Few caravan members accept Mexico’s offer of help

Rick Moran at PJ Media reports that “only about 1,700 of the estimated 7,000 Central American refugees in the caravan heading to the U.S. border have accepted an offer from the Mexican government for asylum.” For the remaining 5,300 (or so), it’s USA or bust.

What has Mexico offered the migrants? According to Moran, the offer is:

Temporary ID cards and work permits
Medical care
Schooling for their children
Housing in local hostels

Implicit in the offer is freedom from whatever persecution the migrants may have experienced in Honduras. Presumably, it also entails relief from gang violence, though this can never be guaranteed — not in Mexico and not in U.S. immigrant communities.

What can we infer from the decision of so many in the caravan to turn down Mexico’s generous offer and instead trek on for 1,000 more miles, in many cases with children in tow? Moran infers that “someone is trying to make a political statement using the refugees as both stage props and human shields.” Thus, settling in Mexico will not do.

Another reasonable inference is that the migrants are motivated not by a desire to escape persecution and violence, but by a desire to participate in the American economy. They likely believe their future, and the future of their children, will be considerably brighter in the U.S. than in Mexico.

They are almost certainly correct. But from the U.S. perspective, the desire of migrants to improve their economic status provides no legal or moral imperative for permitting entry.

Those who turned down Mexico’s offer aren’t acting on a serious fear of persecution in their home country, the standard under international law for refugee status. They aren’t acting on fear of violence, either.

The U.S. should have no compunction about keeping them out.

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