FROM MIGRANT CARAVAN TO EXODUS: MYTHS, ORIGINS, IMPLICATIONS from the Border Observatory on October 26, 2018
“We still believe, or many of us do, what the Exodus first taught… about the meaning and possibility of politics: first, that wherever you live, it is probably Egypt; second, that there is a better place, a world more attractive, a promised land; and third, that the way to the land is through the wilderness. There is no way to get from here to there except by joining together and marching.”
- Michael Walzer, Exodus and Revolution (1985) (emphasis added)
“The migrant caravan that is currently winding its way through southern Mexico headed to the US-Mexico border, has unleashed a storm of conflicting and often confusing coverage and analysis. This includes the targeting of the caravan by the Trump administration as part of its closing electoral strategy in the imminent mid-term elections, and its use as a pretext for the decision to send as many as 1,000 US Army troops to the border to address the “national emergency” that the caravan supposedly embodies. It is reported meanwhile that the administration is preparing to announce drastic new executive actions targeting Central American migrants- including asylum seekers- at the border that echo its reiterated Muslim and travel bans. These include apparent contingency plans within DHS for potentially using deadly force against the caravan, according to Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
Many research and advocacy organizations have circulated fact sheets or Q&A’s seeking to clarify key facts and context regarding the caravan, and to dispel the kinds of distortions that have prevailed. Our focus here is on outlining dimensions of the caravan that have received less attention or that are especially relevant to our work at Hope Border Institute within the context of the US-Mexico border region. What are the true origins of the caravan? What does the caravan tell us about Mexico’s role in regional migration policy? What is the relationship between the caravan and the still unfolding crisis of immigration enforcement that affects border communities? To what extent does the caravan provide a context for understanding the convergence between Catholic Social Teaching and human rights principles which is at the heart of our community-based research, advocacy, and leadership development agenda?” Continue reading