Misinformation, fear and hatred define the GOP’s rhetoric in the final hours before the General.
It’s a story that writes itself for the racist trolls in the GOP, conservative media, and the White House. It’s a story that easily exposes the barely-hidden racial biases of mainstream news sources.
It’s a story that, more often than not, fails to explore the humanitarian toll and U.S. interventionism that has led to this point, and even fails to mention the long history of something our news cycle is now treating as a new phenomenon.
Migrant caravans have occurred for years as a direct response to the treacherous risks associated with the long journey north – namely the threat of physical and sexual violence at the hands of both criminal elements and the authorities. These caravans are an attempt at self-protection by civilians trying to escape political instability that the U.S. government had a deep hand in fomenting and the systemic violence and abject poverty that is all too often a result of that interference.
The disconnect between our domestic political discourse and our imperialistic foreign policy makes this reality all the more enraging.
At the same time that Trump is trying to rebrand the term “Nationalist” as something barely more veiled than its rightful shorthand of “White Nationalist”, he and his merry band of equally racist enablers have embarked on a mission to make this latest iteration out to be an unimaginable horde hell-bent on toppling everything we hold dear about the good ole’ U.S. of A, crushing our political and economic system, and eating all of our apple pie for good measure.
It doesn’t matter that, even if all of the roughly 5,000 migrants were to apply for asylum, they would still only amount to less than 1% of the total number of people who immigrate each year. It doesn’t matter that those 5,000+ people would pale in comparison to the more than 328 million who already live here. It doesn’t matter that the ability to apply for asylum is a right under U.S. and international law.
While some of the more mainstream news outlets initially tripped over themselves using language that legitimized the base racial biases inherent to Trump’s race-baiting, the preponderance of reporting has ultimately done a good job of covering both the reality of caravan as well as the racially and politically-motivated lies that led us to this moment.
Of course, this hasn’t stopped the symbiotic Oroboros of Hate that exists between the White House, GOP and conservative media. So convoluted is the rhetoric that multiplies from these parties, it can sometimes be hard to remember where the conspiracy theory of George Soros funding the caravan first popped up, or who originally claimed that the caravan would bring a plague of a long-eradicated disease, or which shoddy hit-piece-du-jour accusing Democrats of conspiring with migrants came from where. The larger point is that it almost doesn’t matter in a political environment where nationalist lies that originate on Fox become Trump’s talking points and marching orders, which then in turn become so lurid that it rivals the misinformation once seen mainly from sites such as Breitbart.
The reality is that roughly half of the caravan is made up women and children, while many of the rest are young men who are also looking for better economic prospects and escaping those same socio-political conditions we’ve previously covered. To say that any of these people are gang-members, Middle-Eastern terrorists, or brown-skinned boogeymen has absolutely no basis in fact-based research and has everything to do with the lazy, racist, ethnocentric conspiracy theories that are symbolic of the ever-more normalized cultural rot and ideology that are gaining momentum through alt-right outlets like Conservative Review Television and NRA T.V., as well as through hosts like Laura Ingraham and Lou Dobbs on Fox News.
Democratic Party leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have pressed members of the party to not fall into the obvious campaign trap that the GOP is trying to ensnare them with immigration rhetoric, opting instead to remain largely silent on the migrant caravan and continually try to shift focus onto healthcare and other more politically opportune issues before the November 6thelection.
Yet the Democratic Party has long fallen short in emphasizing the importance of immigration, acknowledging their role in our broken system, and have failed to embrace the abolition of ICE. Which is no surprise, as immigration was an issue well before this president took office.
We need a Brand New Congress who will stand up for a unified humanitarian response for those in the caravan, for those already inside or near our border, and for the systemic issues in migrants’ countries of origin that result from U.S. policies. BNC candidates are bold in stating that we must abolish ICE and highlight the dehumanizing actions of the current Administration.
The Administration gets bolder with their xenophobic and hateful fear mongering everyday.
We’ve already seen Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen issue a threat of state-sponsored murder against the men, women, and children in the caravan.
We’ve seen Trump announce his desire to send 15,000 troops to the border – a move that would make the border as militarized as our actual war zone in Afghanistan – and we’ve seen the White House refuse to take suspending posse comitatus off the table, which prevents the military from directly engaging people on our soil in an active role. The last point is especially scary considering that Trump has already given the greenlight for the military to fire on migrants entering the border, even if it is under the guise of throwing rocks – a defense already cited directly by at least one other country thus far.
While this may not directly affect the caravan as of yet since it is still far from the border and many are seeking asylum status along the way, but what damage could this do to others who are trying to enter the United States and apply for asylum status in the more immediate future? This already comes at a time when the U.S. is and has been committing human rights atrocities and is continually looking to revive policies struck down repeatedly by the courts. Rather than hyper-militarizing the border, we should instead be sending attorneys and advocates to help process asylum applications from refugees in this caravan as well as those already languishing in our detention system.
Making matters worse, there are now far-right militias raising money for plans to head off the caravan at the border. If our government has left the use of lethal force on the table in dealing with innocent, unarmed refugees (which is what we should really call those making these treks), what hope for civility can we hold for extremists using Trump’s rhetoric as a permission slip for their fascistic, violent fantasies? At a time when blame for a bombing assassination plot was placed on Trump’s targeted rivals and when massacre after attempted massacre are treated with the same both-sides false equivalency we were fed after the murder of Heather Heyer?
This should be more apparent than ever now, at a time when Trump is actively considering an Executive Action to end birthright citizenship – a move praised by former Never-Trumper and current nationalist neophyte Lindsey Graham, who is pledging to introduce legislation to roll back a right guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.
We must hold our electeds accountable for their actions or inactions on these and other pressing humanitarian issues on a consistent basis and vote for and support true progressive candidates whenever and wherever they run.
Brand New Congress is committed to sustained systemic change in how we handle immigration, which is why we not only support the abolition of ICE and CBP but are also calling for the creation of a new department – the Department of Citizenship, Refugees, and Immigration Services (USDCRIS) – that once again treats immigration as a labor and economic issue rather than a matter of national security in which countless people are swallowed whole in an opaque, uncaring, profit-obsessed system.