For months, the crisis on America’s southern border has been dominated by families with children from the so-called northern triangle of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador). Arriving at the rate of 100,000 a month since January, Central Americans swamped the facilities, resources, and ability of officials to cope with the influx.
“Please do not make yourselves too comfortable,” Trump tweeted last month about this influx of migrants, because “you will be leaving soon!”
He followed up last week with another tweet, announcing that “ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in.”
But to the surprise of border agents, many hundreds of migrants from Africa are pouring over our border also. They do not speak Spanish, adding a new headache to our border patrol trained in that language.
No one is quite sure who is paying for the African migrants to traverse the ocean, and then typically hop a free ride to get close to our border. They hail from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the second-largest nation by area in all of Africa.
Congo has been in a never-ending civil war for decades. It is divided between Christians and Muslims, and various indigenous languages and French.
Congo has a massive a population of 81 million, which is comparable to that of Germany, and more than that of Great Britain or France. The people of war-torn Congo have many reasons to flee for a more peaceful land, but why to our country that is many thousands of miles and an ocean away from them?
Maine is their destination, because its Democratic politicians have been aggressively attracting asylum seekers from Congo. Maine’s cold climate and diet of lobster is not exactly a perfect fit for refugees from the mostly landlocked, distant country of Congo.
Yet this is the insanity that goes on as Democrats, who control Maine, want to prop up their census count and enhance their political strength. Maine once had eight congressional districts, but that has dwindled to merely two amid smaller population growth than southern states, and Democrats see illegal immigration as a way to boost their numbers.
In just one week, the number of migrants from Africa crossing the Rio Grande into Texas was more than double the total number of Africans caught crossing our entire southern border during all of last year. Border patrol agents are baffled at how or why these migrants, who are mostly from the Republic of the Congo, are flooding across our southern border with Mexico.
The “why” is easy: like six billion other people around the globe, they seek the peace, freedom, security, and prosperity of the United States. The “how” is less clear.
Even though some of these African migrants may have legitimate claims for asylum, they still have no right to be here. Under international law they should seek asylum in the first safe country in which they arrive, which is not the United States.
Unfortunately our open southern border has become so famous now worldwide that migrants from every far-flung continent consider coming here illegally. With liberal cities rolling out the welcome mat, why not take advantage of a free plane ride and then wade across the Rio Grande?
These newly arrived African immigrants raise the question of whether they would be eligible for the reparations being promised by Democratic presidential candidates. At least 10 percent of our African-American population are descended from immigrants who came here after the Civil War ended slavery, so the claims of these migrants would be like those of other post-slavery immigrants.
Reparations or not, entitlement programs flow to illegal immigrants like a fire hose, at tremendous taxpayer expense. There may be liberal billionaires who are funding the expenses to relocate these migrants to Maine, but once here American taxpayers are footing their immense bills.
So many of these African migrants have arrived in Portland, Maine, that it has converted its Expo Center into a shelter for them on an emergency basis. Taxpayers are already paying for police protection, interpreters, medical services, three full meals a day, and sleeping accommodations.
It is more than 6,000 miles from Africa to Ecuador, more than 2,000 miles from Ecuador to Texas, and more than 2,000 miles from Texas to Maine, one of the coldest states in our country for migrants coming from a nation on the equator. Is this the American dream, or a recipe for a nightmare?
John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.