The media dispatches from the Honduran “caravan” coming from Honduras to the United States have proved one thing at the very least: The United States is the only country on earth that the media thinks shouldn’t be allowed to enforce immigration law.
There are sometimes exceptions to this, of course. If you’re a European country and the illegal immigrants can plausibly be framed as “refugees” in even the slightest of ways, you also can’t enforce border laws. Also, if the American president happens to be a Democrat, we get a little bit more enforcement leeway. In fact, we can even put children in cages if that’s the case! If it’s a Republican president, however, they only get accused of putting children in cages, even when they’re not.
Take this headline from the BBC over the thousands-strong march of individuals hoping to enter the United States: “Migrant caravan: ‘May God soften Trump’s heart.’” Your television license fee at work, Britannia.
The folks at the Beeb weren’t the only ones pushing maudlin stories which tended to completely ignore the fact that there’s a reason they call it illegal immigration. NBC was also in on the take, too, presenting a mother who openly admitted she had abandoned some of her children to join the caravan, which is apparently heartbreakingly beautiful and something to be celebrated:
Several thousand Honduran migrants moved this week through Guatemala, many heading to shelters in Guatemala City for food and rest before they continue on their journeys.
Among them is Karen Aviles. She hopes to reach the U.S. and find work to send money back home. pic.twitter.com/UjC0mK7hx5
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 19, 2018
Karen Aviles openly admits she left six of her children in Honduras — including one who “was getting lost to drugs” — so that she could go to the United States.
The only thing worse than this is that she’s decided to march two of her children across Mexico in a caravan that seems to be as much of a political stunt as it is a legitimate way to get to the United States.
“I hope perhaps other countries can help us,” Aviles said, “because in Honduras we haven’t found it.”
It’s entirely possible to have the utmost sympathy for the plight Aviles faces in her homeland while still acknowledging the fact that this may not be the wisest parenting decision. Beyond that, however, I’d like to talk about the media’s handling of this.
Remember the outrage we had, literally just months ago, over the prospect of separating children from parents for a period of a few weeks if they were caught illegally crossing the border? I seem to remember being lectured in the sternest of terms not only about how unjust this was, but also how science shows that children need their mothers and even the shortest lacuna in parental care can have grave developmental consequences.
At least those children were safe in detention facilities designed to be as comfortable as possible. This mother is admittedly leaving them behind in a place she says is too violent for them.
Has science changed in the intervening news cycles? No in italics. What’s changed is positionality. Karen Aviles has, as one Twitterer put it, “self-separated” herself from her children, and that makes her the tragic human face of this caravan.
So this mother of 8 children is trying to get to the US to make money to send back to her country
Not just no, but hell no https://t.co/sWGUt8WZC7
— Cameron Gray (@Cameron_Gray) October 20, 2018
Either way, the big meanie is in the White House. And if you agree that we ought to enforce immigration law, you’re a little meanie.
The great irony of this is that by helping perpetuate illegal immigration, the media is essentially entrenching the very force that’s created the bulk of Honduras’ problems in the first place.
Like much of Central America, the violence in Honduras is primarily fueled by organized crime — a group which makes a not insubstantial portion of its profits through loose borders and human trafficking. If you wanted to make Honduras a better place so that individuals like Karen Aviles wouldn’t need to be deracinated, you could certainly do worse by than stopping those things.
Peaceful and beatific though this march may seem, it represents something far from either one of those things.
The media doesn’t particularly care about any of that, though. Anything that irks President Donald Trump must be good and holy.
Immigration especially falls into this category, which is why even a mother who has “self-separated” herself from her own children can be considered a hero just months after child separations prompted a fit of indignation.