Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is a liar. In a rambling new op-ed published on Tuesday by Fox News, Graham claimed that “[most] of these individuals claiming asylum at the border never show up for a court hearing,” but this claim is false. According to a study released last year by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, approximately “99 percent of asylum seekers who were not detained or who were previously released from immigration custody showed up for their hearings” over the preceding year, as Vox reported. About 99 percent! Again, Graham is a liar.
It is only a matter of time until coyotes and other human traffickers spread the word throughout Central America that the Biden administration has returned us to the old, failed way of doing business. https://t.co/lSaXdJ8k22
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) March 9, 2021
In his rambling Fox op-ed, Graham insisted that “the stage is being set for a return to the lawlessness and chaos we saw at our southern border in 2018 and 2019” because of the Biden administration’s approach to immigration policies. Graham’s characterization of supposed “chaos” misrepresents the fact that the Trump administration itself helped create this “chaos” via holding asylum-seekers in deplorable conditions. The issues with the Trump administration’s treatment of migrants went well beyond the infamous example of their punitive separation of families — Graham didn’t acknowledge this reality.
Instead of acknowledging actual reality, Graham reiterated a favorite Republican talking point — fear of so-called caravans, which is GOP-speak for groups of asylum seekers. Infamously, Trump characterized the movement of asylum seekers into the United States as an “invasion” of the country. In 2019, a gunman attacked a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas, citing a so-called invasion of the U.S. by Hispanic people in a manifesto. This real-world example of the deadly consequences of the GOP’s deranged anti-immigrant rhetoric did not lead to any meaningful change in the Republican Party’s approach.
Graham’s comments were laced with racism, including the gross dehumanization of migrants underlying the word “caravan.” Graham also said that Trump “drew some tough lines in the sand when it came to dealing with migrants seeking to game the system,” thereby ascribing nefarious and conspiratorial intent to asylum seekers fleeing literal deadly violence in their places of origin and hoping for refuge in the United States. Graham matter-of-factly proclaimed that the “southern border, and the Customs and Border Protection agents who protect us there, will soon be overwhelmed again,” but he, in fact, can not actually see into the future.
Laughably, Graham also complained about the Biden administration’s move to end restrictions on border crossings that the Trump administration imposed under the guise of COVID-19. Since when were Republicans concerned about COVID-19 protections? Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, also recently complained about the supposed threat of COVID-19 posed by migrants entering the state — although Abbott also recently lifted a statewide mask-wearing mandate and allowed Texas businesses to operate at 100 percent capacity! The hypocrisy is staggering. Could the racism be any more obvious?