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Commentary: Caravan confirms what Trump has been saying for weeks

Was Trump right about migrant caravan?

On Sunday, hundreds of would-be illegal immigrants gathered at the U.S. border to make a massive contribution to the Trump 2020 re-election campaign. They chanted that they weren't bound by the idea of borders and laws ("We are not criminals! We are international workers!").  They hurled rocks at U.S. Border Patrol agents. They rushed the border itself, cutting holes in fencing and climbing walls. They forced authorities to use tear gas to protect themselves and turn back the mob. The San Ysidro Port of Entry was forced to close for more than five hours.

In other words, they confirmed what President Trump has been saying for weeks about the caravan and what it represents. And, like clockwork, the president's progressive opponents have been answering his extreme rhetoric with their own.

The video of crowds of caravan participants pushing their way through border fencing or throwing rocks at uniformed Americans is disturbing.  Even more disturbing is the fact that the caravan's participants and organizers (like the subtly-named group "People Without Borders") have been telegraphing their plans for weeks. Weeks ago, while media outlets criticized President Trump over the caravan issue and insisting that it posed no threat, actual participants were looking into TV cameras and announcing their intention to cross the U.S. border — no matter what.

And now they've tried to do just that. The situation is so bad that Mexico's interior department announced Sunday it will deport around 500 migrants because they ignored Mexican authorities and tried to cross the border "violently" and illegally." Does it now seem so ludicrous to put a few thousand American soldiers at that border?

The American Left still thinks so.

Tear gas seems like a reasonable police response a rock-throwing mob trying to rush the U.S. border. But Democrats and their media allies immediately tried to portray the U.S. Border Patrol as over-reacting….or worse.

"Why tear gas? Is this consistent with the Conventions on Chemical Weapons?" asked U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in a tweet he later deleted.  "WHO GAVE THE ORDER?" he demanded in all caps.

Soon-to-be Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted "Asking to be considered a refugee & applying for status isn't a crime," and comparing the people who rushed the border to "Jewish families fleeing Germany" during the Hitler era.

Progressive activist and CNN regular Symone Sanders declared: "The U.S. government is attacking asylum seekers."

Actually…no.  Seeking asylum doesn't involve throwing rocks or climbing fences or rushing border stations. And Central America isn't Hitler's Germany or even Assad's Syria. If everyone who lives in poverty and under a dysfunctional government were entitled to asylum in the U.S., our borders would be open to about a billion people.

And if Trump is Hitler for using tear gas at the border, who was President Obama when his Border Patrol took similar actions in 2013? 

"A group of about 100 people trying to illegally cross the border Sunday near the San Ysidro port of entry threw rocks and bottles at U.S. Border Patrol agents, who responded by using pepper spray and other means to force the crowd back into Mexico," the San Diego Union-Tribune reported five years ago.

But even if the border were quiet, even if the caravans — which have been coming for years, by the way — ended their journeys, America would still have a problem. As the Washington Post (no fans of Trump) reported this weekend:

"Last month, 23,121 members of 'family units' were arrested along the U.S. southern border, the highest number on record and a 150 percent increase since July." According to the Post, smugglers working with would-be illegal immigrants have essentially weaponized children in their attacks on our borders. 

"Thousands more children are coming in the migrant caravans ... This is happening because Central Americans know they will have a better chance of avoiding deportation, at least temporarily, if they are processed along with children." The Post says smugglers are even lowering their prices when would-be border crosses come with kids.

All of which bolsters the views of President Trump and his supporters that America's compassion and rule of law are being used against it, that the bad guys will take advantage of our desire to avoid "harsh" enforcement to get what they want — namely, people inside the U.S., by hook or by crook.

Americans are of two minds when it comes to illegal immigration. They don't want to be mean-spirited and they hated scenes like those of young children being taken away from adults caught at the border.

At the same time, Americans don't want to be taken advantage of, either. If would-be immigrants are bringing small children on the arduous trip to our border as a strategy to take advantage of our laws, Americans are less likely to feel compassion.

Trump's position is that the only effective response is to be tough — even when it looks ugly.  He also points out that his opponents don't have any proposal to stop this abuse of our borders other than to simply let everyone in.

The ugliness at the Mexican side of the border, and the willingness of the American Left to portray law enforcement as the problem, plays right into Trump's hands, making him look prescient and giving him an early re-election boos.