Letter: Let's put the caravan into perspective

A migrant caravan which started in central America is currently about 1,000 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. The group of nearly 7,000 would presumably be seeking asylum in the United States. This caravan of families has packed up their belongings and started walking, all for the chance to reach the doorstep of America with hopes that their request to enter will be granted.

I hadn’t given much thought to these migrants when I first heard mention of them, but now it’s nearly impossible to go an hour without getting an update on their proximity to the United States.

It appears, with the upcoming general election, that this caravan is being used as a political tool. Preying on people’s unwarranted fear of immigrants has always been an effective motivator to get people to vote for candidates that take a hard-line on immigration. The alarm being spread by some news outlets is the stuff of typical fear-mongering; i.e., these migrants are criminals who mean us harm and if they’re not coming to commit violent crimes then surely they will take our jobs.

In order to gain some peace of mind, I had to take a closer look at the numbers relating to asylum seekers and illegal immigration. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website, more than 50,000 illegal aliens were apprehended along our southwest border in the month of September this year. Let’s say the size estimates of this caravan are correct and all 7,000 migrants make it to the U.S.-Mexico border, that would still only be a fraction of what our border patrol agents took into custody last month.

Next, there is the likelihood that most of these migrants will request asylum in order to gain their admittance to the U.S. The majority of these would-be asylum seekers are from Honduras, which is the central American country from which the caravan originated. Along the way others have joined the group from El Salvador, Guatemala, and more than likely Mexico. Four of the top five nations whose citizens are most often denied asylum by the United States are Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico.

Finally, if we are to believe reports that Middle Eastern terrorists are hiding among the migrants in an attempt to enter the U.S. illegally, just know that your odds of being killed by a foreign-born terrorist that has entered the country illegally, according to the Cato Institute, are 1 in 10.9 billion.

To put that in perspective, considering your odds of winning the Powerball are nearly 1 in 300 million that would mean you are 36 times more likely to win the lottery than you are to be killed by a terrorist that has entered the country illegally.

To be clear, I am not advocating to give these or any potential immigrants a free pass into the U.S. I am simply pointing out that a story concerning a group of migrants heading in our direction should not be as fear-inducing as the media likes to portray it.