News Brief: Military Deployed to Southern US Border as Migrant Caravan Approaches
November 1, 2018
Last week, Nanthaveth & Associates published a news brief discussing the caravan of migrants approaching the United States. Consisting of mostly Central Americans from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, the caravan continues to make headlines into this week. While the caravan slowly moves towards the border, it becomes increasingly unclear what migrants will find when they arrive.
As midterm elections loom, the president appears willing to utilize the caravan to stir xenophobic fears in voters. In public statements, Trump likened the approaching caravan to an “invasion” of the US. For example, Trump tweeted, “This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!”
On Monday, we learned that over 5,000 active-duty military troops will be deployed to the border. This is a “major escalation” of the original 800 announced last week. In fact, the deployment of new troops to the border will mean that there is a greater military force there than in Syria or Iraq.
Despite the escalation of force at the US border, the caravan’s numbers are quickly dwindling. The caravan has already shrunk from over 7,000 people last week to 3,500 on October 29. According to the Mexican government, over 1,000 members of the caravan have already applied for asylum.
In the midst of such political fervor and spectacle, it’s important to focus on what is true. In fact, the majority of those in the caravan are women and children fleeing from political and economic uncertainty. It is also possible that many fear for their lives, should they stay within their home country.
Asylum Seekers Face Challenges
The heartbreaking truth is that those who seek asylum face a fierce battle. Once they reach the US, they’ll face intense scrutiny, including interviews with government officials to determine “credible fear.”
Sadly, wait times for asylum seekers can take months or even years. As of January 2018, more than 300,000 people were waiting to receive decisions on their applications for asylum. The USCIS and Trump Administration introduced a “last in, first out” policy intended to cut “frivolous” or “fraudulent” asylum applications and reduce wait times.
Trump has stated in the past that in order to seek asylum in the US, migrants must first attempt to do so in Mexico. On the contrary, Newsweek highlighted that this is not true – asylees have the right to choose.
Any foreign national has the right to seek asylum in the United States. Additionally, each asylum seeker has the right to a fair judicial process in the country of their choosing. For many, the right to asylum may mean the difference between life and death. You can read further about the asylum process and asylees’ rights via the United Nation’s Refugee Agency.
Nanthaveth & Associates continues to watch the developing situation at the southern US border.
Questions? Talk to an immigration lawyer
The harsh and hate-filled rhetoric of many politicians can leave US immigrants, migrants, and asylum seekers feeling hopeless. An experienced immigration attorney can quell your fears and help you plan for the future. Located in Austin, Texas, the attorneys at Nanthaveth & Associates are skilled in all aspects of immigration law. Contact an expert immigration attorney today to schedule a free consultation.
 Fabian, Jordan. (2018, October 29). Trump: Migrant caravan ‘is an invasion.’ The Hill. Retrieved from https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/413624-trump-calls-migrant-caravan-an-invasion
 Bergengruen, Vera. (2018, October 29). The US soon will have more troops along the Mexican border than it has fighting in Iraq or Syria. Buzzfeed News. Retrieved from https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/verabergengruen/the-us-soon-will-have-more-troops-along-the-mexican-border
 Bergengruen, Vera. (2018, October 29).
 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). (2018, January 31). USCIS to take action to address asylum backlog. Retrieved from https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/uscis-take-action-address-asylum-backlog