Border Crisis

While there is persistent concern around the U.S. border there are times when events increase tension to the point it is referred to as a border crisis. People on all sides of the political spectrum agree there is a crisis, however, they often identify different core issues and therefore advocate for different solutions.

Many feel as though the border crisis is best understood as a human rights issue, claiming that some have “concealed the humanitarian side of this debate” and are merely playing “political games by exploiting the vulnerability of migrants.” Some on the left have been reluctant to deem the situation at the border a crisis, claiming that “the US is the richest country in the world, so surely it can muster the financial resources and compassion to help these people who have clearly been driven to desperation in search of a better life”. 

The influx of migrants to the U.S. has many states and cities struggling to provide shelter, food, and care for many people in need. This has led to more bipartisan support for immigration reform. Nevertheless, many legal immigration activists are accusing Democrats of making decisions “driven largely by politics” and fear. These people would say that “both Democrats and Republicans are embracing a nativist approach to immigration”, leaving them nowhere to turn. Many tend to believe that immigration can aid our economy. They assert that migrants and asylum seekers “could be a much-needed solution to a labor supply crisis” and argue it would “make more sense for Congress to expand pathways for legal employment access.”

Some on the right argue against the notion of economic benefit, positing that due to the vastness of the border crisis, many unauthorized migrants have “flooded across the border” taking “US-born workers' jobs”. With an understanding that legal immigration is good and beneficial overall, they would assert that it must be done in a more controlled fashion. Those on the right argue that accepting loose policies that allow for mass influxes of unauthorized immigrants is not only of economic concern but one of national security.  Beyond the border, many on the right are highly concerned over rising crime rates, with some asserting that “migrant crime is turning cities into war zones”. Many would regard the issues as a humanitarian crisis but tend to focus more on the threats to the American public if the crisis on the border is left to continue. 

Some who identify not as left or right, but as independent, Libertarian or Anarcho-Capitalist to name a few, believe immigration fuels our economic growth and enriches American culture, and that the left and right do not have meaningfully different immigration policies. This group feels both Republicans and Democrats advocate for policies that are inhumane and counter-productive, and that the phrase "border crisis" is used to sensationalize the issue for political theater prior to elections, with neither side being willing to make meaningful changes once elected.

Others claim that xenophobia is the true crisis at the border, stating that here in America we fear and “doubt that immigrants will ever fully assimilate unless we force them, and maybe not even then”. To build on this, some submit that there is an increase in rhetoric that “echoes the Great Replacement conspiracy theory”, a theory based on the notion that “white people are being replaced by immigrants, Muslims, and other people of color in their so-called home countries”. This, some claim, has been adapted to fit a narrative “amplified by conservative media” to show how elections are being tarnished with rampant migration numbers. 

One thing much of the general public agrees upon, regardless of political affiliations, is the notion that the U.S. government is not doing well when it comes to influxes of migrants. Identifying areas of agreement can serve as a valuable starting point for navigating differences and finding common ground.  

No matter where one may fall on the spectrum, most all can agree that the border crisis carries along with it a very diverse and complex set of problems. Understanding how others view a crisis is a great way to start paths toward finding solutions.