The Current State of Immigration and its Effect on the Government


Manuel Rodriguez, Writer

We often see one side of a story if we are not affected by a situation, but when it is a complicated matter such as the border and the multiple caravans associated with it, there is more than just what the news reports perceive. Everything from late 2018 that was left unresolved was carried over into the new year forcing President Donald Trump to instate a government shutdown. When dealing with a sensitive topic which affected hundreds of thousands of U.S citizens and people of Southern America, there had to have been an original cause to the great chain reaction.

During October of 2018, a large group  of South Americans banded together to cross through many countries and towns to get to the United States. Along the journey, many others joined assembling a caravan of migrants destined to reach the U.S. While there were many complete strangers and their families, they each had the same desire and a specific reason why they packed their bags and migrated.

In South American countries like Honduras and Guatemala, there are many problems within the society that the citizens must face on a daily basis. Often people do not obtain a substantial amount of income to provide for their families, only getting by with what they earned after a long day’s work. With not enough money to save up and relocate as many areas are prevalent with gang violence and other heinous crimes, it is not common for a civilian to be associated with a gang-related crime as often people are in the crossfire of violence through countless murders. Although many stories among migrants are different they each have a common component, to obtain a better opportunity for themselves and their family by means of obtaining a visa into the U.S. or Mexico.

When the original caravan reached Mexico there was hesitation with letting in 300 migrants into their border, President Andres Manuel Lopez instated humanitarian visas which allowed 100 migrants to enter legally. Allowing people to live, work, access services, and travel freely around Mexico while waiting for their case of obtaining asylum. If asylum is granted to an individual then they are seen as a refugee that would be in greater danger if they returned from the situation that they were fleeing from. President Lopez stated that he wants to help all who try to change their life for the better. When word got out that Mexico was giving humanitarian visas to migrants many had the same idea to leave everything and trek on to a better future, as many had nothing to lose and everything to gain. As time went on and multiple caravans had embarked on their journey to better opportunities it wasn’t until Mexico had finally put their foot down on migration on January 29th as they ended their humanitarian visas. With so many migrants within Mexico, there are many border towns that are packed and often they aren’t places of safety, typically having violence associated with these towns. People seeking asylum often wait long periods of time for their court case as there are too many people applying and not enough people of authority to accelerate the process. With so many applicants, people are racing against time and, in certain situations, many migrants don’t have the time necessary to go about entering the U.S legally, often resorting to crossing illegally. Due to this reason, the U.S president, Donald Trump, has been persistent with the funding of creating a stronger wall between Mexico and the U.S.

When things weren’t going Trump’s way he called forth a government shutdown until the government could come up with a plan regarding the border as well as the supposed wall. News about the multitude of caravans traveling through South America to hopefully end up in the U.S led Trump to recall his presidential campaign in 2016 to build a wall. With many of his voters realizing that it has been two years of waiting for Trump’s supposed wall to happen; which brought forth a tide of support from voters in 2016. During the longest lasting government shutdown of 35 days, there was a constant back and forth between Trump and speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi in the news. With the recent midterms altering the way the House is run with a Democrat who’s not afraid to oppose the President’s opinion. Pelosi’s reasoning against the funding was that the supposed wall would be inefficient and overly costly. During the shutdown, the workforce was dramatically changed as 800,000 people received no pay. TSA workers often called in sick and those who worked through the shutdown had to work twice as hard to maintain airport security. The FBI had many cases of criminal, counter-terrorism and intelligence work with time-sensitive investigations lost due to the shutdown. FDA inspections of certain products had been stopped without enough employees to inspect all products. Some people were reliant upon food pantries to make it through the shutdown and when things got desperate many sold their possessions to make ends meet. Immigration hearings had been put off making tens of thousands to remain in the backlog of 800,000. State parks were struggling to remain open being understaffed and scientists were barred from their studies during the shutdown.

On January 25, 2019, Congress had made a consensus that they would reopen the government for three weeks to come to an agreement on the wall. Trump made it known that they would begin to send asylum-seeking migrants back to Mexico and wait for their court case there, as often people didn’t show up for their court case. After the shutdown, there was an eleven billion dollar loss in the U.S economy due to thousands of paychecks missed but not all economic damage will be repaired. The agreement to end the shutdown was only a temporary solution and with the President’s declaration of a state of emergency, everyone will be looking to see how his plans for the wall play out.