department of Homeland Security, “Most of the migrants are fighting age males and that women and children are often pushed to the front to garner sympathetic media coverage.” (“More Than 500 Criminals Among Migrants Now at US Border: Homeland Security,” Nov. 20, 2018, www.theepochtimes.com).

His statement that “Americans also understand that caravans are us” would not resonate in Tijuana, Mexico, where hundreds of migrants were bused. This unexpected influx of migrants into Tijuana, across the border from San Diego, California, caused Tijuana residents to hold a rally and urge the migrants to return to their home countries. The mayor of Tijuana, Juan Manuel Gastelum, reported there were 2,750 migrants in Tijuana and called it a “tsunami (“Tijuana mayor: Caravan a ‘tsunami.'” (Portland Press Herald, Nov. 17, 2018).

They continued their journey through Mexico after rejecting offers of asylum in Mexico.

And how did hundreds of migrants get to Tijuana? According to Anna Paulina, director of hispanic engagement for Turning Point USA, this effort is being supported by a Chicago nonprofit, La Familia Latina Unida.

Those arriving will be applying for asylum and under our law the migrants have to be detained until they have their court hearings. However, because of limited detention facilities, they are released into the country, and are required to appear before an immigration judge to hear their case. This is the “catch and release” policy initiated under the Obama administration in 2014.

This policy has resulted in a huge backlog of cases to be heard by immigration judges. The “caseload” through August 2018 was 764,561 according to a November 2018 report from the Center for Immigration Studies. This means it will be years before the cases of those migrants coming in the caravan, applying for, and being granted a hearing will actually be heard.

Many will not show for their hearings and many will be denied asylum. The denial rate has shot up from 33.5 percent in fiscal year 2017 to 41.8 percent in the first two quarters of fiscal year 2018 (“New Immigration Court Statistics Released,” Center for Immigration Studies, May 10, 2018).

Those who do not show up for their hearing can receive a deportation order in absentia. According to a May 2018 Center for Immigration Studies report, 40,579 in absentia removal orders were issued in fiscal year 2017.

Basically, we have thousands of migrants assaulting our southern border seeking asylum, which will be denied to a large percentage of them. Many others will not show up for their hearings, and will be given deportation orders in absentia, all with an increasingly huge backlog that will take years to clear.

The system is not only “broken,” it is shattered, and President Trump is the only one attempting to performing a constitutional officer’s principle responsibility of insuring the safety, security and sustainability of our nation.

Mr. Beem performs no useful service with his mocking and satirical tone in an attempt to trivialize what is a very dangerous and serious situation for our nation.

Bob Casimiro
Bridgton
Executive director, Mainers for Responsible Immigration

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