Like most Americans, I have been watching the news of the South American caravan with growing interest, and a bit of trepidation. The group’s announced destination is California, not Texas or Arizona. Apparently, the migrants are well-versed in American immigration policy, and assumed that the Golden State’s sanctuary policies would be more forgiving to their plight.

I have a lot of sympathy for the mass exodus of people fleeing South America. Truly, how can you not when you see the children walking along carrying bags of their belongings. I sympathize with the unemployment, corruption and violence many face in their home countries.

But make no mistake, what is progressing toward our southern border is an invasion force. Organized, transported and timed to get maximum exposure before the mid-term elections. What started as a few thousand “economic migrants” has now ballooned to over 7,000 people, with more and more working age males joining the ranks daily. Some are saying that a few thousand more could join in between Mexico’s southern border and the United States.

Just prior to the group entering Guatemala their president, Jimmy Morales, announced that authorities had captured 100 suspects who had connections to ISIS within their country. While those arrested were deported, the fact that ISIS combatants are in South America and could theoretically circumvent travel bans by joining a caravan is more than a little disconcerting.

Monday brought news that a group of Bangladeshi people joined those from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Guatemalan intelligence discovered people from India and Africa had joined the caravan as well. Young members of MS-13 were also identified within the group. More than a few have already been deported, and are trying to re-enter the United States.

Rightly, President Trump has threatened to cut off foreign aid to the countries who allow these migrants unimpeded access to our country. In addition, the president pledged to send “as many troops as necessary” to secure our border.

The optics of this caravan have not been with those favoring open immigration. Flags waving (foreign ones - definitely not American), fence-busting and police beating are not signs of a people looking for a safe haven, but those who want to force their way in by any means necessary. Even before this caravan hits the American border, immigration from South America was up 30 percent from last year. I guess good economics and plentiful jobs are a draw unlike most others.

Mexico has asked the United Nations for help to deal with the asylum-seekers, and the UN High Commissioner on Refugees to help deal with the mass of people Trump has said will not be allowed to enter the United States. Mexico’s plan is for the UNHCR to identify legitimate asylum claims, with those found to be outside of the commission’s strict guidelines for refugee status being deported back to Honduras or South America.

It looks as though the patience of regular, everyday Americans is reaching it’s breaking point with this nonsense. I wonder what kind of change this many people marching on their own government could affect - rather than marching towards ours with demands for rights granted our citizens.

Once again, we have a mob trying to force change, rather than following the rule of law. And like during the Kavanaugh hearings, we will see how much Americans like being told what they have to accept and tolerate - over and over again. If this caravan is allowed to enter, when will it stop? Rumors already abound of other caravans forming to try to catch up to this first caravan, or start a second one. Will that one be too much, what about the 10th?

Regardless of one’s views on increasing legal immigration into the United States, I can’t see anybody thinking it is a good idea to allow a wave of thousands upon thousands of migrants the opportunity to cut in front of the many people who are waiting their turn, and in front of those who legally immigrate here.

Someone more cynical could think these types of mass migrations were meant to overwhelm an already overburdened system. To push the bounds so far the dam breaks. Well, they may get their wish. President Trump will not back down on this.

It would be nice if we could have a conversation about what constitutes an acceptable level of immigration, before this swarm reaches the gates in San Ysidro, but I am not holding out much hope for that in this political climate.

Staff columnist Toni Butero can be reached at tbutero@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 862-2222.