President Donald Trump doubled down on his message to the various groups of migrants headed towards the United States from Central America through Mexico. At the White House, the president told the migrants to stop in their tracks. Saying that he is sending troops to the border, he expressed concern that many of the migrants are “tough” and “young men” of whom some may belong to criminal gangs.
He said that the administration is finalizing plans to require migrants to “present themselves lawfully at a point of entry,” and that he would sign a “comprehensive” executive order “sometime next week.” Currently, federal law allows immigrants to apply for asylum with no regard as to how they entered the country. Trump said that his executive order will require that they present themselves at official ports of entry.
The president also appeared that he is considering the use of force against migrants at the border. “They’re throwing rocks viciously and violently,” he claimed, referring to an encounter between the migrants and Mexican police at a port of entry leading from neighboring Guatemala. “They want to throw rocks at our military, our military is going to fight back.” In the encounter last week between Mexican police and migrants, one migrant was killed and several officers were injured.
When he asked if troops may fire on migrants, he said, "I hope not" and added, "Anybody throwing rocks ... we will consider that a firearm, because there’s not much difference.” According to the Defense Department, the troops have the right to use force for self-defense. , No country should allow itself to be "overwhelmed by masses of people rushing our border," Trump said. Addressing himself to the migrants, Trump said, “turn back now,” likening the marchers to an “invasion.” He also expressed concern over the medical condition of the migrants and the cost it may represent to government.
“These are tough people in many cases,” Trump said, adding there are “young men, strong men” who are “not legitimate asylum seekers,” among the thousands of marchers. “Asylum is not a program for those living in poverty,” he said. “Asylum is a very special protection intended for those fleeing government persecution.”
Trump repeated comments made in recent interviews that asylees will be detained in tent cities, rather than being released into the country as has long been the case. Saying that many of these asylum seekers have disappeared before appearing in court, the president said that the administration is “putting up massive tent cities" with "the military's help" although the Pentagon said earlier this week that it had received no request to set up tents for detained migrants. He said that he wants to see the building of the border wall he has demanded, the president said he wants an overhaul of the asylum procedures to prohibit migrants using “meritless claims” to enter the country. Trump said he is ending the government's policy of "catch and release" that allowed migrants to enter the country provisionally while waiting to appear before an immigration judge. Thousands of taken advantage of the policy and remained illegally.
Here follows a release from the White House:
"We will not rest until our border is secure, our citizens are safe, and we finally end the immigration crisis once and for all." President Donald J. Trump
MISUSED ASYLUM LAWS: Flaws in our asylum system allow illegal aliens with meritless claims to cross our borders and remain here for years.
Our Nation’s asylum laws have allowed illegal aliens with meritless claims to easily enter and stay in the United States while awaiting legal proceedings.
Asylum seekers at the border only have to meet the low bar for establishing a “credible fear” of returning under which they must show a “possibility” to qualify for asylum.
Aliens who claim a credible fear of returning do not have to provide any verification or corroboration of their claims in order to receive a positive determination and be released into the interior of the United States.
As a result, illegal aliens with meritless cases that are released from detention are able to remain in our communities for years, while their cases are litigated in immigration courts.
AN OVERWHELMING SURGE: Our country faces a growing and overwhelming surge of illegal aliens seeking to take advantage of our weak asylum laws.
Today, approximately one in 10 illegal aliens arriving at our southern border claims a credible fear of return, up from one out of every 100 prior to 2013.
Since 2010, these claims have spiked by 1,700 percent.
This staggering increase has contributed to a backlog of hundreds of thousands of cases in our immigration courts.
This surge is only growing, with reports showing that asylum requests at the southern border have recently increased from 1,500 per week to approximately 2,000 per week.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processed approximately 100,000 credible fear claims this last fiscal year (FY), surpassing the 94,000 record set in FY 2016.
In FY 2018, USCIS received approximately 106,000 new asylum requests from those admitted legally, compared to only 25,500 in 2008.
Immigration courts received approximately 160,000 asylum requests in FY 2018, compared to only 42,000 in FY 2008.
A DRIVING FACTOR IN ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION: The standards that apply to the credible fear process is a major driver of our Nation’s immigration crisis.
While there has been an enormous spike in credible fear-initiated claims, relatively few asylum claims have ultimately been found to be meritorious.
Approximately 80 percent of aliens arriving from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador passed initial credible fear screenings, but only 15 percent of those were granted asylum.
There has been a major increase in the number of illegal alien family units arriving at our border and family units now make up a significant percentage of credible fear claims.
The number of family units apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection has increased 620 percent during the past five years.
Family units make up about 40 percent of all credible fear-initiated asylum claims.
As a result of loopholes, nearly all asylum seekers in family units are permitted by the Department of Homeland Security to remain in the United States, pending their asylum hearing.
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.