by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
If you believe that America is and should remain a nation of laws and borders — and if you understand the logistical and physical challenges of walking 1,000 miles through Mexico — there is a relatively simple, firm way to respond to migrant caravans.
To the migrants, the message is simple. The United States will secure its border and enforce its immigration laws. In accordance with those laws, it will summarily deport illegal entrants and interpret its asylum statutes in accordance with their meaning and purpose. If you do complete the journey, you will not be released into the American interior but instead held at the border. Rather than risk a fruitless journey, it is better to turn back now.
To Americans, the message is equally clear. There is no cause for alarm. To the extent that members of the migrant caravan do complete their trek through Mexico, they will not be permitted to storm border crossings, and we have sufficient resources to secure our border and enforce our laws. We will apply those laws fairly and treat migrants humanely, but we will apply the law.
In other words, we can handle this. The migrant caravan is not an emergency. In fact, unless and until it gets hundreds of miles closer (while still retaining its size), there’s not even all that much cause for concern. Even if it arrives in some strength, there is no way for a group that size to sneak across the border, and the most powerful nation in the world has more than enough resources to meet the migrants when they attempt to cross, detain them, and begin the necessary legal proceedings.