#FactsMatter: Accepting Asylum Seekers Is Legal and an American Tradition

Oct 27, 2018
10:16 AM
Originally published at Define American

10 days before the midterm elections, anti-immigrant hate groups and the Trump administration are begging American media to take note of a seasonal caravan of peaceful families from Central America.

Define American strongly encourages all news organizations choosing to cover this issue to understand the facts and avoid use of overly politicized, sensational, xenophobic language when referring to those attempting to walk towards our southern border.

Media should equally be aware of the sources that they are quoting and receiving information from, as some anti-immigrant hate groups are using this to intentionally spread misinformation.

Helpful Reminders For Media Coverage Of Refugee Caravan

  • This is not a national security threat. The President’s response to all this is nothing short of hysterical.
  • This migrant caravan is a thousand miles away from our southern border. These Central American families, traveling with small children, are literally walking to the border, which could take another 40 days to even come close to our southern border.
  • Some humanizing reports are already showing stories of burnout and fatigue among asylum-seekers. These are families, mothers, daughters, sons, and fathers, who are walking in horrendous conditions, unlikely to reach the border.

The Reality Is:

The Caravan Is Nothing New

  • Despite some suggesting that it’s unprecedented, the migrant caravan from Central America is nothing new. In order to sow greater division, discord, and distrust, President Trump and many anti-immigrant hate groups are incorrectly suggesting that the caravan was somehow a ploy by left-leaning groups.
  • Despite articles sensationalizing “record migration,” net migration to the U.S. is on the decline and has been since 2005. More people are moving from the U.S. to Mexico than are immigrating from Mexico to the U.S., and we are nowhere close to record numbers.

This Fear Tactic Is Nothing New

  • To sow additional and unfounded fear, anti-immigrant hate groups like the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) are pushing a false narrative that not all families participating in the walk are from Central America. President Trump is providing no evidence of this, but it is clear where he is getting his information.
  • This is a tactic of fear. In spring 2018, President Trump tied the issue of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to the caravan, demanding that governors send National Guard troops over Easter weekend to the border.
  • At that time John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio tweeted: “A true leader preserves & offers hope, doesn’t take hope from innocent children who call America home. Remember, today is #Easter Sunday.”


Kristian Ramos is Communications Director for Define American.

About Define American

Define American is the nation’s leading nonprofit media organization that uses the power of story to transcend politics and shift the conversation about immigrants, identity, and citizenship in a changing America. It was founded in 2011 by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas. For more information, visit defineamerican.com.