Can’t say it enough: Crossing the border to seek asylum is not illegal

After Vice President Mike Pence made remarks in meeting with leaders of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, I tried to clarify something on Twitter about what he said. It seems to have struck a chord — or a nerve — with many people.

There are many migrants who are not explicitly crossing the southern border without presenting themselves at checkpoints because they are fleeing violence. There are people who are trying to escape poverty to reunite with family in the US. But if Pence is talking about a “migration crisis” — a term that deserves analysis in its own right — it’s important to note that many of these migrants take the dangerous journey because they feel their lives are in danger. They are looking for safety and, often, requesting asylum.

The US is a signatory of he Refugee Convention in 1967 and asylum-seekers are protected under US law. It’s not that the US has to (or does) allow anyone who says they are afraid to stay in the country. But there is a process by which their claim is heard.

Here’s more about that process — the links in this this story can take you even deeper into the subject.