Blue Checkmarks on Twitter Don’t Know Basic Immigration Terminology

No intelligent person should rely on Twitter as their primary source of information, especially when it comes to public policy. But for better or worse, Twitter is in fact a place where many people find their news. Twitter also gives a platform to public figures by marking their accounts with blue checkmarks, indicating “verified” accounts.

During the most recent presidential debate, many of these public figures reacted with shock to President Trump’s use of the term “coyote” to describe professional human smugglers at the southwest border. Coyote is, of course, the correct term and widely used by immigration experts, lawyers, journalists, and law enforcement to describe the people who charge fees to smuggle people across the southern border.

That did not stop some of Twitter’s blue checked users from embarrassing themselves online. Below are examples of celebrities, “activists,” and even journalists misunderstanding the term and accusing President Trump of using the term as some sort of racial epithet. And trust me, there are many more.

These are people who really ought to know better than to opine on a topic of which they know absolutely nothing. Becket Adams, a writer at the Washington Examiner, summed up this phenomenon nicely. Referencing these tweets, he said, “A big takeaway from the evening is that there are apparently a lot of people who feel passionately about immigration but also have no idea about human trafficking at the border.”

This is absolutely correct and reveals a profound ignorance about the issue of immigration, even among the blue-checkmark Twitter crowd. The lesson from this is, of course, to think before you fire off an opinion on an issue that you know nothing about. At the very least, use Google.

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