President Trump’s most ardent supporters, which seems to be most of the Republican Party now, have followed his lead in framing the threat of the migrant caravans heading towards our border – or waiting just on the other side already. Many Republicans and conservative news outlets have focused on the dangerous elements within the caravans.
I know because I did the same thing. Now, I realize we were wrong to make that the focus.
When the focus is on the dangerous elements within the caravan, we’re falling into the hyperbolic, emotion-driven style of argument that demands proof in order to sway the opposition. It’s a losing argument because no matter what evidence we present, the left will have a valid comeback.
“There are only a few problematic people in the group.”
“You can’t condemn the majority for the sake of a small minority.”
“They’re only getting violent because we’re not showing them the compassion they deserve.”
When we make claims that the real dangers of the caravan are the criminal elements within it, we are taking on the burden of proving our claims. When trying to prove something to leftists, we’re asking them to do what they seem incapable of doing – suspending disbelief. They are firm in their beliefs, yet most of us have tried to scare them into changing those beliefs.
It’s the wrong argument.
The right argument is that we’re a sovereign nation that should get to choose who we allow to cross our borders. We are a sovereign nation that can decide whether or not someone should be allowed to stay. We’re a nation of law, order, and borders, and all three must be respected if we are to continue to be a nation going forward.
National Review’s Rich Lowry said it much better:
“Trump has been wrong to portray the migrants as inherently threatening — the overwhelming majority just want a better life — but we have the sovereign right to decide who does and doesn’t come to this country, and demand that it be an orderly, lawful process.”
It’s time we change our focus from pointing out how evil the caravans are to the constitutional and legal arguments that it doesn’t matter how dangerous they are. When we fight our battles from the high ground instead of diving headfirst into the valleys of sludge where the counterarguments are made, our chances of winning the argument go up tremendously.
Trump has been wrong to portray the migrants as inherently threatening — the overwhelming majority just want a better life — but we have the sovereign right to decide who does and doesn’t come to this country, and demand that it be an orderly, lawful process.
If any significant portion of the caravan gains entry, it will send a message that large-scale movements of people are better than small groups. This could lead to even more pressure at the border, no matter how much it will be dismissed by the same people who insisted the caravan would never arrive at the border.