Earlier this week, possibly departing Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen blamed asylum seekers for border officials temporarily shutting down some northbound traffic at the San Ysidro, California border crossing—“the busiest land port along the U.S.-Mexico border”, USA Today reports—claiming that, “unfortunately, some members of the caravan are purposely causing disruptions at our border ports of entry”:
This AM, all of #SanYsidro Port of Entry's northbound lanes were temporarily closed to initiate additional port hardening efforts after @CBP officials were notified that a large # of caravan migrants were planning to rush the border in an attempt to gain illegal access to the US.
— Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen (@SecNielsen) November 19, 2018
So, about that. “As of midday Monday, no migrants had attempted such a rush,” USA Today continued. “There are dozens of reporters on the ground here in Tijuana, myself included,” tweeted journalist James Fredrick. “Not one of us have been able to corroborate this claim. CBP has not provided evidence of this.” Buzzfeed’s Karla Zab backed that up, tweeting, “more fake news by Donald Trump and his administration, this time courtesy of Sec. Nielsen. I’m at San Ysidro port of entry and it’s business as usual.”
If you don’t believe them, here’s a top military official on Nielsen’s claim that those scary families were about to rush the border: Jeffrey Buchanan, “the lieutenant general overseeing the Army’s active-duty border deployment later cast doubt, in an interview with POLITICO, on whether the migrants had indeed plotted to rush the border,” saying that “if there were ‘reliable reports’ that a mob was about to rush the border, or something similar that could put agents at risk, ‘we would close the port.’”
What has been happening, however, is Trump administration officials trying to block the asylum process for vulnerable people, in violation of U.S. and international law. This effort has been temporarily blocked by a federal court—“whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the asylum laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” Judge Jon Tygar ruled—but officials hope that if they can keep asylum seekers waiting at the border for weeks, perhaps months, to have their claims heard, they’ll give up.
A disgrace, much like Kirstjen Nielsen. Some reports have her on the way out because apparently, Donald Trump doesn’t think she’s being aggressive enough, despite Nielsen implementing one of the most horrific humanitarian disasters in modern U.S. history, and then lying about it. Nielsen is no innocent party here. She signed up for this, she’s stayed on, and she’s still lying about the most vulnerable as children kidnapped from parents under her watch remain separated from parents. She needs to go, all right, and getting hauled in front of a Democratic House should also be in her future.