Asylum-seekers deserve legal counsel
Brian Delarta was shot multiple times in the shoulder and leg in La Ceiba, Honduras — an event which would have motivated him to join the migrant caravan, estimated at its peak to have around 7,000 people, headed to the U.S.-Mexico border. Delarta lived in a neighborhood with "extortion demands from the local gangs," which made it harder for him to "make ends meet," as supported by The Guardian. Most of the people who joined the migrant caravan were women and children.
In its reporting of the caravan, The Guardian demonstrated thatthese immigrants faced many challenges. As they continued walking, there were cases of migrants "routinely targeted for extortion or kidnapping," and they passed "through towns which were devastated in last year’s earthquake."
To stop the caravan, President Donald Trump believes that bringing up to 15,000 troops to the border will secure it. He even tweeted, "I am bringing out the military for this National Emergency…They will be stopped!" So far, the National Guard and the troops have been told not to "make arrests or carry weapons, as a general rule."
Trump believes that people participating in the caravan are just illegal immigrants who will steal American jobs and cause violence once they enter the country.
On the contrary, these people are actually escaping poverty and violence. In August, Business Insider found that undocumented immigrants actually commit 50 percent less crimes than American citizens.
Aside from Trump’s irrational statements, he also does not understand the federal law of seeking asylum. According to PBS, "under federal law, anyone from another country can seek asylum — and therefore entry into the US — by claiming to have fled their countries out of fear of persecution over their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group."
Despite this fact, most asylumseekers will be denied entry to the United States. However, with legal representation, asylum-seekers are more likely to gain entry.
Trump says they should go through the legal process, but that takes years. Asylum-seekers are unable to go back home due to the inability to make enough money and the possibility of death. For now, there are volunteer nurses and doctors going to the migrant caravan to help those in need. But there should also be volunteer attorneys who are willing to work pro bono and help asylum-seekers win their cases.
By pushing families back, Trump and his delusional rhetoric are forcing them back to their countries where death is certainly a possibility.