In recent days, images of immigrants trying to seek asylum in the United States at the border have filled the news. There, mothers left widowed because of violence sit with their young children, and young men talk about how they fear for their lives.
They have compelling stories, but the United States is right to be cautious before letting the entire caravan into the country.
The U.S. Refugee Act of 1980 allows people to seek asylum if they are at the border and have a well-founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular “social group,” a broad category that has included domestic violence victims and others, a Washington Post story explained.
However, the Post states, “the number of foreigners making a claim of ‘credible fear’ rose nearly 1,900 percent between 2008 and 2016, according to the Department of Homeland Security.”
As of October, there were reportedly 270,000 affirmative asylum cases awaiting action by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, and 250,000 cases pending in the immigration courts.
That is a lot of people seeking asylum. This caravan shouldn’t get priority over all those other cases.
This caravan shouldn’t be the political poster child symbolizing the immigrant plight because the consequences would be detrimental.
Millions of people are watching what happens with this caravan. If the entire caravan is allowed in, it will open the doors to many more than the 150 outside the border wall.
Others will see this as their chance and will also try to seek asylum.
The asylum process was created for a reason. Not everyone fits the criteria.
It’s understandable why groups like Pueblo Sin Fronteras formed the caravan. They want to bring global attention to the plight of immigrants. This time, it worked.
But that doesn’t mean America should bend its rules. There is a process in place for a reason.
Our nation already has big problems within our country. You don’t have to look any further than our own City of Racine, where there are many living in poverty and experiencing homelessness, and nonprofit organizations that assist people in need struggling with budget cuts.
The United States needs to concentrate on fixing our own problems and helping our own citizens before opening its doors and letting in everyone seeking asylum. Those seeking asylum should be looked at on a case-by-case basis, not let in just because they got media attention.