By Duke Staff
Imagine leaving behind all you knew to trek over 1,000 mile to a place you’ve only ever heard of, where the leader actively despises you. This is the situation that several thousand Central American asylum seekers have found themselves in over the past three weeks.
The U.S. government’s response has been to engage in utterly irresponsible fear mongering about the mostly poor women and children trudging north fleeing violence and poverty and looking for a better future.
“Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States. Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in. I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergy [sic]. Must change laws!” Trump said in a tweet.
It should be noted that none of these claims have actually been confirmed. There is no evidence to back up Trump’s assertion that Middle Easterners are a part of the caravan, nor solid figures to confirm any number of criminals.
The administration has made the motivations behind its fear mongering all too obvious; with midterm elections only a few weeks away, and a potential blue wave on the horizon, Trump has reverted back to his standby tactic of stretching the truth and othering vulnerable populations to energize his base.
He isn’t shy about it, either.
“Every time you see a Caravan, or people illegally coming, or attempting to come, into our Country illegally, think of and blame the Democrats for not giving us the votes to change our pathetic Immigration Laws! Remember the Midterms! So unfair to those who come in legally,” Trump wrote in a tweet.
The truth of the matter is that thousands of these migrants are fleeing violence in South America in an attempt to seek asylum in the U.S. That is what is real here, to be separated from the fiction. These are very real people with very real fears, who are being demonized and turned into villains in an attempt to turn people (rather, the “right” people) out at the polls.
As Duquesne students, we must remember why Duquesne was founded – to provide education to impoverished immigrants. It’s firmly within the Spiritan and broader Catholic tradition to help those in desperate need. Just as the Irish, Italians and Eastern Europeans that populated Duquesne’s early graduating classes had fled persecution, violence and poverty, the same applies to these current migrants approaching our border.
Those in the caravan that are seeking asylum should be welcomed with open arms to our country, not used as a political bargaining chip in our elections. So, don’t listen to the unconfirmed propaganda broadcasted on the president’s Twitter feed. Instead, donate to organizations like the ACLU, the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project and the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, and make sure to make well informed decisions when going to the polls on Nov. 6. We can help restore the empathy our country needs.