So, as you may have heard, the people of Tijuana weren’t exactly happy with the fact that the migrant caravan set up camp there. In fact, the mayor actually seemed to agree that President Donald Trump had a point, something that must have been a shocking development to most of the media.
Well, whatever. The stories quickly shifted from the Trump administration’s prejudice against these “mothers and children seeking asylum” (which apparently involved mostly males who had no concrete asylum claims or plans to formulate them, according to one MSNBC reporter) to the prejudice of Tijuana residents, who should have been accepting this imposition with open arms.
Apparently, Tijuana officials don’t watch CNN or aren’t influenced by it, because on Saturday they shut down the main shelter used by the caravan, “a sports complex close to the U.S. border that once held about 6,000 Central Americans who hope to get into the U.S.,” according to The Washington Times.
“Officials said all the migrants were being moved to a former concert venue much farther from the border. The city said in a statement the sports complex shelter was closed because of ‘bad sanitary conditions.’
“Experts had expressed concerns about unsanitary conditions that had developed at the partly flooded sports complex, where the migrants had been packed into a space adequate for half their numbers. Mud, lice infestations and respiratory infections were rampant.”
The new complex will be run by the federal government, which will likely have a tighter reign over sanitary conditions.
You may wonder just how bad things were in Tijuana if the government was shutting the sports complex shelter down. Surely that was an overreaction, right?
Well, let’s take a look at the fine conditions left behind at the sports complex, in a Twitter video originally tweeted by Fox News’ Kyle Rothenberg.
Tons of trash and clothes left behind by #caravan #migrants at the #TijuanaBorder shelter this morning. #Mexico police moved most of them about 15 miles away from the border yesterday to a different camp @FoxNews pic.twitter.com/bU6tEyEeo0
— Kyle Rothenberg (@kylerothenberg) December 1, 2018
There are so many reactions to this I’m kind of at a loss for where to start.
First, we’re going to assume this is representative footage, or at least the worst part of what, overall, was a hovel. We can’t confirm that. Under that assumption and given media reports, however, we can reasonably assume this is pretty credibly a representative slice of what the sports complex looked like.
Second, I can’t help but notice the relatively significant percentage of clothes among the detritus. There could, of course, be a feasible explanation as to why they were left behind (why they were strewn all over the place is another matter).
That being said, we’ve seen more than one report that insinuates these are people who are arriving with little more than the clothes on their back. To see so many clothes strewn about — like so much useless garbage — certainly raises questions. There may be answers that we aren’t getting, particularly given the video was posted Saturday, but I found this odd.
Finally, I think we ought to point out that our immigration policy should strive to admit the best and brightest from each country who are willing to go through the legal channels required..
If these caravan members have legitimate asylum claims, that’s a different story. Most asylum claims, however, are rejected and we haven’t seen any indication that this is somehow going to diverge from historical precedent.
Bluntly put, those who are housed in a sports complex as a temporary measure and then turn it into a sanitary hazard probably aren’t the best and brightest, if we’re just going on merits. The American government has a responsibility to the people of America, not the people of the world.
It’s totally defensible to turn away people engaging in a political stunt who also have left a temporary camp in an absolute shambles. One can have the utmost sympathy for those living in countries experiencing hardship while similarly maintaining that if those individuals don’t want to follow legal channels to emigrate here, there isn’t much we can do for them.
And they aren’t helping their cause when they abuse the hospitality of the city that’s hosting them.
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