The Migrant Caravan Faces Clashes at the Border

Eliyana Abraham, Multimedia Editor

On October 13 2018, thousands of individuals fled Honduras in a caravan en route to the United States border. However, the migrant families and individuals — largely fleeing gang activity and violence in Honduras — were met with clashes at the border, facing tear gas and police force.
The group of migrants originated as a group of 2,000 individuals seeking refuge from an impoverished, violence ridden country, with some of the highest murder and crime rates globally. As they traveled from Honduras, through Guatemala, the numbers grew to roughly 7,200 — one of the largest of such migrant groups yet.
During an exclusive with Fox News, President Trump described how he thought of the group of migrants traveling from Honduras. He went on to comment, “Bad people. A lot of bad people in there.”
The Trump Administration’s response to the migrant caravan is a microcosm of the disturbing and cruel changes in immigration restriction put into action since President Trump took office in 2016. Almost immediately, the number of interior deportations — deportations involving the removal of individuals who have established roots in the United States, and often have no criminal record — have risen considerably. From January through September 2017, officials deported nearly 54,000 immigrants from the interior, a 34 percent increase from the prior year. In addition, there has been a net increase in arrests made by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), of 43 percent since the Obama administration.
Interestingly, although the number of criminal arrests made by ICE have primarily stayed consistent between the Obama and Trump administrations, the number of non-criminal arrests have risen astronomically. In comparing arrests from 2018 and 2016, ICE carried out approximately 3,121 non-criminal arrests under former President Barack Obama in 2016, while under President Trump, 13,548 non-criminal arrests have been made by ICE in 2018, and counting. Therefore, the number of individuals residing in the U.S with no criminal activity who have been arrested by ICE — many with families, many with businesses and careers — has risen by 334 percent since President Trump took office.
In addition, since President Trump took office, many local law enforcement agencies have sought integration of the 287g program which partners local law enforcement officers with U.S Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) to help enforce immigration laws, including the Bensalem Police Department. The 287(g) allows ICE to enter into Memoranda of Agreement with state or local police departments, and deputize selected officers to perform the functions of federal immigration officers. The 287(g) program permits law enforcement officers i.e local police officers to perform actions such as, but not limited to, interviewing individuals to ascertain their immigration status, access Department of Homeland Security databases for information on individuals, issue immigration detainers to hold individuals until ICE takes custody, make recommendations for detention and immigration bond, and transfer undocumented citizens into ICE custody.
In April 2018, new guidelines for President Trump’s immigration policy were set forth, suggesting a “zero tolerance” policy and encouraging family separation. Thus Forth, as President Trump instructed forces to arrest every illegal immigrant at the border, nearly 3,000 children have been separated from their parents as a result.
Since, families have been broken up at the border, detained, and children still in diapers have been locked in cages at the hands of ICE. Many children as young as 3 and 4 years old have had to attempt to plead their stories to judges alone.
About half of all immigrant children go to court without an attorney. 9 out of 10 of these children are, in turn, deported.
Due to ICE’s reputation of violent conduct and cruelty, local law enforcement agencies have even emphasized their desires to be no longer be publicly associated with ICE. The Los Angeles Police Department released a statement in February 2017 asking ICE officers to stop announcing themselves as police officers. The LAPD urged, “in the strongest possible terms, that ICE immediately cease this practice in our city.”
Even the LAPD, with their long history of misconduct and police brutality, has attempted to cease their relations with ICE, due to the fact that ICE officers instil fear in members of the community, making them less likely to cooperate with the police or ask for help in a dangerous situation.
One individual contributing to Trump’s new immigration policies is Stephen Miller, White House Senior Policy Adviser, who pushed for the travel ban, barring individuals from Muslim nations from entering the U.S, as well as for family separation. Now, Miller is pushing for policy which would remove the right to citizenship for babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born on U.S. soil. This complete and absolute perversion of the 14th amendment would affect millions nationwide, including our friends, neighbors and loved ones.
Last year, the U.S. sent more than $300 million in foreign aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. President Trump warned the migrants that if the group was to reach the United States, he would cut millions of dollars in aid to Honduras. The Trump administration has continuously demonized immigrants in the United States, however, as this demonization evolves into persecution, our nation becomes one divided, and instilled with fear.