As legal experts and human rights advocates overnight and Monday morning continued to denounce the tear gassing of children and other asylum seekers by U.S. forces at the Mexico border on Sunday, Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was among Democratic lawmakers who slammed the Trump administration for its treatment of refugees as she issued a reminder that vulnerable people fleeing violence and persecution have the right, codified by domestic and international law, to apply for asylum protection.
Asking to be considered a refugee & applying for status isn’t a crime.
It wasn’t for Jewish families fleeing Germany.
It wasn’t for targeted families fleeing Rwanda.
It wasn’t for communities fleeing war-torn Syria.
And it isn’t for those fleeing violence in Central America. https://t.co/qhv7Rr1itn
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) November 25, 2018
"The migrants at our southern border include mothers and small children exercising their legal, human right to seek asylum," declared the ACLU in a tweet on Monday morning, and told the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, "Tear gassing children is outrageous and inhumane."
As the Guardian reports, this is what it looked like:
The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) said that with asylum seekers, including children, being choked by tear gas along the U.S. border with Mexico, "a humanitarian crisis becoming even more inhumane." Echoing Ocasio-Cortez and other rights groups, NNIRR emphasized that both "U.S. and international laws say these migrants have the right to apply for asylum."
Adding this perspective, Karen Attiah, global opinions editor for the Washington Post, tweeted:
This is how American media would describe this if this happened in a non western country:
“American security forces under the Trump regime used *chemical weapons* in a cross border operation against unarmed asylum seekers, including children. “
My God. https://t.co/LeIGhJmiPn
— Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) November 26, 2018
Meanwhile, as Trump continued to demonize the migrants and refugees in Mexico—"many of whom are stone cold criminals," he claimed without evidence Monday morning—Guardian journalist Bryan Mealer and photographer Hans-Maximo Musielik, who have travelled extensively with refugees that left Honduras months ago, published an up-close-and-personal account showing how "the most vulnerable among them," risked their lives—braving terrifying and dangerous conditions—to reach safety.