Here’s a little part of the exchange that led to Crenshaw’s appearance on Hasan’s show.
Hasan opened the interview by making sure to ask Crenshaw whether or not he accepted the results of the 2020 election, and the Biden administration’s legitimacy. It’s a fair question, considering how many members of Crenshaw’s Grand Old Party seem unable to find the courage to make such a simple assertion. Crenshaw did agree that Joe Biden was the duly elected president. He’s got that going for him! Then Hasan opened the debate by first pointing out that the data shows the Biden administration “inherited” rising numbers of immigrants seeking refuge in our country from the Trump administration. This, of course, is not the narrative being pushed by the GOP, which wants its base to believe that Donald Trump fixed immigration by being inhumane and now that Biden is in office, everyone is coming to our southern border and being allowed to steal all of your jobs, traffic all of your children, and start gangs.
Crenshaw began the way people without facts begin. “Yeah, I’m not sure where you are getting your data from,” he responded, going into the anecdotal information he has heard from “migrants” saying “Joe BIden invited them.” Crenshaw then stipulated that Biden’s reversal of Trump-era policies, including “really importantly [sic], the asylum cooperative agreements with northern triangle countries” is the real problem. This forced Hasan to feel the necessity to unpack a series of falsehoods that Crenshaw opened with. The first is to explain that the data Mehdi Hasan showed Crenshaw was compiled by the American Immigration Council using Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data. This data shows that the increases in immigration-related apprehensions at our southern border have been going on for nine months. For those of you doing the heavy-duty math at home, Joe Biden took office about two months ago.
Crenshaw, a one-trick pony, responds by attempting to say Hasan is denying the recent surge in numbers since Biden’s election—something that Hasan is not denying. Crenshaw’s move here allows him to later pull a clip of him saying that, with zero context, which will then be used by Crenshaw and other right wing echo chambers to say the interviewer was biased and untruthful.
Then Hasan showed Dan Crenshaw video of … Dan Crenshaw … from a whole week before, saying that Joe Biden was not deporting people and was winking at potential asylum seekers and immigrants, secretly telling them to create a Republican-inspired fever dream caravan. Hasan points out that more than 70% of “persons attempting entry along the Southwest border,” of our country have indeed been deported away from the U.S. Crenshaw says he didn’t say that. The thing he just watched himself say, on screen, he said … he didn’t say. This was from a week ago. He has the same goddamn haircut.
Then Crenshaw tried to pivot to saying that individual adults aren’t the problem, they usually get deported (something he claimed in the clip wasn’t happening of course), it is the children and their families that are the problem. Crenshaw then tries to tout the northern triangle cooperative agreement between Trump, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras but Hassan cuts him off, making sure Crenshaw knows that we will get to addressing that idiotic policy. But first, let’s make Crenshaw squirm by asking him to admit that the lies and rhetoric he and people like Republican Voldermort Kevin McCarthy of California are telling the public are indeed factually incorrect.
Crenshaw tries to explain how facts aren’t facts because there are secret influxes of thousands of immigrants sneaking through the cracks that don’t show up on the fact sheets. It’s the best kind of “facts” the Republican party has these days: unverifiable statements of fact. In fact, even though ICE and the CBP have had their budget more than double in the last 12 years, to almost $5 billion, ICE is forced to feed and care for and drive around all of these immigrant families, instead of patrolling our borders. I guess they aren’t able to do their jobs as inhumanely as people like Crenshaw and others would like.
Hasan then moves onto a more delicate problem for the Republican Party: Unaccompanied minors. Trump’s administration has used the Title 42 CDC Order, a public health initiative, to deny thousands of asylum seekers refuge, under the guise of COVID-19 prevention. While this inhumane act has been denounced by virtually everyone to the left of Donald Trump, Joe Biden has disappointingly yet to end it. Courts will continue to find the law illegal as it is an almost impossible hurdle to overcome for asylum seekers and flies in the face of most lawyers (including Vice President Kamala Harris) understanding of our Constitution and the powers of the Executive.
From there, Crenshaw explained that Trump expelled unaccompanied minors in the most humane way possible. They were all “meticulously” put on charter flights and handed over to their families, according to Crenshaw. The lie here is the conceit that parents are sending their children to the border out of desperation—or in the conservative mind, out of some Machiavellian ploy to live off of American welfare—but are also just waiting at an airport in Honduras or El Salvador or Guatemala for their children’s return if things don’t work out. It’s a truly twisted logic that both claims that these families are so reckless that they are willing to give their children over to “drug cartels” and “smugglers,” and human traffickers, but also so loving as to be ready for their child to be chartered back to them safely by ICE.
Crenshaw went back to an old debunked claim he made in 2019 that upwards of 90 percent of asylum claims were not “valid asylum” claims. Hasan pointed out that Crenshaw’s claim was bullshit, but Crenshaw has tried to argue the validity of his statement based on former Attorney General Jeff Sessions similar claims from 2018. The nature of Sessions’ claims are only true if you agree on Jeff Sessions’ criteria for asylum seeking which seem to only be, you are white and you are literally on fire when you show up at an border station.
But Crenshaw’s prattle about this is all in service of the magical solution for asylum seekers that he says the Trump administration worked out with their triangle cooperation policy whereas asylum seekers are taken back to the country they are seeking asylum from, and then allowed to apply for asylum from those countries. Try not to think too hard about that catch-22, you might find yourself voting for Marjorie Taylor-Greene if you work that logic out. Hasan asks Crenshaw how many of these legal-by-Crenshaw’s-estimation asylum seekers, using this magical solution Crenshaw is promoting as policy, have been granted asylum?
Crenshaw hems and haws a bit, saying he doesn’t have the statistics on him. Hasan makes sure he understands that the answer to how many asylum seekers, sent back to their country of origin to apply for asylum by way of this mythical agreement between the U.S. and their host country is … “zero.” As in none. Not a single one.
What Hasan is referring to is the simple fact that of the 945 asylum seekers the Trump administration sent to Guatemala with the public promise that they would be able to “legally” apply for asylum in the U.S. for them, only 34 were even able to begin the application process. According to a Washington Post report, of those 34, “16 abandoned their cases,” while the remaining applications have not received a decision from the U.S. regarding their chances for asylum. That makes the number of asylum seekers who have successfully received what conservatives consider a “legal” asylum in the United States, zero. This agreement, signed off on by Trump and his army of bigots has also been applied to Honduras and El Salvador—though those two countries have yet to begin the plan due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Which means that those two countries have also been able to get asylum for zero people.
There has been a surge in migrant “apprehensions” at the U.S.-Mexico border since Joe Biden took office. This is what the Republican Party has latched onto as their only talking point that mimics a policy. Of course, it is important to note that the largest surge at the border took place over May of 2019, well into Donald Trump’s inhumane and worthless immigration policy. You might not have realized this since it didn’t get the conservative media coverage that the fake “caravan” got the previous year—even though there were significantly higher numbers of immigrants being documented at our country’s southern border.
The Donald Trump administration did very little to end undocumented immigration into our country. What Republicans did do, something that Crenshaw willfully ignored during the interview, was curb the only legal immigration into our country. It’s the perfect example of a political ploy by a xenophobic set of interests.
Crenshaw may have the respected military distinction of being a former Navy SEAL, but his recent political history is anything but respectable. This is a man who the Republican Party has worked very hard to manufacture the illusion of populism around. Throwing lots of money behind a public relations campaign to obfuscate the truth that Crenshaw only has an elected position because of the tortured gerrymandering done by the GOP to his district. Like his Republican cohorts Crenshaw has acted cowardly when presented with the facts of his involvement in shady character attacks on other former veterans.
Like most of the new breed of Republican politician, every time he appears in public, not on the propaganda channel like Fox News or OANN he comes across at best an ill-informed, and at worst, like the rest of the corrupt leadership he’s trying to put a modern face on.
Enjoy the whole interview below.