A November 24 article in the Huffington Post cited retired or dismissed former government employees and advocates for the “troubled masses yearning to breathe free” describing how the Trump administration is in the process of tightening the admission policy for refugees, asylum applicants, and temporary workers.
The writer, Rachel Morris, identifies a series of policy changes that have the effect of slowing the issuance of visas and screening out refugee and asylum applicants. The article, which identifies FAIR as an advocate of some of these changes, notes that the cumulative effect of the changes will be difficult to reverse even if the Democrats win the presidency in 2020.
For example, the recent promotion of some immigration judges with a reputation for adherence to the law in asylum cases, rather than legislating from the bench, will leave those same career employees in key positions after 2020. What the writer ignores is that over time more permissive judges were advanced at the urging of advocacy groups, and reversing that bias is also taking time.
Similarly, the writer cites the administration’s efforts to tighten the standard for judging when an immigration applicant is likely to become a public charge (i.e. needing to use public assistance) and therefore ineligible under the law for a visa. Ignored is the fact that the standard for judging public charge ineligibility had been defined by the Clinton administration blatantly ignored the intent of Congress that immigrants should be self-sufficient. Rules promulgated by the Clinton administration defining what it meant to be a public charge were written so narrowly as to make laws enacted by Congress virtually unenforceable.
The article cites an Obama administration official and advocates for refugees lamenting the decrease to a new low level in the number of refugees admitted. “The whole infrastructure is deteriorating.” It continued, “Because the application process is so lengthy, even if a new administration raises refugee admissions on day one, it would take as long as five years before increased numbers of people actually make it to the United States.” This discussion entirely ignored the impact of the Obama administration’s unilateral expansion of asylum criteria that spurred waves of specious asylum seekers that have overwhelmed our courts.
It is understandable that the public may be confused by the debate over immigration policy when such one-sided commentaries portray themselves as objective analysis.