President Donald Trump has made the migrant caravan the new issue of the midterm elections, claiming the caravan is infested with gangs, violence, “unknown Middle Easterners” and overall people looking to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.
Most of the president’s claims are unsubstantiated. On Monday, the center named for former President George W. Bush published information about who actually is in the migrant caravan and what their plans are:
The “Honduran Caravan” is capturing headlines as thousands migrate toward the United States border to seek asylum. Those fleeing their homes and countries are looking for a safer and more prosperous life, many having experienced extreme poverty and gang violence.
The piece, entitled “Why are Hondurans fleeing Central America?” offers a sympathetic look at the thousands who have left behind their homes to seek asylum in the United States. It also reminds readers that it is not illegal for immigrants to apply for asylum once they reach the border, which the majority of people in the caravan are reportedly planning on doing.
According to CNN, the Mexican government has already begun processing the asylum requests of 2,700 who are traveling in the caravan.
The center explains that many Central American immigrants seek refuge in the United States due to violence. Honduras is one of the most dangerous counties in the world, and although its homicide rate is dropping, it’s still relatively high. Because of this, Central American immigrants often apply for asylum at the border, and the U.S. government legally grants it to them:
In 2016, some 20,455 individuals were granted asylum by the United States. Migrants from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador combined to account for 27 percent of the total. This is remarkable considering the populations of those three countries represent roughly one-half of one percentage point of worldwide population.
The piece goes on, detailing ways Central American countries need to change to create nations that people won’t need to flee in the thousands. Overall, the piece published through the last Republican president’s institute contrasts greatly from the rhetoric of the current one:
The Caravans are made up of some very tough fighters and people. Fought back hard and viciously against Mexico at Northern Border before breaking through. Mexican soldiers hurt, were unable, or unwilling to stop Caravan. Should stop them before they reach our Border, but won’t!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2018
Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border. Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2018
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. Must change laws!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 22, 2018
As CNN reported, the caravan is still hundreds of miles from the United States border and probably won’t arrive for weeks, if not months. Despite this, the president has ordered as many American troops to the border than currently serve in Syria and Iraq combined, according to numbers obtained by NBC News.
But Trump promised this would be the “election of the caravan,” and with six days left until the midterms, he’s not straying from his message.