It’s a day ending in “y,” so President Donald Trump is saying some heinously false and damaging shit on Twitter.
On Thursday morning, Trump tweeted the following:
Upon first reading, I asked: What “password” is he talking about? My coworker answered: “asylum,” the implication being that if undocumented people seeking entry to the U.S. just say that magic word, the imaginary door at our border swings wide open. With this tweet, the president is strongly insinuating that those seeking asylum in the United States are liars who should not be trusted.
First: seeking asylum is not the same as attempting to cross the border illegally. It is 100% legal to seek asylum at a port of entry. There is no limit to how many people can receive asylum in a given year. (That hasn’t stopped the Trump administration from trying to make the process of applying for asylum nearly impossible.)
Further, there is a system in place to determine whether asylum applicants’ claims are credible—that is to say, whether they face a legitimate fear of persecution in their home country. The majority of migrants in a refugee “caravan” that arrived at a U.S. port of entry this spring passed this “credible fear” interview, one of the first steps in the asylum process.
Still, the Trump administration is trying to paint these asylum seekers—many of whom are women and children—as liars, MS-13 moles in disguise, or worse. The Trump administration is working hard to limit not just illegal immigration but also legal immigration, all the while painting asylum seekers and refugees as unlawful, a Trojan Horse. The Trump administration has also repeatedly argued that children are being used as pawns to gain entry to the United States.
It is a sick irony that governs the White House line on this issue: that people fleeing horrific violence in their home countries are actually the perpetrators of that violence, and for that reason we should not offer them safe harbor. We live in a fallen state.