Some immigration hawks see U.S. politics at work in a 1,300-person migrant caravan now making its way north.
Reuters reported over the weekend that the caravan set off from Honduras on Saturday, headed for the United States with entire families — including men, women, children and babies.
The scene drew immediate comparisons to a migrant caravan that traveled from Central America through Mexico in April. Some dropped off before the journey ended, and the Mexican government detained others. But several hundred made it to the U.S. border, where activists helped them file asylum claims.
Andrew “Art” Arthur, a former immigration law judge who now is the resident fellow in law and policy at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), questioned the timing of the latest endeavor. He asked if it is tied to the midterm elections in the United States, which now are three weeks away.
“I really don’t know,” he told LifeZette. “The timing seems a little curious … They may just be taking advantage of the law.”
Ric Oberlink, executive director Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), agreed.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if it had something to do with the U.S. midterm elections,” he told LifeZette. “It’s a clear case of asylum shopping.”
Oberlink noted that under international law, people fleeing persecution are suppose to seek asylum in the nearest safe country. Yet, many bypass Mexico and head straight for the United States, he said.
Oberlink said that U.S. policy does not do any favors for Central Americans — particularly women — to encourage such a dangerous trek. He pointed to a 2010 study by Amnesty International suggesting that as many as 60 percent of women and girls making the trip from Central American countries experience sexual violence. A report by an outlet …read more