Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau says that Canada welcomes any refugees or asylum-seekers that the U.S. rejects. “Central American Migrants in Mexico Want Buses to US Border” (nytimes) says
Central American migrants in a caravan that has stopped in Mexico City demanded buses Thursday to take them to the U.S. border, saying it is too cold and dangerous to continue walking and hitchhiking. About 200 migrants, representing the roughly 5,000 staying in a stadium in the south of Mexico’s capital, marched to the United Nations office in Mexico City to make the demand for transportation.
What is the practical obstacle to giving them plane tickets to Toronto?
Separately, “Caravan Walks Quietly On, U.S. Opposition a Distant Rumble” (nytimes, 11/9/2018) is interesting for describing the experience of the folks in the current caravan:
Ms. Alvarado and her relatives left their home on the outskirts of Comayagua, a city in central Honduras, on Oct. 12. They came from a family of farm laborers who worked for abysmal wages in coffee plantations. Generations of residents from Comayagua had made the trek to the United States to find better-paying work, and the possibility was always forefront in the minds of those who remained behind.
Ms. Alvarado, one of the few in her family who had managed to escape the coffee fields, had been working as an assistant in a government social development program, but barely getting by on a salary of $200 a month.
(So the woman who gets a monthly paycheck from the Honduran government will have to claim in her asylum hearing (2-3 years from now?) that she is being persecuted by the Honduran government?)
Do-gooders should considering seeting up a shoe distribution center on the southern border of Mexico, rather than thoughts and prayers on Facebook:
They, like most members of the caravan, were ill-prepared for walking. Ms. Jiménez was wearing pink plastic sandals. Ms. Banegas and her son wore flip-flops. Ms. Jiménez’s 3-year-old had to be carried by the adults for much of the way.
The mechanics of getting into the U.S.:
The group did not plan to apply for asylum. Rather, like many other families in the caravan, their plan was to cross between official border entries and turn themselves into the United States Border Patrol. Since they were women traveling with children, they hoped they would be released quickly from detention and allowed to remain in the United States pending the outcome of their deportation cases. It’s a practice that has been widely used for years, but one that Mr. Trump is seeking to end.
Ms. Banegas said she picked Elmer, who left school three years ago to work in the coffee fields, to travel with her to the United States because he was her oldest minor child.
With him, “I might have a better chance of getting in,” she said.
The women had heard that the Trump administration policy of family separation had ended. Other migrants from their hometown had successfully crossed into the United States since then and had been released with their children.
I’m still confused by the policy of limiting refugee/asylee status to those who are fit enough to make an overland trek to the U.S. If we are humanitarians, given that Honduras has an awesome airport with a 9,500′ runway (MHLM), why aren’t we sending a daily Airbus A380 to pick up the elderly and disabled in 900-person groups? If we are not humanitarians, why do we accept any low-skill refugees/asylees?
Circling back to the top of this post… even if we take Canada out of this, why buses? Why wouldn’t the U.N. charter an Airbus A350 (after the A380, the world’s quietest airliner so that caravan members can relax!) to bring caravan members to the U.S. destination of their choice? If the U.S. objects to the daily arrivals, the U.N. can simply cite that the U.S. signed up to the 1967 refugee protocol.
- “Can the refugee caravan at the U.S. border simply fly up to Canada?” (April 30, 2018; I offered to pay $50,000 to ferry a previous caravan to Vancouver)
- “Deployed Inside the United States: The Military Waits for the Migrant Caravan” (nytimes, 11/10/2018), on the suffering of U.S. troops: “The tents sleep 20 soldiers and have no electricity or air-conditioning. Phone charging is relegated to a few generators that power the spotlights around the living area. … Unlike in Iraq and Afghanistan, however, the troops do not receive extra combat pay. … Come Thanksgiving, they most likely will still be here.” (this is why new veterans have higher rates of disability than Vietnam combat vets?)