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Three Myths About Honduran Caravan Debunked
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Three Myths About Honduran Caravan Debunked

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CALIFORNIA — November 28, 2018

A liberal-minded public, mostly Democrats and the mainstream media, have actively and sometimes violently criticized the Trump administration’s response to the migrant caravans storming the nation’s southern border.

But, as is customary among liberals, they either don’t provide full context or are factually incorrect. This was reported on Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security.

Here are three narratives that the Department of Homeland Security is pushing back against:

1. Separating Myth from Fact on Child Separation

The long-running narrative has been that Border Patrol officials are separating children from parents. However, that doesn’t take into account fraudulent families, DHS spokeswoman Katie Waldman noted in a statement.

From April 19 to Sept. 30, the government separated a total of 507 illegal immigrants within “family units” that weren’t legitimate, meaning the adults were not parents or guardians of the children, Waldman said.

A total of 170 family units were separated based on lack of family relation, she said, including 197 adults and 139 juveniles.  Another 87 family units, including 171 adults, were separated based on a child determined to be over 18.

The Rio Grande Valley in Texas had the highest number of reported fraudulent cases.

“In response to the misreporting from multiple outlets, I wanted to highlight the rampant fraud taking place at our Southern border,” Waldman said in the statement. “Aliens know that if they bring any minor with them, they will be apprehended by Border Patrol and released into the interior of the United States.”

She clarified, however, that the department isn’t claiming all cases are fraudulent.

“This data does not show, nor does DHS assert, that all minors apprehended as part of a family unit are illegitimate, but it does indicate that there is a significant problem that provides DHS the needed authority to protect the best interests and welfare of all children,” Waldman said.

The separation policy was based on a culmination of court decisions and legislation since the 1990s.

In 1997, the Clinton administration entered into something called the Flores Settlement Agreement, which ended a class-action lawsuit first brought in the 1980s.

The settlement established a policy that the federal government would release unaccompanied minors from custody to their parents, relatives, or other caretakers after no more than 20 days, or, alternatively, determine the “least restrictive” setting for the child.

In a separate development, in 2008, a Democrat-controlled Congress approved bipartisan legislation to combat human trafficking, and President George W. Bush, a Republican, signed it into law.

Section 235(g) of that law, the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, states that unaccompanied minors entering the United States must be transferred to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, rather than to the Department of Homeland Security.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit expanded the Flores settlement in 2016 to include children brought to the country illegally by their parents.

2. Tear-Gassing Children

The caravan still moving toward the U.S.-Mexico border includes 8,500 migrants, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Liberals and mainstream media are trying to show that children and women received the main blow from rubber bullets and tear gas when hundreds of the migrants rushed the California border.

When the news broke that the Central American caravan rushed the U.S. border and that Border Patrol agents fought back with tear gas, Ocasio-Cortez, a prominent Democrat from the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), took to Twitter...to compare the caravan riders to the Jews fleeing from Nazi Germany.

Ocasio-Cortez was soon exposed to richly deserved criticism for her exploitation of the Holocaust.

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Ben Rhodes, a one-time national security adviser to then-President Barack Obama, pounced.

None of them recall that the use of tear gas at the border is a common practice. During the Obama administration, tear gas was used at the border on a monthly basis.

Also, the Obama administration used pepper spray when a far smaller contingent of only 100 immigrants charged the border in 2013, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen provided the following statement regarding the recent crisis on our southern border:

“Given the activities of the last 24 hours at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, I want to provide an update on what occurred and attempt to dispel many of the rumors and much of the misinformation circulating.

“First, the violence we saw at the border was entirely predictable. This caravan, unlike previous caravans, had already entered #Mexico violently and attacked border police in two other countries. I refuse to believe that anyone honestly maintains that attacking law enforcement with rocks and projectiles is acceptable. It is shocking that I have to explain this, but officers can be seriously or fatally injured in such attacks. Self-defense isn’t debatable for most law-abiding Americans.

Second, the caravan is far larger and more organized than previous ones. There are 8,500 caravan members in Tijuana and Mexicali. There are reports of additional caravans on their way.

Third, the overwhelming majority of these individuals are not eligible for asylum in the United States under our laws. Historically, less than 10% of those who claim asylum from #Guatemala#Honduras, and #ElSalvador are found eligible by a federal judge. 90% are not eligible. Most of these migrants are seeking jobs or to join family who are already in the U.S. They have all refused multiple opportunities to seek protection in Mexico or with the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Seeking employment or family reunification are not grounds for asylum under our laws, or any international obligation. There are, however, legal ways to seek a job or to be reunited in the U.S.

Fourth, the caravan members are predominately male. It appears in some cases that the limited number of women and children in the caravan are being used by the organizers as “human shields” when they confront law enforcement. They are being put at risk by the caravan organizers as we saw at the Mexico-Guatemala border. This is putting vulnerable people in harms way.

Fifth, we cannot confirm the backgrounds and identities of all caravan members which possess a national security and public safety risk to our country. However, at this point we have confirmed that there are over 600 convicted criminals traveling with the caravan flow. This includes individuals known to law enforcement for assault, battery, drug crimes, burglary, rape, child abuse and more. This is serious. Additionally, Mexico has already arrested 100 caravan members for criminal violations in Mexico.

Sixth, our Border Patrol agents and officers responded admirably and responsibly to the events on Sunday. It is a testament to their training and professionalism that no one was injured. The accepted use of nonlethal force (also used by the Obama Administration in 2013) prevented further injury to agents and a mass illegal rush across the border. We will not shy away from protecting our people. I ask parents to avoid violent caravan groups and refrain from attempts to illegally enter our country – these acts will put your children in danger.

Seventh, I want to thank President Donald J. Trump again for the decision to send @DeptofDefense to the border to bolster our ports of entry and provide force protection for Customs and Border Protection. This decision likely prevented injuries to personnel and migrants or additional damage to property. Instead of “a political stunt,” as suggested by some, this was in fact the act of a leader concerned about the rule of law.

Eighth, this Administration has been working nonstop to fix our immigration system to address the crisis at the border. We have proposed legislation and asked Congress to pass it. The President has repeatedly made clear what is needed to secure our border and negotiated in good faith. It is time for Congress to do its job. Absent Congressional action courts have misinterpreted existing laws and have made the job of law enforcement far more difficult. But the men and women of DHS will continue to do all we can to enforce the law and DHS and U.S. Department of State will continue negotiations with Mexico and our other partners in the region. We are optimistic that cross border collaboration can help make America, indeed the entire region, more secure.

Finally, this Administration warned about the danger of the caravan. We predicted the violence we saw on Sunday. We prepared to address it with additional personnel and DOD deployments. We will continue to prepare for the next assault while looking for lasting solutions with Congress and our Mexican partners. As always, I want to thank those officers and agents in San Ysidro who, under tremendous strain, used professionalism and restraint to ensure that no one was injured as they were attacked themselves. I also thank DOD and our state & local law enforcement who were on scene to support our people.”

3. Not Legal Asylum-Seekers

Liberals believe that the migrants have a legal right to seek asylum in the United States.

For example, here is a tweet from Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y.:

However, Nielsen pushed back, noting that many of the migrants in the caravan do not legally qualify for asylum. Meanwhile, most are not women and children. See paragraphs 3, 4 and 5 of the statement. For convenience, I will repeat her words briefly.

Third, the overwhelming majority of these individuals are not eligible for asylum in the United States under our laws. Historically, less than 10% of those who claim asylum from #Guatemala#Honduras, and #ElSalvador are found eligible by a federal judge. 90% are not eligible. Most of these migrants are seeking jobs or to join family who are already in the U.S. They have all refused multiple opportunities to seek protection in Mexico or with the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Seeking employment or family reunification are not grounds for asylum under our laws, or any international obligation. There are, however, legal ways to seek a job or to be reunited in the U.S.

She also said “the caravan members are predominantly male.”

Fourth, the caravan members are predominately male. It appears in some cases that the limited number of women and children in the caravan are being used by the organizers as “human shields” when they confront law enforcement.

In addition, the request for asylum is individual. The authorities are considering a specific application from a specific person. And who is in the caravan, the authorities do not know. And the Law does not allow a group of undetermined persons to be granted asylum. This is certainly not legal.

“Fifth, we cannot confirm the backgrounds and identities of all caravan members which possess a national security and public safety risk to our country. However, at this point we have confirmed that there are over 600 convicted criminals traveling with the caravan flow. This includes individuals known to law enforcement for assault, battery, drug crimes, burglary, rape, child abuse and more. This is serious. Additionally, Mexico has already arrested 100 caravan members for criminal violations in Mexico”, Nielsen said.

Author: USA Really