Despite the best efforts of obstructionist Democrats in Congress, President Trump is winning the fight to secure the border and keep American communities safe.
Since last October, more than 800,000 illegal immigrants have been apprehended at the southern border, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis by overwhelming the finite resources of our immigration enforcement agencies. While the Democrats demagogue the issue with patently false claims about “concentration camps” and exploit migrant children as political props, the Trump administration has focused on taking meaningful actions to address the problem.
With some radical House Democrats even opposing a recent humanitarian aid package to give Border Patrol and ICE the funding they need to care for the recent surge in illegal immigration, President Trump has had to do almost all of the heavy lifting on his own.
The recent enforcement agreement with Mexico, for instance, came about solely due to the President’s initiative. That deal, under which Mexico agreed to house asylum-seekers until their cases are adjudicated and deploy thousands of national guard troops to stop illegal migrants, is already making a meaningful dent in the number of illegal immigrants crossing our southern border after just a few short weeks.
The administration’s newest initiative, announced earlier this month, is designed to limit false asylum claims, which have been on the rise in recent years as illegal immigrants have increasingly sought to use asylum as a loophole to gain easy access to the United States.
The American people generously offer safe haven to foreigners facing extraordinary circumstances, such as political or religious persecution in their homelands. Asylum laws are meant as an exception to general immigration laws, but in recent years liberals have been actively encouraging ordinary economic migrants – those who simply wish to take advantage of the superior economic opportunities available in America – to claim asylum because it exempts them from detention and deportation while their claims are processed.
As a result, asylum claims have risen by almost 1,700 percent over the past decade, overwhelming our immigration courts and creating a backlog of cases that is forcing judges to schedule hearings years in advance. When the asylum claims are finally adjudicated, about 80 percent of them are rejected for failing to meet the necessary criteria.
False and fraudulent asylum claims do a grave disservice to political dissidents and religious minorities around the world who desperately need and truly deserve asylum protection. Living in a bad neighborhood or having limited work opportunities simply does not compare to the experience of risking torture or execution simply because of one’s political or religious viewpoints.
Fortunately, the Trump administration recognizes the gravity of the situation, and is taking steps to curtail the number of phony asylum claims from Central American economic refugees.
The new rules require migrants to apply for asylum in the first safe country they enter, such as Mexico, rather than hopscotching to the United States as their preferred destination. This will ensure that our generous asylum policies are available to those who truly need them, but not to those who wish to exploit them for economic gain. This is a common sense policy. Migrants can realize economic opportunities in the nearest country to them if it welcomes them on that basis, not the farthest. The regulation also prevents illegal immigrants from making asylum claims after they’ve been apprehended within our borders, a practice that has become increasingly routine in response to President Trump’s effective measures to improve border security.
The decision to crack down on asylum abuse has received contradictory rulings from the courts. On the same day that one federal judge upheld the new rules, another notoriously liberal judge issued a nationwide injunction preventing the regulation from taking effect. The injunction will likely be overturned on appeal, but for the time being it’s preventing the president from using the single most effective tool on the border at his disposal.
Once the regulation overcomes liberal legal challenges, though, the days of migrant caravans marching through Mexico to the U.S. border will be over.
President Trump has employed bold and creative measures to resolve the humanitarian and national security crisis on our southern border, and the new asylum rules are among the most important initiatives he’s taken so far. Despite Democrat obstructionism in Congress and interference from liberal judges, the President is winning the fight to secure the border.
Jan Brewer is the former Governor of Arizona