White House Re-Imagines U.S. Asylum Law



As asylum seekers pour across America’s southern border, the Biden administration is seeking to radically reshape U.S. immigration law to let them stay in the country.

In February, the White House announced it was assembling policies for “safe, lawful and orderly migration.” Thus far, the administration has gone 0-for-3.

Brandon Judd, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer and president of the National Border Patrol Council union, said the current surge of asylum seekers is the biggest since the agency began keeping records. Speaking to a congressional delegation in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley on Wednesday, Judd recommended setting up immigration courts at the border to quickly adjudicate asylum cases.

But rocket dockets won’t make much difference if the requirements for legal entry are loosened. Admitting large categories of otherwise inadmissible aliens would greatly expand asylum eligibility beyond congressional intent, and trigger additional waves of migration.

Where the Trump administration took steps to root out fraudulent, frivolous or otherwise unmerited asylum claims, Biden’s team aims to facilitate more Central American migration with liberalized entry policies. This could include revving up the Central American Minors (CAM) program to fly migrants into the U.S.

“I expect the administration to open the ‘back door’ to this country [with]programs that bring Central Americans here directly, away from the gaze of the media,” Center for Immigration Studies researcher Nayla Rush told FAIR.

Meantime, migrants are subjected to daily depredations by human smuggling rings and violent drug cartels.

For every sojourner who claims persecution back home, many more say they’re pursuing job opportunities, escape from gang violence or simply a better life. These motives are understandable, even admirable, but they are not legal grounds for asylum. At least not yet. Biden’s rule makers are in the process of broadening the asylum category of “particular social group” to include virtually any migrant transiting through Mexico.

Last month, a Gallup survey estimated that some 42 million people in Central America and the Caribbean would like to move to America. “Now they can, and now they are,” Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., declared with some hyperbole at the Texas roundtable.

As this country’s backlog of 1.1 million asylum claims balloons under Biden – with at least 300,000 more expected this fiscal year — the question must be asked: Will these migrants leave if their claims are rejected?

White House fixers are working to ensure that never happens.

About Author

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Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.