Trump wants to create sparks in dealing with the migrant caravan from Central America to the U.S.
Even though Donald Trump wants them far away, tens of thousands of migrants crossing Central America are already clustered in northern Mexico at the United States' doorstep. This issue requires an urgent resolution; however, the way the president wishes to resolve it will only aggravate the situation.
The Democrats' return to the majority in the House of Representatives after the midterm elections now forces the Republican leader to consult with the opposition if he wants to change immigration legislation, and therefore, complicates the caravan’s entrance into America.
Dialogue with the Democrats does not seem like the path the White House has chosen. Trump issued an executive order decreeing that the government would only review asylum requests from people who seek asylum at the official ports of entry on the border and wait for the process outside the country.
On Monday (Nov. 19), a federal judge suspended Trump’s order, ruling that it is up to Congress to change asylum policy.
Pursuant to his style of administration, the president wants to see sparks fly, starting with the recurrent association he makes between Democrats and the ever-growing flow of Central American immigrants. Before the federal court case, Trump launched the wild theory that the immigrants were encouraged to migrate to the U.S. to become anti-Trump voters.
For the president, the fact that members of this caravan wield the flags of their respective countries of origin (most are from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, which are among the poorest nations on the continent) is proof that, in fact, they do not want to immigrate. In other words, they are staging a politically driven stunt.
But logic dictates that these people are running from violence and lack of any prospects in hope of finding eventual opportunities in an expanding economy − something the leader in the White House likes to brag about, by the way.
We cannot be naive, however, when it comes to this shortsighted solution. It is convenient for Trump to treat illegal immigration purely through a repressive lens. Recent research conducted by the Pew Institute shows that 75 percent of Republican voters consider the issue to be a "very big" problem.
Despite gaining more popularity among his supporters, the strategy of blocking all routes to the U.S. can only delay, or at most, relegate to its neighbor, the need to offer an alternative to the immigrants.
Border control policies are certainly justifiable, but they should be accompanied by a more expeditious process that evaluates requests for asylum and maintains aid programs to Central American countries. Otherwise, the caravans will only grow.