I saw a billboard this week on my journey down from a Pennsylvania business trip to home. It said, “Fear is contagious, so is hope.” It struck me because of this week’s announcement by the President of a ‘crisis on the border’ — which whips up fear with just those few words. But is it true? Is there a crisis on the southern border which we should be acting upon, even in the midst of a government shutdown?
The caravan that has come up from Central America arrived around Thanksgiving at Tijuana, Mexico. It included 6000 people (families and individuals) who had spent more than 3 months walking, riding and driving up through the countries of Guatemala and Mexico. The organization that brought them up safely was Pueblos Sin Fronteras (Towns Without Borders). They took the long route up rather than the shorter route to Texas. The city of Tijuana knew of their arrival and prepared refugee accommodation as quickly and as much as they could.
Presently there are only 2000 people applying for asylum. Others have found jobs in surrounding areas of Tijuana and are planning to stay in Mexico — especially as it would probably take up to 6 months before they could apply for asylum. Many are applying for economic reasons or for security reasons. (Gangs or politicians are threatening their families and livelihood.) All who apply will receive due process to their applications — but with this amount of people it will take time to process and research claims.