Facts about the Caravan

There is so much panic and false information floating around social media about the migrant caravan that’s making its way northward through Mexico that I thought I should weigh in, here. People are using these migrants as political pawns. Fine. But if you’re going to base your mid term votes on this issue, please at least get your facts straight. Then feel free to make your own decisions.

First of all, lets look at the raw numbers. Seven thousand people sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Enough for an invasion. Actually, given that the population of the US is now well over 328,800,000, well, this caravan comprises less than 0.002 percent of our population.

That’s a tiny little number. Think about it. If you had acne on 0.002 percent of your face, you wouldn’t even have bothered asking the photographer to airbrush your high school yearbook photo.

And of that tiny little percentage of humanity, many of them are women and children. So no need to lock up your daughters. You’re safe. (Also, from the looks of them, they haven’t even crossed the bulk of Mexico yet, and they are already exhausted, thirsty, hungry, and hardly in any shape to mount an invasion. Could you walk 2000 miles with toddlers and then kick the butt of the most militarized nation on the planet? I don’t think so.)

Even if all 7,000 were given asylum in the US, that would come to 140 people per state. Surely we could absorb that number. Especially since they are fleeing violence and/or seeking a better life for their families, just as my grandparents did (and yours as well, most likely).

But here’s the thing. 7,000 will never be given asylum in this country, even in a more politically friendly atmosphere. More like a couple hundred at most. If that. You know how I know? Because these caravans have been happening FOR THE PAST 20 YEARS.

Yup. Years. Matter of fact, the last one happened just last April. There was also one in April of 2017. You know why you’ve forgotten about it, even though Trump predictably freaked out back then as well? Because, of the over a thousand people who participated that time, only 108 sought asylum in the US, and of those, more than half were immediately denied. So the world did not come to an end.

This particular caravan just happened to be timed badly enough to be twisted into a conservative talking point prior to the mid term elections, at a time when the republicans are terrified that they will lose congressional power.

Here are some other things you need to know, according to Politifact.

  • Trump tweeted that “unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in” with this group, but even he had to finally admit that there is ZERO evidence of that. The fact that he would even say that should show you what his motivations are. He wants you to be afraid. And that will probably work, if you are the type that thinks that all Middle Easterners are terrorists.

  • This caravan is not using trains or buses. The photos you are probably seeing floating around Facebook are from previous caravans. Most of these people are walking, and many have toddlers in tow. They’re lucky to make 10 miles a day.

  • These immigrants are not burning the American flag, nor are they carrying the Honduran flag. They also haven’t painted any swastikas on the American flag, or defaced one in any way. (It would be rather counterproductive if they did, wouldn’t it? Think about it.)

And here’s a good point from Snopes. It’s not the Mexican government’s responsibility to make immigrant decisions for the United States. They are not our servants or our lackeys. They are their own country and can do whatever they want therein. So stop being pissed off at Mexico for not turning these people around before they become “our problem”.

Another point. And I’m drawing from an article in Wired for this personal conclusion: While many conspiracies out there are trying to say that this is some grand liberal agenda, get a grip. Why would liberals want to fire up the conservative base in such a fashion? What on earth would liberals gain?

Please use some common sense, people. Breathe. Think.

And please vote.

Migrant Caravan

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My Truth About Mexico

In my sophomore year in college, I had the great good fortune to study abroad in Guanajuato, Mexico. I think everyone should study abroad at some point. It expands your worldview. And based on commentary in recent years, it’s painfully clear that America’s worldview needs expanding, especially in terms of our neighbor to the south.

When I lived in Mexico, I made some friends that I still have to this day. I learned a lot about myself and what is important to me. I was exposed to art, education, history, literature, architecture, and exquisite food. I met decent, hard-working, loving and dedicated families.

Guanajuato is a college town, full of students anticipating bright futures, and bringing with them the energy and excitement that only people of that age can bring. And because of that, this is a city full of cultural activity and many opportunities for learning.

Does this surprise you? It shouldn’t, but it probably does. If that fool Donald Trump and the media in general are the rulers by which we measure Mexico, then the average American thinks that all Mexicans are living in scummy little border towns full of drugs and prostitution and tacky tourism, and that they are all planning to descend en masse on the USA, so that they can rob and rape and plunder. Run for the damned hills! No American is safe! No wonder so many people are pushing for a wall to be built.

This attitude makes me sick. It also makes me sad. When I tell people I lived in Mexico, you know what the most common question is? “Did you see a dog and pony show?” Seriously. And the answer is no. I wouldn’t even know where to find one if my life depended on it. What I did see was the Bolshoi Ballet when it toured in our town.

I once got into a heated argument with someone who said, “Those GD Mexicans just want to take our jobs.” Here’s something that doesn’t seem to occur to the average American. Not every Mexican wants to move to America. And the ones that come are either doing so out of desperation and take jobs most of us wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole or are (gasp!) already capable professionals who want to make a new start like most of our ancestors did. Both groups make important contributions to this society.

Yes, there is poverty and despair, but Mexico is also a country that’s full of doctors and lawyers and teachers and accountants and shop owners and bankers and clerks, and they love their country as much as we love ours. It’s because of them that their country functions, and they have every right to be proud of that.

So before you start disparaging an entire nation of people, you might want to look beyond the border towns and your unfounded preconceived notions and see the real people of Mexico. If you’re not willing to do that, then you’ll have to forgive me if I’m not willing to take your prejudices seriously.

Guanajuato, Mexico, one of the best places I've ever been.
Guanajuato, Mexico, one of the best places I’ve ever been.