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Caravan is not coming for you

They have been called a threat to America’s security and rule of law, but the migrant caravans making their way through Mexico remain hundreds of miles away from the U.S. border.

They are not coming for you. You are not being threatened by a group of people who are more than a month’s walk away. But some politicians would have you believe this group is knocking on America’s door today. It’s a great way to fire up voters just before midterm elections.

These are only scare tactics.

“Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border. Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you,” President Trump wrote on Twitter.

Many in the group plan to seek asylum at the U.S. border, according to multiple media reports. That is a legal process, not an invasion. But to hear some describe it, you would think they are preparing to invade Texas and capture the capital city of Austin. Mississippi might be next!

Our nation’s immigration laws are in need of reform, but taking that position does not also mean you must vilify and threaten those who are seeking a better life here. What kind of country does not welcome those seeking refuge? What kind of country instead threatens those seeking asylum?

Trump is sending thousands of troops to the border to deal with these “very bad people.” When he says the military is waiting for them, what message is he sending? When public officials stand with machine-gun armed officers to talk about border security, the message is clear.

Immigration is a topic that gets Republicans fired up like nothing else, and Trump is playing into unfounded fears stoked by many on cable TV.

Regardless of your views on immigration or Trump or politics in general, we all would do well to take the time to gather a few facts before forming an opinion on this issue. And ideally those facts would come from more than one source. Getting all of your information from one place — whether it’s the president, Fox & Friends, CNN or the New York Times — is dangerous.

Thankfully, some at Fox News have tried to dispel the notion that America is under attack from the caravan.

Shep Smith, from right here in Mississippi, said this earlier in the week on Fox: “Tomorrow the migrants, according to Fox News reporting, are more than two months away, if any of them actually come here. But tomorrow is one week before the midterm election, which is what all of this is about. There is no invasion. No one’s coming to get you. There’s nothing at all to worry about.”

Smith is right, there is nothing to worry about, especially since we have such advance notice that hundreds — maybe thousands — of people plan to show up and seek asylum. If they were to show up to a border crossing unannounced, then maybe that’s cause for some worry from a logistical standpoint. But there is time to send enough personnel to the border to handle their requests.

This is not the first time a fear of “others” has been used for political gain, and it won’t be the last. But we are better than this as a country — or at least we should be.

Email publisher Luke Horton at luke.horton@dailyleader.com.