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CNN Claims Trump Deporting Fewer Criminal Illegals, Misleads on Asylum

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Cross posted on the MRC's NewsBusters blog

On Thursday's New Day show, CNN hosts not only again misled viewers by conflating legal asylum seekers with illegal immigrants who seek asylum after getting caught, but also talked up the possibility of the public having a negative reaction President Donald Trump's plans to round up illegals, while they also suggested the President is not arresting enough of the more serious criminals.

In a panel discussion of the plans to round up illegals beginning next week, co-host Alisyn Camerota declared that these deportations "are not what's happening at the border where somebody shows up for asylum and they get put in a cage and separated from their children," even though asylum seekers are not typically incarcerated unless they have broken the law.

In the first panel that lacked any conservatives, liberal CNN contributor and Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell claimed:

If you look at the data on who's being detained, the most serious criminals -- detentions of the most serious criminals has actually fallen under this administration. Detention of people who either have much lesser crimes or have no crime at all other than unlawful status, their numbers have shot up. So, for all of the talk of law and order and getting the bad hombres out and all of that, they're being very indiscriminate, and they're just creating a climate of fear.

In the next hour, during a similar discussion with a different panel, Camerota again wrongly suggested that illegal immigrants who seek asylum somehow have not broken the law by crossing the border illegally as she explained who would be targeted next week:

These are people with deportation orders already. … they've been adjudicated, so they are here unlawfully as opposed to people who have been showing up and seeking asylum which is legal, okay. However, optically, I'm not sure what the difference is because we have seen for the past month these deportation centers are full. … People are being kept in overcrowded cages in inhumane conditions.

A bit later, after co-host John Berman brought up reports of ICE agents feeling "apprehensions" about having to arrest children, CNN political analyst and Washington Post reporter Toluse Olorunnipa talked up the chances of public opinion turning against ICE raids:

The optics of this have the threat of being really bad for the administration. We saw the family separations just about a year ago and how bad that was for the administration. … Now, you have the President sort of pushing forward with what could be a pretty harsh-looking deportation force going into families, going into communities, going in and deporting people who haven't necessarily committed violent crimes while they were here, but they have deportation orders.

Later on, as Hawaii Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono appeared as a guest, Camerota went along with her as she made misleading claims suggesting legal asylum seekers are being incarcerated. Hirono declared: "The President has no problems doing everything he can to terrorize undocumented people, saying, 'Well, they shouldn't come because it's illegal.' No, it is not illegal to seek asylum."

Camerota agreed: "Yeah, yeah, understood, absolutely."

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