News-Topic, July 8, 2018
To the editor:
Since 2015 U. S. policy for asylum claims from Central America has been “catch-and-release,” catch on the border, release into the interior. Trump wants “zero-tolerance,” come illegally/return quickly. Here’s his challenge:
“Over the last ten years, there has been a 1,700 percent increase in asylum claims,” according to DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, “resulting in an asylum backlog today in our country of 600,000 cases. Since 2013, the United States has admitted more than half a million illegal immigrant minors and family units from Central America — most of whom today, are at large in the United States.”
Word is out in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala that once past a low “first hurdle” in a claim of “credible fear” of persecution, you are “home free” in America. 80 percent, in fact, pass the “credible fear” screening. Because of the backlog, it could be years before a judge hears a case. Meanwhile, an alien can blend in with the illegal population already here. Few show for their hearings. Only 3-5 percent of claimants ultimately get asylum.
Children are crucial. Children became a force in illegal immigration beginning in the ’70s with surging “automatic birthright citizenship.” Annually, America adds 300,000 new citizens born in the U.S. to illegal alien parents. Such “anchor babies” are among many rewards for illegal entry. In 1982 the Supreme Court added another: free schooling. In Plyler v. Doe, the court ruled 5-to-4 that taxpayers must fund K-12 schooling for children illegally living in the U.S.
Back to the asylum mess. Since “the Flores Settlement” in 1997, unaccompanied illegal minors (under age 18) cannot be held more than 20 days. In 2008 the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act guaranteed illegal alien minors from Central America a court hearing. In contrast, minors from Mexico face “expedited removal.”
Then in 2015 a federal judge expanded the Flores 20-day restriction to include all illegal alien minors, even when detained with their parents. Given the asylum backlog, that makes Central American minors human get-out-of-jail-free cards.
With 60 votes needed in the Senate to fix the loopholes and with Republicans holding only 51 seats, that’s unlikely. As with “chain migration” of immigrants’ extended families, as with the “diversity visa lottery,” the asylum racket is Democrat electoral gold. Democrats will not vote to end it, no matter how destructive.