Letters to the Editor

Trump contradicts himself on asylum seekers

President Donald Trump points to the crowd after speaking to law enforcement officials on the street gang MS-13, Friday, July 28, 2017, in Brentwood, N.Y.
President Donald Trump points to the crowd after speaking to law enforcement officials on the street gang MS-13, Friday, July 28, 2017, in Brentwood, N.Y. AP

I have been representing asylum seekers for over a decade, and it was with a heavy heart that I read the recent article detailing the government’s plan to separate children and parents at the border and to go after the parents of minor unaccompanied children.

It might surprise people to know that in 2016 (pre-Trump) 90 percent of unrepresented asylum cases were denied in immigration court. With attorney representation, the likelihood of success jumps closer to 50 percent (though in some immigration courts the denial rate for all cases is 90 percent).

Yet, in October of this year, Attorney General Jeff Sessions asserted that “dirty immigration lawyers” are “coaching their clients to make false claims.” At the same time, Sessions stated that MS-13 could be designated a terrorist organization and Trump said this about MS-13: “They kidnap. They extort. They rape and they rob. … They stomp on their victims. They beat them with clubs, they slash them with machetes, and they stab them with knives.”

However, when their victims flee these horrific conditions, our government claims they are “shamelessly exploiting America’s compassion.” So, which is it?

Amber Heffner, Los Osos

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