The Syrian refugee crisis is happening a long way from the U.S.-Mexico border. About 5,630 miles, give or take a hundred miles. And yet, when we’re confronted with a global phenomenon of gigantic proportions, it’s human nature to try to get a handle on it by framing it in the context of what we know. And in the United States, what we know is the national immigration debate, concerns over security and assimilation, the tension between labor demands and nativist impulses, and the assumption that our southern border is broken. So perhaps not surprisingly, when we watch stories about the refugee crisis on U.S. media or listen when the issue is discussed on talk radio, it only takes a few minutes for someone to bring up the U.S.-Mexico border and parrot the rightwing talking point that there is an “invasion” occurring right under our noses.

Those people don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. What Americans are experiencing on the U.S.-Mexico border is not an invasion or even much of a crisis. It’s a daily illustration of the economic phenomenon of supply and demand. Mexico—and a few other countries in Latin America—supplies the workers to meet Americans’ demand for affordable and dependable labor. The term “invasion” implies a measure of passivity and victimhood, and—when it comes to how the United States came to be home to an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants—Americans are not passive and no one’s victims. They made their own bed. Or rather, in homes and hotels all across America, they let illegal immigrants make their beds, clean their homes, raise their kids, cut their lawns, etc…

Let’s look on the bright side. For all they’ve gone through, our Middle Eastern visitors will at least have one thing going for them when they arrive in the United States: They’re not Latino. Which means that—unlike the Central Americans—it will be tough for those who want to keep them out to bake them into the existing narrative of an “invasion” on our southern border that threatens the country’s language, culture, and demographic makeup.