The Asylum racket

This excellent letter by Tom Shuford: The Asylum racket, was published in the News-Topic, North Carolina, July 8, 2018:


Since 2015 U. S. policy for asylum claims from Central America has been "catch-and-release," catch-on-the-border/release-into-the-interior. Trump wants "zero-tolerance," come illegally/return quickly. Here's his challenge:

"Over the last ten years, there has been a 1,700% increase in asylum claims," according to DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, "Resulting in an Asylum Backlog today in our country of 600,000 cases. Since 2013, the United States has admitted more than half a million illegal immigrant minors and family units from Central America — most of whom today, are at large in the United States."

Word gotten out in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala that once past a low "first hurdle" in an claim of "credible fear" of persecution back home, you are "home free" in America. 80 percent, in fact, pass the "credible fear" screening. Because of the backlog, it could be years before a judge hears your case. Meanwhile, you can blend in with the illegal population already here. Few show for hearings. Only 3-5 percent of claimants ultimately get asylum.

Children are crucial. Children became a force in illegal immigration beginning in the 70s with surging "automatic birthright citizenship." Annually, America adds 300,000 new citizens born in the U. S. to illegal alien parents. Such "anchor babies" are among many rewards for illegal entry. In 1982 the Supreme Court created another reward: free schooling. In Plyler v. Doe, the Court ruled, 5-to-4, that taxpayers must fund K-12 schooling for children illegally living in the U. S.

Back to the asylum mess. Since "the Flores Settlement" in 1997, unaccompanied illegal minors (under age 18) cannot be held more than 20 days. In 2008 the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act guaranteed illegal alien minors from Central America a court hearing. In contrast, minors from Mexico face "expedited removal."

Then in 2015 a federal judge expanded the Flores 20-day restriction to include all illegal alien minors, even when detained with their parents. Given the asylum backlog, that makes Central American minors human get-out-of-jail-free cards.

With 60 votes needed in the Senate to fix these loopholes. With Republicans holding only 51 seats, that's unlikely. As with "chain migration" of immigrants' extended families, as with the "diversity visa lottery," the asylum racket is Democrat electoral gold. Democrats will not vote to end it, no matter how destructive.




1) "DHS Secretary Nielsen's Remarks on the Illegal Immigration Crisis", Department of Homeland Security, Release Date: June 18, 2018:

KEY EXCERPT: "Since this time last year, there has been a 325 percent increase in Unaccompanied Alien Children and a 435 percent increase in family units entering the country illegally. Over the last ten years, there has been a 1,700% increase in asylum claims, resulting in an Asylum Backlog today, in our country of 600,000 cases. Since 2013, the United States has admitted more than half a million illegal immigrant minors and family units from Central America – most of whom today, are at large in the United States."


2) "Asylum claims from Central America up over 800% [in 6 years], easy way 'to get in the door'," by Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, June 21, 2018:


"Something is wrong if we are approving 80 percent of the new arrivals for entry under the current 'credible fear' standard, but so few of them actually are approved. That suggests that the credible fear standard is way too low and out of sync with the legal standards for asylum itself," said [Jessica] Vaughan [Center for Immigration Studies].

"She [Vaughn] and others believe the standard for claiming asylum is poor, especially when put up against the statistic that just 3-5 percent of the claims are officially granted at hearings."


3) "Birthright Citizenship in the United States: A Global Comparison," By Jon Feere on August 31, 2010, Center for Immigration Studies


"Every year, 300,000 to 400,000 children are born to illegal immigrants in the United States. Despite the foreign citizenship and illegal status of the parent, the executive branch of the U.S. government automatically recognizes these children as U.S. citizens upon birth. The same is true of children born to tourists and other aliens who are present in the United States in a legal but temporary status . . ."

"Eminent legal scholars and jurists, including Professor Peter Schuck of Yale Law School and U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner, have questioned whether the 14th Amendment should be read to mandate such a permissive citizenship policy. Nevertheless, the practice has become the de facto law of the land without any input from Congress or the American public."


4) Plyler v. Doe: From the Summary provided by Wikipedia

"Revisions to education laws in Texas in 1975 withheld state funds for educating children who had not been legally admitted to the United States and authorized local school districts to deny enrollment to such students. A 5-to-4 majority of the Supreme Court found that this policy was in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, as unauthorized immigrant children are people "in any ordinary sense of the term," and therefore had protection from discrimination unless a substantial state interest could be shown to justify it."


5) "Flores agreement: Trump's executive order to end family separation might run afoul of a 1997 court ruling," VOX, by Dara Lind and Dylan Scott Jun 20, 2018


"...the real consequence was a consent decree agreed to by the Clinton administration and the plaintiffs in the litigation in 1997. The decree, known as the Flores settlement, set standards for unaccompanied minors who were in the custody of federal authorities . . . The agreement required that children be released as soon as possible to either their parents, a legal guardian, another relative, or a vetted entity willing to take legal custody of the child. . . .

"In 2014, however, the Obama administration attempted to tamp down the number of Central American families seeking asylum in the US by keeping families in detention and processing and deporting them as quickly as possible.

"Immigration advocates challenged the policy of family detention under Flores. And judges agreed with them — in large part because it said the Obama administration was out of bounds in detaining migrant families for the purpose of 'deterrence'." (As NBC's Benjy Sarlin has pointed out, that's why certain Trump administration officials have been careful not to say that family separation is a deterrent, or even a policy, now.)

"Ultimately, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the Flores settlement covered not just unaccompanied alien children but 'accompanied' ones as well. It set a general standard that the government couldn't hold them in custody for more than 20 days."


6) Special protection for Central American minors: "Legal Protections for Unaccompanied Minors in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2008," First Focus: Center for the Children of Immigrants


"Children from non-contiguous countries are . . . Provided access to counsel, to the greatest extent practicable, to represent them in legal proceedings or matters and

protect them from mistreatment, exploitation, and trafficking."

"Children from contiguous countries must be screened within 48 hours of apprehension . . . If an immigration officer determines that the child must be returned to Mexico or Canada, they must be returned . . ."