The Impertinence of the Migrant Caravan

My grandma, who survived both the Spanish flu epidemic and the Great Depression, was fond of the saying, “Beggars can’t be choosers.” It’s a folksy way of expressing the notion that when you rely on others for charity, it’s just plain rude to demand something other than what a gracious benefactor is willing to provide.

The caravan migrants currently making their way toward the United States from the Northern Triangle (Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador) claim they’ve been driven out of their native countries by criminal violence and economic failure – that they had no choice but to leave.

Generally speaking, people in dire straits politely ask their neighbors for assistance and gratefully accept relief efforts. They rarely pass up a warm, dry FEMA trailer because it’s not the Ritz-Carlton. But that’s exactly what is happening with the migrant caravan.

Mexico has offered caravanners both refuge and work permits. Yet most of the migrants have refused its proposal, demanding admission to and asylum in the United States. And they have done so despite the fact that Mexico shares their native language, has a similar culture and an economy that provides more opportunity for low-skilled laborers.

Why? Because the bulk of the individuals in the caravan are economic migrants rather than true asylum seekers. They’re not fleeing political persecution of the type contemplated by American asylum statutes. They’re seeking economic opportunity.

And while life in Mexico may be safer and more secure than in the Northern Triangle, the United States provides a much more significant economic advantage. Even at low-income levels, the standard of life in United States life is absolutely luxurious compared to that in either Mexico, Honduras Guatemala and El Salvador. But economic migrants to the United States have to get in line and the caravan members don’t want to wait

Now, the migrants are demanding that someone provide them with buses, so that they can ride to the United States in comfort, and press their baseless demands for admission to our country. And there seems to be little comprehension amongst caravan members that these kinds of unreasonable demands tend to rub Americans the wrong way.

Most of us have received some version of grandma’s wisdom. And we find it impermissibly rude when neighbors in alleged distress show up at our door and dictate to us what type of charity they believe we are obligated to give them, and exactly what type they’re willing to accept. That’s just a bit too choosy for our tastes.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. Pingback: The Impertinence of the Migrant Caravan | San Antonio Tea Party

  2. avatar

    Arrest Obamas, Clintons, Bushes, Soros for their crimes against American Citizens and against our Constitution FOR the USA.  Banish them from USA for life.  REPEL the illegal invaders!

  3. avatar
    Stephen Russell on

    The Rip Off Caravan comes, not for pure reasons BUT to plague our system.
    Someone is urging them onto the US despite Mexico aiding along way, (Thanks Mexico).
    Or else common Joe refugee would say Yes,
    Closer to home???
    & maybe tourism can provide income??
    Theyre being egged onto the US.
    Yet read of division within caravans, dissention.

  4. avatar
    Veronica Reimann on

    If the USA would stop adverting about our welfare program & the churches stop encouraging them to come here so they can swell their ranks. we could eliminate half of this problem. or if they do make a rule that all these wealthy churches pay all the bills

    • avatar

      This is a huge problem.. our government continues to dish out free handouts to the illegal aliens and they know it.. .. this encourages these illegal aliens to flood this country to take what they can get… IF we would STOP ALL free handouts to ALL illegal aliens, there would not be the incentive that pulls them here… and ANYONE Who thinks they are coming here just for a job, is completely kidding themselves.. ask them why they come here and they will tell you for the free benefits they can get…. some in the caravan were asked why by a reporter and they responded for the free benefits… we should NOT be spending ONE dime to take care of illegal aliens… it’s rewarding them for breaking out laws and unless we stop this insanity, it will NEVER end.. more and more of them will flood this country demanding a piece of the pie… they don’t want to work for it, they want it all handed to them…
      they pretty much said they aren’t coming for asylum but for what they can take from this country, when they turned down Mexico’s asylum offer which included free medical, free housing and a job… and we have politicians who allow these people to cheat our system and then reward them for it and they know it… when more and more illegal aliens flood this country, it’s the citizens who pay the price in more ways then one…

  5. Pingback: The Military and the Border: No Laughing Matter |

  6. avatar

    One of the best conservative columnists in this country is Marc Thiessen of the Washington Post, who is actually one of the few pro-Trump columnists. There are plenty of other supposed “conservative” columnists like George Will and Jennifer Rubin who are rabidly anti-Trump and are held up by the media as what “real” conservatives think, when they are actually nothing but the same old neocon globalists.

    Thiessen wrote this: “When the president announced that he was sending the US military to help secure our southern border, he received bipartisan support from members of Congress. The Washington Post reported that the move was seen as “smart politics”. The year was 2011 and the president was Barack Obama. The National Guard troops Obama sent as part of Operation Phalanx helped apprehend nearly 18,000 immigrants and seized more than 56,000 pounds of illegal drugs.”

    Thiessen went on to note that both Bushes had taken the same actions and “In 1994 Bill Clinton launched Operation Gatekeeper, deploying military personnel to help regain “control” of the San Diego-Tijuana border. Trump’s critics say pointing out this history is simply “whataboutism.” Sorry, if there was not so much rank hypocrisy among those castigating Trump, there would be no need to say, “what about?” “.

    Thiessen also noted the claims of anti-Semitism made against Trump: “And it is fair to point out that these critics were silent a few weeks ago when former President Clinton shared a stage with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has declared “Hitler was a very great man”. Would Trump’s critics have had the same reaction if Trump attended a funeral where he shared the stage with David Duke?”

    And the answer is of course not. If Trump was within a mile of Duke, the media and the left would have been in an uproar. You could just hear the horns blaring at the beginning of the Today Show and the words “Outrage grows across the nation as Trump-Duke scandal widens”. Trump actually has two battlefronts. The Republicans and a media that is overwhelmingly biased against him.

  7. avatar

    Finally an article that is fact-based and true. No one has said they are against immigration. The right way. But that is not the plan. We need the wall.

  8. avatar

    they are coming to take their land back…they claim to be the native Americans that we stole this land from and whites better go back to Europe, or die.

  9. avatar

    This country has poor people as well. My dad died in 1961 in an automobile accident leaving six children under the age of 12. Mother did get Social Security in the amount of $77.00 per month. No medical coverage. Mother worked in a mill 10 hours a day. She grew a garden and would can, dry, and freeze food for her family. NO ONE was ever hungry at our house. My mother’s hard work, as well as many others , are what has made this country great. Why do these people think they should reap benefits from what someone else worked so hard to build. The government has never supported any of our family. Mother taught all her children to work. be conservative. and never beg. We have done well in life. This is what has made AMERICA GREAT.
    STOP WHINING: GET A JOB. and make your country great.

  10. avatar

    GIMME GIMME GIMME has been taught to them as we spent 18 billion a year just so illegals can make anchor babies, and send 500 million a year in relief to their countries. Corrupt officials keep the money in their dictatorships. we allow them to steal SS numbers, rape the taxpayers for everything they can get, they do not care where the money comes from and it will never be enough. they love the drug trade as it is good biz for their people, they are just giving the stupid gringos what they want…hooray that it kills 65-75,000 gringos every year. INVADE AND OCCUPY. Make no mistake, they will kill you for whatever they want and call it God’s will, as the sick terrorist thinking comes out of the Hispanic churches.

  11. avatar

    Entitlement mentality? Gee, ya think? Sorry, but literally BILLIONS of human beings live in conditions far worse than Central America, and they can’t all come to the US; not even close. We could double our current population overnight via immigration and it wouldn’t make a dent in world poverty. Americans, of course, would be much WORSE off.

    • avatar

      exactly… The politicians sure don’t seem to have a problem bringing down American people… could care less that they are struggling to survive… we should NOT be spending ONE DIME on illegal aliens.. it simply encourages more and more of them to come and demand the same… At some point, this country will collapse under the strain… the more and more of these people who flood this country, the greater the burden will be for the American people