Border Patrol

Desperate people in desperate situations do desperate things.

Take the case of the thousands of people gathered at the Mexican border desperate to immigrate into the United States.

Earlier this week, television footage showed more than 500 of them marching toward the border. About 100 of the protestors stormed the U.S. border, forcing border patrol agents to disburse them with tear gas.

Even so, more than 40 managed to scramble over fences and barriers separating the two countries before being arrested.

Over the past two weeks, nearly 7,500 people fleeing from the threat of violence in their home countries have traveled by caravan to the United States’ southern border with Mexico.

Most are from Guatemala and El Salvador. They traveled more than 2,500 miles to reach the United States border in order to seek asylum.

Most of the immigrants storming the border were young men. But photos show women and children fleeing from tear gas canisters, too.

The photos are gut-wrenching and arouse strong emotions in people filled with compassion for those less fortunate than themselves. One photo in particular shows a young mother with her two children, wearing only shirts and disposable diapers, running from the tear gas.

I sympathize with the men and women who endured hardship during a long and arduous trip, only to be told at the end of their exodus that they must wait indefinitely before being considered for asylum and entry into the United States.

However, desperation does not excuse the actions of those who tried to forcibly invade the United States. The mob trying to force its way into our country gives law-abiding people seeking to immigrate to the U.S. a black eye.

President Trump has been saying for weeks that many of those in the caravans of asylum-seekers are criminals. The actions of those trying to enter the U.S. illegally give credence to the president’s contention.

I understand the United States is a nation built on immigration. But, there’s a right way and a wrong way to immigrate into this country.

Millions of Europeans immigrated to the United States more than a century ago and they had to go through a screening procedure not unlike the process in place today.

It seems reasonable to me to ask our neighbors south of the border to abide by our laws.

Of course, millions of illegal immigrants have successfully crossed the border and are living amongst us.

Many of them are hard-working people doing a variety of jobs well-fed Americans consider too menial to do themselves. Go to almost any construction site in Horry County and you’ll find Hispanic men and women doing a lot of backbreaking work.

Dealing with those illegal immigrants already in the United States is the subject of a different column.

More pressing is how to protect our southern border from desperate people who seem intent on defying our laws.

I , for one, support the President’s defense of the border.

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Steve Robertson is owner and publisher of the Waccamaw Publishers family of community newspapers

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