GOP Candidates Continue to Promote Fear, Misinformation about Refugee “Caravan”
According to UNICEF, 2,300 children are traveling with the migrant caravan. They “need protection and access to essential services like healthcare, clean water and adequate sanitation.”
Even in an election year, is it responsible to refer to these children as an “illegal alien mob” as Marsha Blackburn, candidate for Senate in Tennessee does routinely on social media?
Or is it the basis for a sober, public debate on policy for an elected official to post unsupported conspiracy theories sourced from TownHall — a site with a track record of posting outright fabrications — that Venezuela’s government is somehow in cahoots with drug gangs, MS-13 and human traffickers to arrange the whole thing, as Congressman Scott DesJarlais has done?
Words like “mob” or “invasion” may incite a base of voters concerned about immigration policy, but where do we go from there?
Let me be clear —economic migrants do not have an automatic right to enter the United States or to be permanently settled. It is entirely legal to remove such people and return them to their country of origin. Reasonable people can disagree about this, but those are our laws.
However, laws pertaining to refugees are equally clear. A person “who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence” or has “a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group” has rights under law.
Candidate Tony Campbell, who aspires to replace Senator Cardin in the next Congress should know this. Is it wise to describe a migrants which include children, pregnant women, and elderly individuals as intending to “bum-rush” the border?
Mob. Invasion. Gangs. Thugs. Steamrolling. Even if they win, which most of these candidates will — they have boxed themselves in. If the situation on the ground differs from the campaign rhetoric, as it does, that will only become more obvious after the election, when exhausted, sick and terrified people arrive on our border asking for mercy. What will Miller, or Blackburn, or Biggs say if there are no tattooed MS-13 boogeymen, but little boys and girls, carried by their parents and grandparents? Will they allow an orderly process to verify they are not economic migrants but legitimate refugees?
Will they then have the courage to go to the border and personally extend their hands, as representatives of their states, their districts and our nation and say to these people, “Welcome home. You are safe.”