Don't be fooled by Trump's caravan misinformation campaign

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump was asked about his ...

Posted: Oct 29, 2018 10:37 AM
Updated: Oct 29, 2018 10:37 AM

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump was asked about his recent tweet that "criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in" with the migrant caravan in southern Mexico. At first, he deflected, telling reporters that the US Border Patrol has apprehended people from the Middle East before. When a journalist asked him if he had any proof that Middle Easterners are in the caravan right now, Trump simply said, "Well, they could very well be."

Asked again for some proof, the President answered, "There's no proof of anything. But they could very well be."

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Trump's backtracking is no surprise. This misinformation campaign serves to obscure the truth about these desperate people, and to stir up Trump's base of voters.

On Monday morning Trump tweeted, "Every time you see a Caravan, or people illegally coming, or attempting to come, into our country illegally, think of and blame the Democrats for not giving us the votes to change our pathetic Immigration Laws!"

With this comment, Trump is blaming Democrats for compassionate policies that we should be proud to continue. Under US and international law, people in the caravan can apply for asylum and other forms of humanitarian relief at our border. They have this legal right whether or not they have papers or authorization to enter the country.

Moreover, Trump can't rightfully blame Democrats for immigration laws that he doesn't like. His party has controlled Congress and the White House for two years. If Republicans lawmakers wanted change, they could put forward reasonable immigration policy proposals and Trump could sign their measures into law. This hasn't happened.

In February, a GOP attempt at coming up with immigration legislation ended in failure. Since then, rather than taking accountability for his failure to overhaul our immigration system, the President has offered nothing but ugly rhetoric and disastrous ideas like his "family separation" policy.

Trump and conservative media outlets have also embraced the idea that the caravan is full of "hardened criminals." In fact, the people who join such caravans often band together to protect themselves from hardened criminals, like drug cartels and human traffickers. Many people in the last big caravan, in April, were women and children fleeing violence in their countries of origin. And that caravan had dwindled down significantly by the time it reached the United States, with only a few hundred reaching our border.

Trump has been pushing the false narrative that the caravan poses a threat to our country. Yet if these people reach the border, they can be processed like any other migrants and screened for asylum claims. The notion that they want to "invade our country" is a myth. The vulnerable people in the caravan hope to become part of our society, not to destroy it.

The reason Trump is conflating the caravan with terrorists ostensibly has little to do with reality and everything to do with politics. With the midterms a little more than a week away, he sees fear-mongering as the best way to activate his base. What else does Trump have to talk about?

His tax cuts are not popular with voters. His installation of Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court divided the country. Trump has not fulfilled his campaign promise of building a wall. So he is forging ahead with scare tactics. His advisers basically admit as much; referring to the president's mistruths about the caravan, one senior Trump administration official told The Daily Beast, "it doesn't matter if it's 100% accurate. This is the play."

Actually, it does matter that what the President says is accurate. Though Trump has a well-documented reputation for lying, it is particularly troubling when he is lying about a situation where lives are potentially at stake. The good news is that attacking immigrants may not work as a midterm message. A 2018 midterm survey of voters in competitive congressional districts indicates that many Americans reject his xenophobia and divisive rhetoric. Polling from the research firm Latino Decisions shows that 61% of whites from battleground congressional districts favor a welcoming approach to immigration.

As long as Trump misrepresents the circumstances surrounding the migrant caravan, we will move no closer to solving the problem of so many families arriving at our southern border. That the President would use a humanitarian crisis for his own political gain is as cynical as it is predictable.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 250869

Reported Deaths: 5481
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17010171
Hinds16091318
Harrison13250193
Rankin10629208
Jackson10216182
Lee8759141
Madison8186161
Jones6222109
Forrest5917118
Lauderdale5808180
Lowndes5309111
Lafayette491192
Lamar480465
Washington4770123
Bolivar3955106
Oktibbeha390380
Panola365076
Pontotoc361152
Monroe3521104
Warren344597
Union341458
Marshall339165
Neshoba3357152
Pearl River323295
Leflore2992105
Lincoln295685
Sunflower280469
Tate269560
Alcorn262653
Itawamba261159
Hancock260458
Pike259977
Scott244745
Prentiss244052
Yazoo242654
Tippah239749
Copiah239149
Simpson233967
Leake229564
Coahoma228554
Grenada217070
Covington210471
Marion208371
Adams203270
Winston199464
Wayne198730
George197938
Attala193158
Newton189142
Chickasaw182944
Tishomingo182159
Holmes168167
Jasper167735
Clay158233
Stone141520
Tallahatchie139234
Clarke137460
Calhoun135121
Smith119423
Yalobusha116134
Walthall111736
Noxubee110222
Greene109129
Montgomery109134
Carroll104121
Lawrence102117
Perry100531
Amite96825
Webster91924
Tunica86021
Claiborne85525
Jefferson Davis84025
Humphreys82624
Benton81023
Kemper76620
Quitman6838
Franklin65815
Choctaw60013
Wilkinson58325
Jefferson53419
Sharkey42417
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 420681

Reported Deaths: 6119
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson61755921
Mobile30058548
Madison26852186
Tuscaloosa20652266
Montgomery18876305
Shelby18421114
Baldwin16176182
Lee12393101
Morgan12175113
Etowah11687168
Calhoun11078200
Marshall10158107
Houston8556148
Cullman7999105
Limestone796274
Elmore7783101
DeKalb767197
Lauderdale752883
St. Clair7502120
Talladega6145108
Walker5880174
Jackson578841
Colbert529873
Blount529283
Autauga515455
Coffee438156
Dale394381
Franklin365248
Chilton335365
Covington326968
Russell326810
Escambia316142
Dallas302896
Chambers281869
Clarke279633
Tallapoosa2607107
Pike247629
Marion244650
Lawrence242547
Winston225535
Bibb214447
Geneva199535
Marengo197829
Pickens196231
Hale175442
Barbour172336
Butler168458
Fayette167126
Cherokee160030
Henry152721
Monroe145017
Randolph138835
Washington137026
Clay126145
Crenshaw118644
Lamar117519
Cleburne117223
Macon114335
Lowndes109535
Wilcox102621
Bullock98728
Perry96919
Conecuh94220
Sumter88826
Greene75723
Coosa60515
Choctaw51224
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