Our immigration laws are being exploited as a means of gaining entrance into our nation. 

There’s been a spike in asylum claims and the statistics demonstrate just how our asylum system is being abused. As a result, not only is border enforcement overwhelmed by waves of families and individuals, but our processing and adjudicating systems are buried under tens of thousands of claims that are bound to fail. 

Washington needs to do something. A new measure by the Trump Administration going into effect tomorrow may be one effort that starts to address this problem.

A bit of background

There’s been an explosion in the number of immigrants claiming asylum for entrance and stay in the U.S., (Remember, asylees are individuals who cannot or will not return to their home of nationality because of fear of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.)

However, there has been no significant geopolitical situation such as war or political unrest that might explain this. Instead, information is spreading to sending countries that claiming asylum is a successful strategy to bypass the legal application process and gain access to our nation.

The Breathtaking Numbers

Here are 3 data points that demonstrate just how bad the situation has become:

  1. 352% increase in asylum claims. According to reporting, during the budget year for 2009, some 35,811 asylum claims were filed and that rose to 162,060 claims in the budget year 2018. 

  2. 65% of asylum cases denied. Of the 42,000 asylum claims that were decided, just 34 percent were granted. It’s important to note that many of the claims decided last year were from claims made before President Trump took office because the backlog of cases has slowed the process to the point that four out of five cases take over 12 months to be processed. If asylum claims are fraudulent, we can expect these numbers of denials to increase even more.

  3. 908,000 backlogged cases. There are 908,552 pending immigration cases as of FY 2019. In 2008, there were just 168,000 which was more or less consistent each year since 1998. As a result of this nearly 1 million backlog, the wait-time for a case on average is 727 days – up from 438 days ten years ago.  

What the Trump Administration is doing

A new rule will go into effect tomorrow that aims to stem the tide of asylum claims. It requires asylum seekers, who pass through another nation before arriving at our border, apply for asylum there. It makes sense that if you are fleeing violence or oppression, you should seek safe shelter at the nearest country of refuge. Choosing to come to the U.S. is then a choice not the first place of safety.

A regulatory change is an immediate necessary step given that Congress has failed to fix our asylum laws and the overall immigration system. 

As a result, many immigrants seeking jobs, better opportunity, and a better life are drawn to our Southern Border under the guise of seeking asylum. It's understandable that people are desperate and come here looking for hope.

However, it's wrong to exploit our asylum system. Their fraudulent behavior overwhelms our asylum system and robs true asylees of the ability to seek safety in a timely manner. 

We’ll see how this all plays out.