Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker called for increased border security and changes to asylum law in a speech to the local Department of Justice office in Austin, Texas on Tuesday. Whitaker said the United States needs to close up loopholes that allow illegal aliens to falsely claim asylum in the United States, allowing them to stay in the United States for an extended period of time.
"Asylum is only for those who fear persecution on the basis of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group," Acting AG Whitaker said. "But what happened is that word got out that you could game the system. People found out that you could apply for asylum and then get a work authorization in the United States while you waited for a court date. That might take years—and you could disappear before that ever happened anyway."
Whitaker also noted that most asylum claims are coming from citizens of the Central American countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, but "only about nine percent of asylum claims from Northern Triangle nationals are actually granted every year."
Whitaker also outlined the actions that former Attorney General Jeff Sessions took to discourage illegal immigration and said that the Department of Justice will continue its efforts to end illegal immigration. Whitaker said the Trump administration has:
- Provided U.S. Attorneys with more resources, including a surge in federal prosecutors
- Stopped rewarding sanctuary jurisdictions with federal law enforcement funding
- Taken steps to end the unconstitutional DACA amnesty
- Strengthened the credible fear standard to reduce asylum fraud
"An estimated 11 million people are here illegally. That’s the equivalent of the state of Georgia—here in direct violation to our laws. Over the last two months, the United States Border Patrol has apprehended over 50,000 aliens who crossed the border illegally—including more than 23,000 people in family units. That’s the size of a small city every single month.
"Now, some do get removed, but too many do not—and take advantage of loopholes that lead to their release into the United States.
"This lawbreaking comes at a high cost. This country spends billions of dollars every year on illegal aliens—on medical care, our prisons, and on public education."
You can read Acting AG Whitaker's full speech here.
Updated: Wed, Dec 26th 2018 @ 9:05am EST