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Warped American values: Soldiers sent to the border to confront desperate pilgrims

Warped American values: Soldiers sent to the border to confront desperate pilgrims
Central American migrants, part of a caravan hoping to reach the U.S. border, wait for a ride in Donaji, Mexico, on Nov. 2. (Rodrigo Abd / AP)

To the editor: Thousands of active-duty U.S. troops likely will not be spending this Thanksgiving with family and loved ones. They have been ordered to our southern border to assist efforts to stop the men, women and children who may ask for asylum in the United States.

The asylum-seekers know our president does not want them. They know the obstacles that await them. But they seem to have an unwavering confidence and hope in the humanity and righteousness of the United States that drives their continued trek toward a better life in a perceived promised land.

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Their perseverance resembles a pilgrimage. President Trump has not extinguished their hope, nor should he extinguish ours. The caravan should serve as an inspiration and a reminder to all Americans of who we are and what we still represent.

William Goldman, Palos Verdes Estates

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To the editor: While Trump persists in labeling the thousands of people approaching our southern border an “invasion,” his critics have insisted that the caravan is nothing of the sort.

If that is the case, why is a “home invasion” considered an illegal and forceful entry to an occupied private dwelling? According to many news reports, participants in this caravan have made clear that regardless of the opposition of the U.S. government to their activity, they plan to cross the border any way they can.

If a homeless person looking for food and shelter breaks in and enters the Los Angeles Times’ offices, what would security personnel do? They would call the police, and the homeless person might be charged with a crime.

Isn’t that what the caravan intends to do? Why should they be treated differently? Anybody who wishes to come to this country should do so legally, as I did many years ago.

Raul De Cardenas, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Regardless of what we think about immigration or the plight of the approaching migrant caravan, we should consider the causes that drive hordes of people away from their homes, precipitating crises worldwide. Among them are corruption, hunger, warfare, poverty and environmental degradation.

One rarely mentioned cause is climate change. Central America and Mexico are particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise and the droughts, floods, hurricanes and deadly heatwaves it makes worse and more frequent. Perhaps walls and soldiers can keep the migrants out this time, but not the next time or the next as climate change worsens.

Strategies to exclude migrants can’t exclude climate change, which must be confronted aggressively both to save ourselves and to “solve” immigration. Otherwise, any attempt to keep migrants out will be doomed to failure.

Carol Steinhart, Madison, Wis.

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