Just want to point out that there's a lot of talk here about "refugees" in connection with the caravan. I understand why that word is being used, but I think it's a little confusing when discussing the people in the caravan and their attempt to apply for asylum in the U.S.
I'm far from an expert in immigration law, but I've represented (pro bono) a number of clients seeking asylum, always with the assistance of a qualified immigration attorney working for an NGO. The point I want to make is that U.S. asylum law is really specific about who qualifies and who doesn't: Asylum in the U.S. is only available for people unable or unwilling to return to their home country "because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion."
In other words, it's not enough to be a refugee, be it from war or famine or socio/political chaos. Our asylum laws are only intended to provide a safe harbor for people who are being particularly persecuted in their home countries. Those laws are not intended and are not written to simply provide refuge to those fleeing a bad situation.
Of course, the boundaries of asylum law have been somewhat fluid over time, especially when the claim of persecution stems from "membership in a particular social group." My understanding (in part from an NPR piece I listened to last week) is that part of the issue we are facing today regarding the asylum component of our immigration system stems from a 1,700 percent increase in asylum claims over the last ten years. That increase was fueled by expansions over that time period in what "particular social groups" qualify, including expansions to include victims of gang and domestic violence, groups that wouldn't have qualified previously.
I've read and heard arguments that these expansions are a prime example of good intentions with unintended consequences. Because so many people unfortunately suffer or have a credible fear of gang or domestic violence, the number of asylum applications have exploded. Not surprisingly, Trump and Sessions (before he got the axe) started rolling back these expansions.
Anyway, just trying to make that point that we shouldn't call the people in the migrant caravan "refugees." My understanding is they are coming to the U.S. as "asylum seekers," which is not necessarily the same thing.
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