WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

22 Nov 2018 | WOLA Statement

Bring the Facts to your Holiday Table

This holiday season, many of us will inevitably find ourselves across the table from a relative with a misunderstanding about what is true and what is false regarding migration, caravans, walls, or a whole host of other topics on our president’s anti-immigrant agenda.

Luckily, the facts are on our side. So when faced with people echoing Trump’s talking points, we at WOLA respond with data (and a little bit of humor, since we shouldn’t force people to “eat their vegetables”). Now you can too.

As you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner, here are a few facts to have in your pocket to make sure you’re prepared for whatever comes from the other side of that table.

  • The Cara-who? Sorry, doesn’t ring a bell. You must mean that caravan we heard so much about—until the midterm elections were over, that is. Mexican authorities registered caravan participants when they passed through Mexico City, and they estimated that something like two-thirds were parents or children. Quite different from the “hardened criminals” we’d heard so much about.
  • More and more Central American children and families seeking protection are among the people apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border. And we need humane options to address this increase. In October, children and families made up a stunning and unprecedented 55 percent of the total number of migrants, and 40 percent of the overall total in fiscal year 2018. This has never happened before. As recently as 2012, less than 10 percent of apprehended migrants were children and families.
  • Contrary to what you may see on Twitter (unless you follow @wola_org), migration levels are at their lowest point in 45 years. In fiscal year 2018, the average Border Patrol agent apprehended only 23 migrants all year, nine of whom were kids or families seeking out agents to apply for asylum. That’s it. That means that Border Patrol agents go days, even weeks, without contact with migrants. Strange, this doesn’t seem like a migration crisis—certainly nothing that merits thousands of U.S. troops missing their Thanksgiving dinners.
  • Despite what you may have heard from the White House, walls don’t stop drugs from coming in across the border. Most drugs get smuggled through the official border crossings, not in the places where walls would go. For example, of all heroin that U.S. authorities seized at border this year, only 10% was seized between official crossings. And only 12% of cocaine, 13% of meth, and 20% of fentanyl.
  • Speaking of walls, Trump’s proposed 722 miles of additional “border wall” would cost a staggering $25 million per mile. Let’s put that in perspective. It would cost about 32 Border-Wall Miles to house every one of the 40,000 homeless veterans in the United States for a year (assuming $20,000 each). Or, for a single Border-Wall Mile, you could buy over three million chicken burritos at Chipotle. This includes sales tax (Guacamole is extra).

I could go on. And on. And on further still. If you’re curious to learn more, WOLA has issued fact sheets, crunched the numbers, and launched the Beyond the Wall Campaign to stop this administration’s misinformation campaign and continuously prove that Trump’s “zero tolerance” policies are inhumane and ineffective. Your support makes this possible. Thank you.

All of us at WOLA wish you a happy holiday. Good luck!