Border Asylum Claims Up Tenfold Since 2009

Jessica Vaughan, Center for Immigration Studies, October 19, 2016

A new report by the Center for Immigration Studies analyzes the surge of aliens arriving at U.S. land borders and ports of entry without visas and requesting asylum. The numbers have been escalating at a rapid rate–ten times higher now than in 2009–following an Obama administration executive action that calls for such arrivals to receive a grant of parole into the country to pursue their asylum claim, rather than stay in custody pending a full review of their qualifications, as the law requires.

Jessica Vaughan, the Center’s director of policy studies and author of the report, said “Contrary to the impression given by the Obama administration and advocacy groups, we are not obliged to accept this flood of illegal arrivals and offer them entry to our country. This influx is not a force of nature, nor a consequence of events abroad; it is the result of the Obama administration’s catch-and-release policy.”

At the “credible fear” review, the first step in the asylum process, about 90 percent of all applicants are approved, despite the fact that only about 30 percent of asylum applications are estimated to be fraud-free. After their asylum application has been pending 150 days, asylum applicants are allowed to apply for a work permit. In most cases, applicants wait several years for an asylum hearing before an immigration judge, and many ultimately skip out on that hearing. An estimated 90 percent of the applicants will not qualify for asylum, but under current policy they are not considered a priority for deportation after their applications have been rejected.

View the entire report here.

Aliens from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras make up 80 percent of all the new applications from border arrivals since 2014, but the number coming from Haiti is on the rise. India is the only non-Latin American country to rank in the top five nationalities of asylum seekers reported by USCIS. The overwhelming majority of these aliens will be aided by transnational criminal organizations on their journey to the U.S., which enriches the cartels and places thousands at risk of violence and abuse.

The report includes solutions to the continuing surge in asylum seekers at the borders. Vaughan noted, “This has happened before and we know from experience that it can be shut down in no time by ending the near automatic grants of parole, by going after the smuggling groups, and by working with other countries in the region to discourage this harmful criminal activity.”

Vaughan poses several questions in her report, including, “If applicants from these countries are not very likely to be approved, then why are they being allowed into the country to make a claim? Why are USCIS asylum officers giving so many of these cases the green light upon the initial credible fear reviews? Why are so many being granted parole and released, when it is obvious that most will end up joining the illegal population and be subject to deportation?”

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