‘Migrants Caravan’ Impacts US Midterm Elections: Divided Nation Facing Emergency
Alex GORKA | 04.11.2018 | WORLD / Americas

‘Migrants Caravan’ Impacts US Midterm Elections: Divided Nation Facing Emergency

US President Trump has ordered 15,000 National Guard soldiers to take positions along the border with Mexico. Bloodshed is possible. Migrants can be shot at if they throw stones at the military. The force is comparable in size to the US contingent in Afghanistan. NGOs, such as Pueblo Sin Fronteras, say there is no political agenda. This affirmation is hard to believe.

The US military’s mission is to prevent the much-talked about “caravan of migrants” from crossing the border. Armed civilians are there to help. Bloodshed appears to be imminent; a negotiated agreement is no more than a pipe dream. It comes to the crunch on the eve of midterm vote. The way the US administration tackles the problem may be decisive for the outcome of the elections and the president’s position. Donald Trump promised to protect the 3,200 km-long southern border during his election campaign. The time is right to show the president is true to his word. Republican candidates are vigorously backing his stance on the issue trying to motivate voters.

Crossing the Rio Grande from the Mexican shore is the way to become an illegal immigrant on US soil. It’s easy enough for someone who can swim. Tires and makeshift rafts are used to help women and children. About 800,000 people use this route yearly.

Not all but many immigrants are involved in criminal business. Criminal gangs help to get to the other side asking for “favors” afterwards. Even if these people have no relation to illegal activities, they take away jobs from US citizens. The wall is being built too slowly, covering only about a thousand kilometers. President Trump has not yet received the funding for Mexico border from Congress. Border guards or checkpoints are unable to stop the uncontrolled flow.

The outcome of the midterm elections is crucial for the ‘wall project”. The Republican win will make the allocation of the required $25 billion possible, if not, the wall’s future will hang in the air as uncertain as the fate of the president himself.

If clashes take place at the border, the chief executive’s opponents will grab the opportunity to use it to their advantage. One can only guess how many people do realize that the “caravan” is a well-orchestrated provocation to deliver a blow against Republicans before the Nov.6 vote.

As a signatory of the 1951 Refugee Convention and 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, the US is obligated to protect refugees who left their country due to well-founded fear of repression. But those who seek asylum have to ask for it first and prove they are really persecuted as well. They have the right to try but they can’t cross the border freely. Asylum can be denied if a person is not in danger but there is no agreement with Mexico on how to return those who have been denied entrance. Let legal intricacies be left alone. What really matters is that Americans begin to choose their views over interpersonal relationships with battles raging between as “us and them.” And those battles are not always verbal.

The end of birthright citizenship proposed by President Trump is another issue to hit headlines and divide Americans. To some degree it is an electoral stunt, but also an effort aimed at drastically changing the migration policy of the country. This is another issue to deepen the divisions tearing up America – the nation that has never been so ripped apart since the Civil War. Angry and often violent protests, clashes, police abuse and targeted attacks involving explosives and firearms are dangerously becoming routine.

Several pipe bombs recently sent to high-profile Democrats, including former President Bill Clinton, demonstrate how dangerous the situation has become. The GOP is getting more conservative, while Democrats are getting more liberal. The society is polarized with the left and right. Liberals and conservatives are unable to find a common language. The partisan divide over issues related to race, immigration and welfare has widened. It exerts impact on the way people talk, who they associate themselves with, and how they view themselves. Can the nation hold together in the long run?

According to a recent Rasmussen poll, one third of Americans strongly believe a civil war is likely soon. Whatever is the outcome of the elections, the nation will remain separated with the trust in the institutions  and politics vanishing at an alarming pace. The idea of the country’s break up does not seem so outlandish anymore.

Foreign policy is no exception to the rule. When people are so far apart, international issues may rather add more fuel to political discord or, on the contrary, bring them together. So many times in history the existence of enemies threatening the nation, true or not, has been used as a unifying factor. That’s the purpose of singling out Russia as a country that "challenges“American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity” as the US National Security Strategy states.

In reality, the United States is posing a threat to itself. Beset by aggravating domestic problems, it is trying to fix them by artificially creating outside enemies instead of trying to go to the bottom of it and understand what causes the woes and how to fix things. The “caravan” problem and the heated election campaign may become sparks to kindle a fire.

Tags: Midterms  Migration