The Biden administration has opened our southern border to an unlimited number of illegal immigrants from all parts of the globe—and has no intention of changing course.
Rather than act to secure our border, it has implemented a three-point border plan:
- Quickly process illegal immigrants into the country, using NGOs that receive FEMA and HHS grants to transport them to the U.S. interior.
- Grant these immigrants parole (albeit in violation of the parole law).
- Use its new rule to expedite applications for asylum for hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens (most of whom are not eligible for asylum).
The administration is actively ruining our asylum system by encouraging this fraud. Congress has the obligation to disapprove of the rule and bring meaning and integrity back to asylum.
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Other than naturalization, asylum is the most important immigration benefit we, as a nation, bestow on aliens. Asylum provides protection to those who have been persecuted, or have a well-founded fear of persecution, by a government on account of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.
By law, anyone who knowingly files a frivolous asylum application is to be permanently barred from all immigration benefits. Asylum is not a benefit that should be abused, nor should the eligibility standards be watered down to “grant” asylum to more aliens in feel-good gestures. Yet those are exactly the approaches the Biden administration is pursuing.
Countless illegal immigrants approaching our southern border admit to journalists and agents that they are coming to the U.S. to work. They are economic migrants, not victims of persecution. Yet NGOs coach them to claim a fear of returning home as the tactic to get them processed into the U.S.
Meanwhile, the Left misleadingly paints the masses coming here illegally all as “asylum seekers.” Exploiting the vagueness of the “membership in a particular social group” catch-all ground for asylum, they expand it to include broad categories of circumstances, such as domestic abuse, general crime, gang activity and, of course, climate change.
Moreover, with its new asylum rule, the administration seeks to remove the adversarial process and cut other procedural corners to accelerate getting to grants of asylum. The net effect of all of this is to encourage more immigrants to submit fraudulent asylum applications.
The administration claims that the rule will reduce the asylum backlog in the immigration courts. In fact, it would simply shift the backlog to Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The immigration courts currently have a backlog of more than1.8 million cases. USCIS dwarfs that backlog with more than 8.5 million cases, including more than 468,000 pending asylum cases. By taking on credible fear asylum applications, USCIS will make non-asylum applicants wait even longer for their applications to be decided. Members of Congress need to realize that illegal immigration and asylum fraud hurt legal immigration applicants.
It is also important to note that the administration refuses to charge a fee for asylum applications, even though USCIS is a fee-funded agency. The cost to adjudicate asylum applications is paid through higher fees placed on other applicants seeking different types of benefits.
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Because those fees have increased significantly over the years, DHS has now developed the habit of asking Congress for appropriations to cover the asylum adjudication costs instead of charging applicants even a nominal fee. This defies congressional intent that applicants, not U.S. taxpayers, pay for their applications.
Further, charging no fee encourages aliens to file fraudulent asylum claims. There is no downside for them. Indeed, filing a free asylum application makes an illegal immigrant eligible for a work authorization document and buys them much more time in the U.S.—exactly what they want—while they wait for their applications to be adjudicated.
Fourteen states have joined to sue the administration over this asylum rule. Regardless of the court outcome, Congress needs to retake control over asylum, starting with rejecting the new rule. The Left has taken asylum far afield from Congress’ original intent. Congress should defund any administrative effort that encourages asylum fraud or waters down the standards for the important benefit.
Indeed, due to the serious national security threats our country faces from Biden’s open border policies, this is just the beginning of what Congress needs to do to secure our border. We are running out of time.
This piece originally appeared in ArcaMax