A Central American migrant caravan which was temporarily delayed by the Mexican government has regrouped, resuming their advance towards the US border on Sunday, according to AP.
The number of migrants swelled overnight to approximately 5,000 as the mile-long caravan set out toward the Mexican town of Tapachula. Several hundred asylum seekers have reportedly applied for refugee status in Mexico, while an estimated 1,500 remain on the Guatemalan side of the Suchiate River in the hopes of entering Mexico legally.
The group has been referred to as an "attack caravan" by former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who cited a figure by Fox News host Laura Ingraham that the caravan would cost around $7,000 per person, or $28 million total when the size of the group was estimated at 4,000 people. At 5,000 strong, the caravan would cost $35 million.
— The Hill (@thehill) October 21, 2018
A migrant caravan from Central America is currently heading en masse to the United States. Its members, several thousand strong, are intent on pouring into the U.S. in what amounts to an invasion force. President Trump has correctly branded the caravan an "onslaught" and an "assault on our country." The president has promised to use military troops if necessary to close the southern border with Mexico. He also threatened to cut off all foreign aid to those Central American countries that are not doing enough to stop the migration caravan in its tracks.
Members of the caravan have already demonstrated their violent streak during an early stage of their trek, as they approached Mexico. They “forced their way through Guatemala's northwestern border and flooded onto a bridge leading to Mexico,” AFP reported. These migrants, mainly from Honduras, engaged in violent clashes with Mexican riot police as they tried to surge through police lines and cross the bridge into Mexico. Four Mexican police officers were reportedly injured. "Violent entry into the country not only threatens our sovereignty, but also puts the migrants themselves at risk," Mexico’s President Pena Nieto said. "Mexico does not permit and will not permit entry into its territory in an irregular fashion, much less in a violent fashion."
The caravan migrants believe that they are entitled to simply pass through Mexico without any interference and ensconce themselves in the United States. A press release issued by the organizers of a similar migrant caravan earlier this year stated a “demand of Mexico and the United States” that “they open the borders to us because we are as much citizens as the people of the countries where we are and/or travel.” This “open borders” demand is a direct challenge to U.S. national sovereignty. Migrants are not entitled to insist upon a “right” to choose the United States as their destination country, including would-be asylum-seekers if they are offered the chance for asylum in Mexico first.
Some of the caravan migrants cry poverty and use children as shields while pleading their case. Others in the caravan have likely learned - from the migrants who preceded them and from open borders advocates encouraging their migration - the playbook of how to exploit the loophole-ridden U.S. immigration laws. They know that their sheer numbers will further overwhelm an already overstretched adjudicative process with many more amnesty claims. Once in this country, the migrants, especially those with children in tow, are likely to be released into the community-at-large, pending the outcome of their asylum hearings, which could take place years later. They may well skip their hearings altogether, as many before them have done, and remain free to live in our country at American taxpayers’ expense indefinitely. Other migrants in the caravan who manage to make it to the U.S. border will simply enter illegally at unguarded points without even the pretense of seeking asylum unless they can be stopped first. Terrorists and criminal gang members are free to take part in the caravan with little chance of detection.
President Trump has vowed to use the military to seal the southern border of the United States with Mexico, if necessary – a stretch of territory as long as 2000 miles. Aside from logistical issues, questions have been raised as to whether the president has the legal authority to take such action in enforcing U.S. immigration laws, at least with respect to utilizing active-duty members of the army, navy, air force and marines. Those who claim that the president does not have such authority cite the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, as amended from time to time, which prohibits active duty military troops from executing the country’s laws unless expressly authorized by the Constitution or an Act of Congress. This statute does not apply to the National Guard operating under state authority.
However, repelling an organized force of unvetted migrants, who may include terrorists and foreign criminal gang members, from entering this country in the first place is not simply civil domestic law enforcement. It is a military response to a genuine threat to U.S. territorial sovereignty and national security originating from foreign territories. The military response would be directed by the president of the United States who is vested with the constitutional authority of commander in chief. The president would be using the military to implement the constitutional mandate of Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution that the “United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion.”