Last year the migrant caravans made the news, in some cases for supposedly being fictional. At that time I wrote about the historical People’s Crusade that marched towards Byzantium. The sources described the dangers of a large caravan like that in the following language: “The People’s Crusade were a rough people, rude in manners, undisciplined and haughty, they committed very many other crimes […] They often got angry and ‘forcibly seize[d]…led away the herds of cattle and sheep.” As well, “other thoughtless persons drank beyond measure and violated the peace which had been commanded.”
Because of the loopholes in the immigration system involving families and asylum cases, as well as the failure of Congress to pass meaningful reform, these caravans will continue. In fact, the most recent caravan has resorted to violence in order to breach Mexico’s border. This is important to keep in mind as you read about this crisis. A passing comparison with the news about the caravans with the pertinent accounts of the People’s Crusade shows a strong correlation. The first caravans violently stormed a bridge at the border with Mexico, injuring six police officers and accusing them of racism. Another migrant caravan reported violence at the Guatemalan border with Mexico. The migrants threw rocks and used sticks against the Mexican police. Many people are dropping out of the first caravan, citing the “misbehavior” of others in the group. Despite the thousand years of time between the two groups, the Associated Press story used a synonym for the thoughtless, rude, or undisciplined members of their group that occurred in the People’s Crusade.
In Mexico, the main caravan has gotten into fights over food. This is particularly interesting as just like the People’s Crusade, the caravan was being provided with some food and transportation by local authorities, but at least some parts of the caravan fought the individuals and “forcibly seized” the food anyway. Past caravans have rejected offers for work visas and other incentives to stay in Mexico, apparently to seize food and go to America. The same group also panicked and ran down the streets claiming that one of their children had been kidnapped. These reports remain unverified, but suggest bad actors like cartels and human smugglers have infiltrated the group. It also suggests that this is an incredibly volatile situation where the mass of immigrants could stampede down the streets and react violently when they felt threatened.
This evidence of the dangers about this caravan is coming forth despite the fact that reporting is not always strictly honest and professional. Many groups are blatantly pro-immigrant and anti-American. They combine with American elites to scream racism over any concerns or objections, no matter how legitimate they are. But, despite the media and elite attempts to garner sympathy for the caravan and essentially cheerlead for them, it is apparent that Americans should have sincere concerns over the caravans. The people in the caravan have violently asserted their will, attacked people who helped them, complain of human traffickers, and seized border crossings using force. America has not vetted the group for wanted felons, gangsters, and other criminals. Even if those bad actors are just 1 percent of illegal immigrants, 1 percent of the estimated millions in America means there are thousands of potential criminals and terrorists in the country.
While the story about fleeing poverty and violence pulls at the heart strings, Americans have a right to be clear-eyed and wary about potential dangers, which are being shown in abundance through migrants’ violent travel. All of this is before we get to the comparisons with the People’s Crusade which showed the same behaviors and dangers of a volatile, undisciplined, group of people who often selfishly took sustenance and boldly breached the peace.