In proposing new and supposedly improved asylum rules, the Biden administration boldly declares, “We are building an immigration system that is designed to ensure due process, respect human dignity and promote equity.”
Like so much of what comes out of Washington, the language is inverted, and the end result will be the opposite of the stated intent.
Under revised procedures, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) asylum officers would decide migrants’ claims. This administrative shortcut effectively bypasses overwhelmed immigration courts, where a backlog of 1.4 million cases is growing daily.
But it’s a bum deal all the way around.
It strips the American people of the right to be represented in court when aliens seek benefits leading to green cards and citizenship.
The rules make it harder to remove migrants by giving them expansive new rights to appeal. Releasing aliens who make bogus asylum claims will inevitably encourage more irregular border crossings and abet fraud.
“If you think that illegal migration and court backlogs are bad now, just wait until these rules are allowed to take effect,” predicts Andrew Arthur of the Center for Immigration Studies.
Here are four ways the Biden asylum program breaks down, literally.
UNBALANCED RIGHTS: While aliens are assured pro-bono legal counsel, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICDE) attorneys would be excluded from administrative proceedings.
This is the White House’s idea of “equity.”
MORE DELAYS: The rules expand claimants’ ability to pursue frivolous cases through additional appeals. Aliens whose claims are rejected could seek a new series of reviews, restarting the whole process.
This won’t clear court backlogs; it will make them worse.
LESS DETENTION: The rules continue to ignore the congressional mandate that aliens in expedited removal proceedings be detained.
An unadjudicated “credible fear” claim is a stay-out-of-jail-free card.
PRIMING THE PUMP: Seeing all of the above, every human smuggler will instruct migrants to assert fear for their safety if returned to their homeland.
Fraudulent asylum claims would accelerate, as would the flow of future illegal aliens.
Not coincidentally, the administration’s action comes as asylum denials are on the rise. In fiscal year 2020, just 26 percent of asylum claims were granted by immigration judges. This is not the kind of outcome Team Biden wants, or expects.
So rather than hiring significantly more judges for chronically shorthanded immigration courts (a problem exacerbated by the COVID pandemic), Biden aims to add 1,000 asylum officers and another 1,000 support staff to process cases administratively.
The new hires would more than double the current 800 asylum officers and could be funded by Congress or immigration application fee increases.
Don’t count on the latter, however, as USCIS Director Ur Jaddou continues to apply generous fee waivers while her agency hemorrhages red ink.
Jaddou, a team player, embraces the rubberstamping “Get to Yes” customer-service mantra that Alejandro Mayorkas drilled into USCIS adjudicators to approve sketchy visa applications when he headed the agency.
Mayorkas is now Jaddou’s boss as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, where leadership is more attuned to ad-hoc executive orders than to duly enacted requirements of immigration law.
Doris Meissner, a former commissioner at the old U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, is correct when she states, “Timeliness and fairness must be the hallmarks of a functional, successful asylum system.”
The current system clearly fails those tests. But the Biden package, which borrows liberally from Meissner’s mass immigration agenda, makes a bad situation even worse.
Honest policy analysts agree that ongoing abuses of America’s asylum system undermine immigration law and even pose potential national security threats. Now, with his doubletalk, the president seeks to double down on the dysfunction.
Employing administrative fiats to bottle up removals – while disingenuously insisting it is “improv[ing] the processing of asylum claims” – the Biden White House opens the door to still greater fraud, facilitates the release of dodgy aliens into the country, and compounds the current border crisis by encouraging millions more migrants to come with asylum claims that may never be fully verified.
Bob Dane is executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in Washington, D.C. Read more here.
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