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  • U.S. linguist Noam Chomsky at the University of Chile, Santiago de Chile, Chile.

    U.S. linguist Noam Chomsky at the University of Chile, Santiago de Chile, Chile. | Photo: EFE file

Published 6 February 2019

The letter focuses on the White House’s efforts to deliberately misinform the public in order to bolster its discourse on the need to deny entry to migrants.

An open letter from 107 artists, activists, scholars and writers condemn President Donald Trump’s actions to denigrate and demonize asylum seekers coming from Central America to the United States in search of better life opportunities and escaping from violence.

RELATED: 
US Sends Central American Asylum-Seekers Back to Mexico

Some key actors behind this latest attempt to call attention to the mishandling of migratory policy by President Trump’s administration are ex-lead guitar player for now-defunct Los Angeles band Rage Against the Machine, Tom Morello; Protestant minister and professor, William Baber II; and U.S.-Palestinian legal scholar and activist, Noura Erakat; among others such as professor Noam Chomsky.

The letter focuses on White House efforts to deliberately misinform the public in order to bolster discourse on the need to deny entry to migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border. For example, President Trump says that the “majority” of migrants currently stationed in Tijuana, and seeking asylum, do not “meet the requirements” to be given this benefit, according to La Jornada.

Specifically, the letter states that according to the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, a foreign person “who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States, whether or not at a designated port of arrival" may apply for asylum,” according to the text in the legislation.

Moreover, the intellectuals claim this is exactly what migrants are doing. “The participants in the exodus from Central America — as the refugees refer to their journey — are doing exactly what the law requires to seek refuge in the United States,” the letter reads.

The migrants' claim to asylum in the United States is also backed by the 1967 United Nations Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, of which the U.S. is a signatory country. "Refugees shall have free access to the courts of law on the territory of all contracting states" and that they shall enjoy "the same treatment as a national in matters pertaining to access to the courts," as stated in the Protocol.

At the end of January, about one dozen Central American asylum-seekers were sent back to Mexico as part of United States President Donald Trump's Administration new hardened immigration policy.

It was recently revealed that the White House is advancing a plan to make it more difficult for U.S. residents to obtain citizenship if they or their dependents have used any of a list of U.S. social programs, such as Obamacare or SNAP food assistance. 

The letter coincides with two caravans, consisting of nearly 5,500 people, traveling through the states of Chiapas and Coahuila and headed toward the United States. 

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