Invasion or Exodus?

Mike Melara, Executive Director

There are somewhere in the area of 4,000 men, women and children traveling in a caravan across Central America making their way to the US/Mexican border. Traveling 8-10 hours a day, in insufferable heat, they hope to make the 1200 mile trek over the next several months. At its height, the caravan had over 7,000 walkers. Each day their numbers diminish. It is unlikely that many, if any, will actually finish the journey. What would possess someone to uproot lives, gather up a few belongings and set out on such an arduous migration? What does “rock bottom” look like when your best option is to risk it all to make it to the United States? (Bump)

Some have described this slow moving caravan as an “invasion.” Some even call it an attack. It seems to me that what’s occurring in Central America is an exodus. An attempt to escape persecution, violence and desperate poverty.

It is by design that Lady Liberty, majestically present to greet millions in New York Harbor, holds a torch in her hand. We all want to move towards the light. In the deep blue darkness of the sea, the torch light represents freedom from the oppressing nature of the elements, the enveloping night that swallows hope in one bite. Make no mistake; the caravan is also moving towards the light known throughout the world as the United States. A bright light. A beacon of hope.

Immigration reform, which includes the proper treatment of asylum seekers, is an incredibly complex issue. In the end, it is a matter of public policy that must be resolved by our government while keeping Americans safe. What is not complex is recognizing human suffering, and offering a compassionate response. The caravan is a manifestation of pain and oppression.

In all the rhetoric about the caravan, what is becoming most troubling are the contradictory images that seem to define our country. In one corner, we have the Statue of Liberty, proudly shining her light, welcoming all with, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses….” In the other corner, we have a proposed wall for our southern boarder that seeks to protect us, but obscures our view (in more ways than one) of the plight of those who are hurting.

Who will be the Mother of Exiles to those seeking refuge from the darkness? Where do you go when you can’t go home?

Source: Bump, Phillip. (2018, Oct 29). What is and isn’t happening with the migrant caravan in southern Mexico.  Retrieved from…

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