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Rep. Ilhan Omar spreads false, misleading claims about Trump administration's immigration history

Ripe with inaccuracy

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Controversial Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on Monday spread numerous misleading claims and downright falsehoods about President Donald Trump, his administration's immigration policies, and Kirstjen Nielsen, the outgoing secretary of Homeland Security.

What did Omar claim?

Responding to news of Nielsen's resignation, which takes effect Wednesday, Omar chided the Trump administration for what she believes is a troubling pattern of dehumanizing immigration policies.

Omar claimed without evidence that Nielsen was responsible for "locking toddlers in cages," the death of a migrant child, and "repeatedly lying" about the migrant crisis involving children.

Meanwhile, Omar claimed that acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan, who is the Customs and Border Protection commissioner, oversaw physical separation of children from their families at the border, oversaw CBP agents fire tear gas "on a crowd of migrants seeking asylum," and failed to disclose the death of a migrant child to Congress. She also repeated a lie about the president, claiming Trump referred to migrants as "animals."

What's the truth?

At least six of Omar's claims are either false or misleading.

The freshman lawmaker claimed Nielsen was responsible for "locking toddlers in cages." That's false. In fact, an image of a child locked in what appears to be some form of cage — which went viral during the migrant crisis last summer that involved family separations — was actually from a staged protest in front of Dallas City Hall, according to fact-checker Snopes.

Second, the 7-year-old girl whom Omar referred to did not die from government mismanagement. Guatemalan youngster Jakelin Caal Maquin tragically died on Dec. 8 while in the care of immigration officials. Autopsy results showed she died from sepsis, likely caused by the grueling 2,000-mile journey north to the U.S. from Central America. Further, her family said in December they had no qualms about how U.S. officials treated she and her father once in U.S. custody.

In perhaps the most repeated political lie of 2018, which was bolstered by the mainstream media, the Trump administration was not responsible for a policy that separated migrant families at the border. It's true, however, that the administration's "zero tolerance" policy increased separations. That's because Trump's policy mandated criminal prosecution of each migrant who entered the U.S. illegally. If they illegally entered with minors in tow, existing federal law and policy mandated the children be detained separately from their parents.

Next, Omar claimed McAleenan oversaw the CBP when it controversially deployed tear gas against a crowd of migrants. The truth, however, is that CBP agents deployed the gas as a form of violent riot control as they had become targets for various projectiles, like rocks, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Regarding Omar's claim that McAleenan did not disclose the death of migrant children to Congress. Apparently, while testifying to Congress, he was never asked about the deaths, hence the no explanation.

Finally, Omar claimed the Trump referred to migrant asylum-seekers as "animals," a lie that has widely circulated among the mainstream media and Trump's detractors in recent days. However, it is completely misleading. Instead, the comment, which Trump made in 2018, was made in reference to MS-13 gangsters — not migrants seeking political asylum, as PolitiFact noted.

(H/T: AG Conservative)

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