The Trump administration announced that it expects to process some 280,000 new asylum claims and resettle up to 30,000 refugees in 2019. The asylum crisis is largely due to loopholes in our laws and further fueled by catch-and-release policies. In recent years, large numbers of Central American migrants arriving with children have sought political asylum based on non-political circumstances such as the deterioration of civil society in their homelands. Once released, many of these asylees simply disappear into the interior of the country.
In addition to expected arrivals, the administration also noted that more than 700,000 asylum applications are in the court backlog and have yet to be adjudicated. To end this incredible level of asylum abuse, Congress must narrow the scope of our asylum laws so that they confer benefits only on individuals who would qualify as refugees if they were outside the United States. If our asylum system remains a fraudulent backdoor route to permanent residence, the border crisis will continue unabated and our ability to help those truly in need of humanitarian protection will diminish.
The admission of asylum-seekers (whose claims may not be adjudicated for years) is in addition to the roughly 1.1 million legal immigrants expected to be admitted next year, in addition to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants.
Dan Stein is the president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.