The overwhelming majority of people who made their way to the United States on the so-called “refugee caravan” passed a crucial test which helps determine whether they have a credible case for asylum, according to some of the nation’s top immigration officials.
Francis Cissna, the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, told a subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday that 327 migrants believed to have been traveling with the refugee caravan have sought asylum at a U.S. port of entry.
Cissna said that, so far, 216 of those 327 migrants have undergone a “credible fear” interview, one of the first steps of the asylum process that establishes whether an applicant has a “credible fear” of persecution if they return to their native country.
Of those 216 people, “205 got positive screenings,” he said. That means that 94% of those interviewed were able to establish they have a credible possible fear.
Cissna’s answer to this was not to admit that the smear campaign the Trump administration waged against the caravan was wrong. It was to lobby Congress to make it more difficult for asylum seekers to pass their credible fear interview.
“With continued claims of credible fear, and an immigration court backlog of more than 650,000 cases, it is clear that we must elevate the threshold of proof in credible fear screenings,” Cissna said.
Ronald Vitiello, the acting deputy commissioner with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, also reported that a relatively small number of alleged caravan migrants had been caught illegally entering the United States.
“Our records indicate that we arrested crossing illegally between the ports of entry 122 people who claimed to be part of the caravan,” Vitiello said. (Court records show the Border Patrol’s method of identifying caravan migrants is questionable.)
What’s clear is that President Trump made a big deal about a “massive inflow” of caravan migrants illegally crossing into the United States that never materialized.
On Twitter, the president warned about large and dangerous caravans making their way to the U.S. He even sent the National Guard to the border. Fox News followed up with news stories about a “showdown” at the border. Now, this has all been shown up for the baseless anti-immigrant propaganda that it always was.