To the editor:

In the July 9 letter “US need not be ‘soft-headed’ on immigration,” Bernard Heersink, as seems to be the case with all conservatives, has chosen to support Donald Trump’s cruel separation of asylum seekers from their children by completely misrepresenting the facts.

If Mr. Heersink had taken just a minute away from Fox News to check just a few facts, he might have learned that what Mr. Trump tells his base is not always the truth.

Mr. Heersink dutifully spouts the party line when rationalizing the Trump administration separation of infants and children from their parents. He claims that the separation “could not exceed 20 days, after which the families were reunited.”

You have to be very bad at math to accept this at face value. First, some of the children have been separated since at least late April and they still have not been reunited with their parents. In some cases, parents were deported without their children.

Second, the Trump administration is now in court pleading for an extension of the court order to return the children to their parents within 30 days. At the very least, assuming the Trump administration abides by the court order, the children have been separated from their parents for more than 100 days.

Mr. Heersink throws out another claim that is entirely inaccurate when he asserts, “Most of these people (asylum seekers) do not return and cannot be found when that time comes.” It might sound good when Trump says it, but it is not true.

According to a 2014 GAO report, there was a 95 percent compliance rate among asylum seekers who participated in the Obama administration’s ICE Alternatives to Detention program, which was in place until the Trump administration ended the program. The GAO also found that the program was very cost-effective, that asylum seekers appeared at their immigration court hearings, and that almost all would leave the United States if they received a final order of removal.

Mr. Heersink seems to sum up the conservative view of the world by saying “President Trump has made separation a moot point for now with his executive order.” This is like an arsonist justifying his actions by helping put out the fire.

I, along with many other red-blooded patriotic Americans, am baffled by the ability of conservatives to completely ignore facts and reverse-engineer them into fake news. My question to Mr. Heersink is why would you trumpet the claim that the separation “could not exceed 20 days, after which the families were reunited” when you know the numbers don’t add up? Does the conservative brain freeze when confronted with facts that do not match your world view?

Or is it just the conservative tendency to blind obedience? And that, to answer your question Mr. Heersink, is why many are afraid the Trump administration is dangerously flirting with fascism.

Tom McCarty

Olive Street

Newburyport