The Weekly Round-Up

The Weekly Round-Up

Posted on in Refugees.

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Welcome to The Briefing newsletter by Jason Clarke and Mitchell Dorris. Mitchell is the Faith and Politics writer for SEEK and will be weighing in on the latest issues relating to refugees and immigration as it relates to the intersection of national policy and faith. This week we will be talking about the recent incident at the Port of Entry in San Ysidro, California. This incident actually closed the largest land border crossing on the planet for a few hours. We will talk about the different narratives being put forward and how we should separate fact from fiction.

San Ysidro Border Crossing

On Sunday, November 25, around 1,000 migrants in Tijuana started a march protesting the asylum request process within the United States. As of right now, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents are able to hear 30 to 90 asylum requests per day. This creates major backlogs for migrants waiting their turn in a nearby sports arena. At some point during this protest, a few migrants seeking to enter the country illegally by crossing an opening on the border. CBP agents claimed some of the protestors were exhibiting “assaultive behavior.” Four CBP agents were hit with rocks, which resulted in a response from the CBP agents deployed at the border. This includes using tear gas and other “less than lethal devices.” For a few hours on Sunday, pedestrian and vehicle crossing was closed for several hours. By Sunday afternoon the border crossing re-opened. CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan stated on Monday that 69 migrants were arrested on the United States side of the border and have been deported to their native country.

Differing Narratives 

Over the course of the last few days, we have seen competing narratives when it comes to this incident at the border. On one hand, you have people focusing on the illegal crossing of the border and on the other you have people focusing on the tear gas used by the CBP agents to deter the protestors. As always, people will try there hardest to promote the side of the story that aligns mostly with their agenda. The question then becomes, which story is the truth?

The facts, in this case, are simple. The overwhelming majority of the migrants at the border are trying to request asylum in a legal way. Right now there are around 5,000 migrants living in a sports complex close to the border and they are waiting for their chance to request asylum. That being said, we cannot ignore the fact that some migrants tried to cross the border illegally. When they did they were apprehended and deported. CBP stated that no migrants were able to cross successfully. CBP was able to do their jobs successfully.

All of this comes together and forces us to think about what the truth is. The facts here are that there were migrants who crossed the border illegally and they were all stopped. The number of migrants who were apprehended is minuscule in comparison to the number of migrants who are waiting on the Mexican side of the border. What we cannot do with this issue is use an incident like this to characterize every single migrant. The almost 5,000 migrants seeking asylum are not all criminals. In fact, not every single one of them will be granted asylum. So, before we put a stereotype on every single migrant in the caravan, we should take a moment to take a look at the facts and see what the real story is.