Another blown narrative: USC study shows migrant caravan not about escaping 'violence'
A new study on Central American migrants by the University of Southern California, hardly a conservative source, finds that caravan migrants and others like them are overwhelmingly job-seekers and people looking to join their families. What they're not is people fleeing violence and persecution. So the asylum "narrative" promoted in the press and by the left-wing lawyers now stands exposed as phony.
According to the Washington Times:
And while they are often referred to as asylum-seekers, few of the migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – the chief sending countries – are likely to end up winning asylum in the U.S., according to the study by academics at the National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE) at the University of Southern California, and the Institute for Defense Analyses.
Adults are most likely to come for better jobs, the researchers said. They can improve their incomes by 1,200 percent in moving from Central America to the U.S. Children, meanwhile, are coming for economic opportunities but also to reunite with family already in the U.S., they concluded.
"The standard wisdom [that] it's all about violence could not be supported by our data," said Detlof von Winterfeldt, a researcher at CREATE.
That's significant because the press has been playing up the asylum claims, and politicians such as California's governor-elect have been making political hay off it. Turning on the treacle, Gavin Newsom tried to frame Sunday's border charge as violence on people fleeing violence:
"These children are barefoot. In diapers. Choking on tear gas," Newsom wrote on Twitter after photos surfaced of a woman at the border with two young children trying to avoid tear gas cannisters [sic]. "Women and children who left their lives behind – seeking peace and asylum – were met with violence and fear. That's not my America. We're a land of refuge. Of hope. Of freedom. And we will not stand for this."
And who could forget the storied "wisdom" of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, comparing Central America's migrants to the Jews fleeing the Holocaust?
Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez immediately slammed the move on Twitter. Ocasio-Cortez wrote, "Asking to be considered a refugee & applying for status isn't a crime. It wasn't for Jewish families fleeing Germany. It wasn't for targeted families fleeing Rwanda. It wasn't for communities fleeing war-torn Syria. And it isn't for those fleeing violence in Central America."
There we have it: "fleeing violence." The term is repeated again and again in the left's bid to create a "narrative."
Except that it's not violence that's being fled; it's the wages of being uneducated, low-skilled, and wanting more. Plus the big banquet of U.S. bennies – it's always all about the bennies. Such people, as I noted yesterday, are very costly to the U.S. when they are admitted as refugees and asylees, forcing us to shell out $8.8 billion, or an $80,000 free ride per asylee.
Most of these guys aren't going to get asylum, as the latest data show, but 9% will, and even that suggests some corner-cutting, given that Central America is composed of countries recognized as democracies.
The Washington Times notes that the surge in asylum claims is based on word getting out that the system can be gamed.
Immigrant-rights activists say the Central Americans are asylum-seekers fleeing horrific gang violence and government indifference back home. They point to murder-rate statistics as key evidence for the "push factor."
The Trump administration, though, argues that the "pull factors" of family already in the U.S., the chance for better jobs, and the low risks of being turned back are more important.
The new report, which was submitted to the Homeland Security Department, which supported the research, said there's mixed evidence on violence being a factor, but said the evidence on the pulls is more clear.
And the researchers put data behind what analysts have long guessed: migrants from Central America appear to have figured out how to navigate U.S. humanitarian laws to their own benefit.
What's more, applying for asylum is the only cost-free way of applying to get into the U.S. As 91% of these migrants get their claims thrown out, failing to show up (and, amazingly, 40% failing to even file), most are free to move about the country and hold jobs, which was the whole idea in the first place.
Call it what you want, but the violence narrative is dead. The reality is, these guys don't want freedom. They're just coming for the stuff.
Image credit: The Ingraham Angle / Fox News, via YouTube, screen grab.