In the weeks leading up to the midterm elections, President Donald Trump and the hosts of "Fox & Friends," his favorite program, stressed that Democrats were "weak" on immigration laws and border security. Of particular focus was the migrant caravan, a group of thousands of Central Americans traveling to the U.S.-Mexico border, having fled violence in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. But the day after the midterm elections, which saw Democrats regain control of the House, Fox News barely mentioned the caravan at all.
In fact, it was only mentioned once, in passing, when co-host Ed Henry said: “Many in the media laughed as well when the president framed [the midterms] as about [Supreme Court Justice Brett] Kavanaugh, the caravan."
Now both the president and the Fox News network are being called out.
The president and the Fox News network have often claimed that the migrants are a danger to national security. However, these claims have been criticized in the wake of this morning's mass shooting at a Thousand Oaks nightclub, which killed 12.
Fox News dedicated significant coverage to the caravan in the weeks leading up to the election, even sending a reporter to the border to provide updates about its progress.
"Fox and Friends" also invited guests onto the program who would characterize the caravan, still weeks away from arriving at the border, as "an invasion"...
...and "an immediate threat."
"Fox and Friends" even claimed that the caravan was swelling in size to more than 7,000 people. (Reports indicated that the number is actually between 4,000 and 5,000.)
The president also urged his supporters to blame Democrats for the caravan.
The president has not tweeted about illegal immigration since a few days before the midterms.
A few days before the election, a group of 12 migrants traveling by foot from Honduras to the U.S. to seek asylum filed a class-action lawsuit Thursday against President Trump, the Department of Homeland Security and other entities to ensure their “due process” under the Fifth Amendment, which states that, “no person… shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
The lawsuit, which was filed last Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., notes that Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are “undergoing a well-documented human rights crisis.” The suit further claims that the Trump administration is infringing on the plaintiffs’ right to the Administrative Procedures Act and the Declaratory Judgement Act.
The suit reads, in part:
Trump’s professed and enacted policy towards thousands of caravanners seeking asylum in the United States is shockingly unconstitutional. President Trump continues to abuse the law, including constitutional rights, to deter Central Americans from exercising their lawful right to seek asylum in the United States, and the fact that innocent children are involved matters none to President Trump…
Trump has repeatedly professed that the caravan people will not get into this county, and just as significant, Trump has taken meaningful steps to ensure the world that this is his policy position/initiative, meaningful steps such as deploying thousands of active military troops to the border, waiting on caravan persons to arrive. The legal problem with Trump’s plan to stop caravan persons from entering this country is that Plaintiffs are seeking asylum, and Trump simply cannot stop them from legally doing so by using military, or anyone.
This Court should also note that President Trump has begun hysterically asserting without any evidence that “many criminals” and “many gang members” are in this “onslaught” of migration. In an effort to create fear and hysteria, Trump has gone so far as to call this “an invasion of our Country.” Despite these statements and actions, Trump has been unable to produce any evidence of criminals and gang members within the caravan, which has largely proceeded peacefully on its journey. Plaintiffs now request that this Court declare Trump’s policy positions/initiatives outlined in this Complaint unconstitutional, to end this case and controversy.
The migrants also say that Trump has violated the Flores Agreement by detaining children as a result of his “zero tolerance” family separations policy.
Earlier this year, Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking service, noted that while the Homeland Security Department’s longstanding policy “is to separate children from their custodians when they are referred for criminal prosecution,” the Trump administration has opted to “prosecute all illegal crossings.” Families “were rarely prosecuted under previous administrations.”
Additionally, Politifact observes, the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement “calls for the release of unaccompanied minors to family members or sponsors who can care for them as their immigration case is resolved.” The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, “which Trump has wrongly called ‘a Democrat rule,’ determines that unaccompanied minors be transferred to Health and Human Services custody.”
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in Flores v. Lynch that detaining children violated a long-standing agreement that bars the government from detaining children in a jail-like setting, even if they are accompanied by their parents. Immigration officials apprehended 54,000 children and their guardians between Oct. 1, 2016, and Jan. 31, 2017, more than double the number caught over the same time period a year earlier, according to one report.
On November 1, the president announced that his administration will soon require asylum-seekers to “lawfully present themselves” at a port of entry. He claimed he would sign an executive order restricting asylum rules and suggested that U.S. troops dispatched to the U.S.-Mexico border could fire on someone in a migrant caravan working its way to the border if the person threw rocks or stones at them.
“I will tell you, anybody throwing stones, rocks, like they did to Mexico and the Mexican military, Mexican police, where they badly hurt police and soldiers of Mexico, we will consider that a firearm,” he said, adding that “there’s not much difference” between a firearm and getting hit in the face with a rock.
“They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back,” the president said. “We’ll consider — and I told them — consider it a rifle. When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexico military and police, I say consider it a rifle.”