Of the more than 1,000 migrants from Central America who set out in “caravan” to traverse the length of Mexico to seek asylum in the United States, a couple of hundred arrived at Tijuana on the American border. As of this writing, only ten remain on the Mexican side of the line, the rest having been admitted to file claim in the U.S. Although by international law claimants for asylum are required to make application to the first country they enter, lawyers representing or supporting the Caravan argue that Mexico is too unsafe a country to provide it with effective asylum. By this reasoning, the entire population of Mexico has a valid case to be resettled in the United States—a transferral that would make this country less safe by the addition of 130,759,074 people.
The Caravan is not an unprecedented event. Similar marches northward from the region have occurred in recent years. This one, however, grabbed attention, because American liberals and conservatives alike saw it as a defiant challenge from abroad to President Trump’s immigration policy and American immigration law that had been laxly enforced by his predecessors. But in this age of instant global communication, events such as this one—part demonstration, part threatened invasion—easily become a global inspiration, and a trend.
The danger of future imitative actions on a mass scale is greatly enhanced by the fact that the Caravan seems to have been less a spontaneous occurrence than something organized by “advocates” of open borders and unlimited immigration and migration from the Third World to the Western countries, “activists” who fully recognize the weaknesses of immigration law devised for an earlier time—indeed, for another world. Even the people charged with its application seem to not recognize the degree to which current law is not simply inadequate but gravely insufficient and ineffective—“unfit for purpose,” as the British say. “There’s a right way [to enter the United States] and a wrong way to do it,” Tom Homan, acting director of ICE, remarked recently, in reference to the Caravan members whose claims for admission are now being heard in California. Even Donald Trump has argued in similar terms; both men are apparently willing to concede that further immigration to the United States is fair and desirable, if only everyone come here legally—a tacit endorsement of the claim that America is indeed “a nation of immigrants,” and that she should continue to be so forever.
The Caravan plainly demonstrates the inadequacy of our antiquated asylum laws and a dire warning that there is a need to suspend them at once, and for as long as may be required for Congress to rewrite the corpus to reflect the realities of the new age of international migration. Though the large majority of Caravaners seem to be plain economic migrants seeking access to the free and generous benefits and services mandated for the support of the native poor, there are, no doubt, some fleeing “persecution”—though, even then, to describe slum inhabitants preyed upon by their neighborhood gangs as “persecuted” is more than a stretch. Being threatened by street thugs is not the same thing as being sent to the Lubyanka or Siberia for your political opinions. Yet there are many millions, perhaps even billions, of people around the world who could say as much for themselves—and more, by fairly claiming to suffer real (political) persecution under the murderous tyrants who bestride the shitholes of this world. In the past, the United States was open to such people—mainly from other Western countries experiencing what, in the historical context, was a fleeting political anomaly, and usually restricted to a particular group or class of people, such as the European Jews in the 1930’s. But today, great masses of human beings representing cultures radically dissimilar from—and often incompatible with, or even hostile to—our own can lay plausible claim under current law (as interpreted by the legal representatives of the Frankfurt School, at least) to asylum in America. And it is here that numbers are crucial, as indeed they have been in every aspect of our immigration crisis during the past half-century.
Nevertheless, American liberals, many American conservatives, and other governments and their countries around the world assume as a matter of fact and simple justice that the United States has a special, almost a unique, obligation to welcome as many asylum seekers as present themselves at our embassies and borders seeking admission. One would think that America exclusively, among all the countries in the world, is the fit and proper destination for the world’s persecuted, oppressed, and downtrodden.
There are, of course, scores of other perfectly acceptable alternatives available to people seeking a new, secure, and comfortable home. Madura’s repressive Marxist regime is prompting thousands of Venezuelans to escape to Colombia, Brazil, and other countries of South America, a wealthy and relatively stable continent that has the further advantage of being part of the Indo-Spanish culture they belong to and thus a far more natural refuge than El Norte—even though it does not offer the lavish “benefits” the U.S. bestows on the asylum seekers and huddled masses to whom she gives shelter. Rather than having given the Caravan safe passage north the Mexican government, apparently unwilling to accept it in its own country, should have turned it around in its tracks and sent it southward toward the Isthmus to find refuge beyond in a more hospitable clime, and a culture more compatible with its native one.