Three Things to Remember When Talking about the President’s Proclamation on Asylum-Seekers

November 27, 2018 Julie Fisher-Rowe

Insights from The Opportunity Agenda

Creating a community that values the contributions of all of us is a fundamental American value. In times of division and uncertainty, it becomes even more important that we honor this value. The president’s latest attempt to divide the country focuses on one of the most vulnerable populations: those seeking asylum. 

Image by Jen Bloomer

Although a temporary restraining order was put on Trump's asylum proclamation, it is still crucial for us to respond with values-based messaging on the importance of maintaining our identity as a nation that welcomes people seeking asylum and safety. Working together, we can continue to build powerful narratives based on our shared values of opportunity, compassion, and due process.

Three things to remember when talking about the President’s proclamation on asylum seekers:

  1. This proclamation violates our values. As a country, we have long agreed with the rest of the world that people who are applying for asylum will get a fair hearing and an opportunity to state their claim. Emphasize the values that form our identity as a compassionate nation, even though we don’t always live up to that ideal. Provide a long-term vision of what a welcoming country that sticks to our values can look like.
  2. This proclamation violates the law, which allows for asylum seekers to present themselves for asylum consideration if they’re at a port of entry or not. The finer legal details will not resonate with many audiences, but sticking to a simple message that this proclamation is not legal can create a drumbeat that may make an impression.
  3. This is another tactic designed to hurt vulnerable people, which this administration has showed an appetite for over and over again. Recent exit polling shows that the public is not as interested in the President’s anti-immigrant rhetoric as he may have predicted before the election. Almost half (46%) believe that his immigration policies are too tough. We need to speak to this audience, and continue to expand it.