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MSNBC Wrongly Suggests Trump Tried to Jail All Asylum Seekers

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Cross posted at the MRC's NewsBusters blog

One of the big recurring problems in the dominant liberal media's coverage of the border crisis has been the failure to make a clear distinction between legal asylum seekers who follow the proper process and illegal immigrants who seek asylum after being apprehended crossing the border illegally.

On Wednesday, MSNBC"s Jacob Soboroff was again adding to the confusion as he heavily gave the impression that the U.S. Supreme Court had blocked an effort by the Trump administration to keep asylum seekers jailed until their asylum cases are finalized.

In fact, as clarified by PBS Newshour's Yamiche Alcindor, the administration was aiming on indefinite detention for asylum seekers who crossed the border illegally since legal asylum seekers are typically not incarcerated.

At 1:15 p.m. Eastern, on MSNBC's Velshi and Ruhle show, host Ali Velshi posed: "The ACLU has just won a legal battle over asylum seekers -- can you tell us more about that and what it means for people at the border and in these detention facilities?"

Soboroff's excuse for an explanation only misinformed viewers as he recalled:

That's extraordinarily important because Attorney General Barr wanted to hold asylum seekers in custody without any ability to bond themselves out -- to get out by paying a bail or a bond and frankly just hold them in detention for the pendency of their asylum hearings and their immigration court hearings. It's another attempt to deter migration to this country by saying, "If you come here and try to declare asylum, we're going to lock you up, basically."

He added:

At the end of the day, we're talking about asylum .We're not talking about criminals, and the judge seems to have sided with -- the judge clearly sided against Attorney General Barr here in that case, and the administration will not be able to lock people up who are here only because they want to seek asylum.

By contrast, on the same day's PBS Newshour, Alcindor explained:

What we had was Attorney General William Barr and the President both seeking to keep migrants who came to the country -- came to the United States illegally detained indefinitely. Now, this is specifically to people not the people who come to ports of entry -- these are people who come in between the ports of entry.

Without noting the congressional role of being slow to supply enough funding, Soboroff suggested that the Trump administration is to blame for an increase in immigrant children dying in detention, and then fretted that Border and ICE agents have been "dehumanizing" illegal aliens by using phrases like, "Happy hunting," before going on missions. After Velshi brought up the topic, Soboroff responded:

The idea that we've seen these Facebook reports now of dehumanizing language towards members of Congress and towards immigrants in the custody of the U.S. government, that ICE agents are saying, "Happy hunting," when it comes to tracking down and conducting what are called "interior removals" inside this country, and Border Patrol agents have said the exact same thing about migrants that are potentially on buses in the Northeast of the United States far from the border, certainly suggests that there is a culture of using this type of language within CPB.

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