About 7,000 Central American migrants — most of whom are fleeing violence and unrest in Honduras — head north on foot through Mexico in a desperate attempt to reach the United States border.
It is responsible for an American president to discourage unauthorized border crossings while repeating the nation’s commitment to give a fair hearing to asylum claims.
President Donald Trump instead demonizes every one of the migrants as an invading horde.
He uses the crisis to blame Democratic policies even though Republicans control all levels of the federal government, and have sent every imaginable signal that such immigrants are not welcome.
In this case, Trump invokes race-tinged appeals that echo the ones with which he launched his presidential campaign. Monday, without evidence, he tweeted that “Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in.” Other Republicans follow Trump’s lead by spreading conspiracy theories that Democratic-aligned donors are paying migrants to join the caravan.
Meanwhile, in his fury, Trump threatens to slash foreign aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador beyond its already diminished level in his budget.
A 2014 report from the conservative Heritage Foundation, released in the wake of the last border crisis (which Trump and Republicans blamed on former President Barack Obama), warned that slashing aid would exacerbate violence and turmoil in Central America, sending thousands more fleeing.
Which might, after all, be exactly what Trump wants: A never-ending flow of foreign “invaders” to stoke fear and division.
— New York Daily News