During his speech today at the department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), Attorney General Jeff Sessions criticized the asylum process saying that it is rampant with “abuse and fraud”. Sessions said that many immigrants are taking advantage of the loopholes in the system to enter and then stay in the U.S. illegally.
"Unfortunately, this system is currently subject to rampant abuse and fraud. And as this system becomes overloaded with fake claims, it cannot deal effectively with just claims. The surge in trials, hearings, appeals, bond proceedings has been overwhelming," Sessions said.
When an immigrant arrives at the border seeking asylum from persecution they must submit a “credible fear” claim and will receive a full hearing before an immigration judge. Current immigration law says that asylum applicants are supposed to be held in custody until their asylum claim is fully reviewed. However, under Pres. Obama’s catch-and-release policy the immigrant is instead released into the U.S. while the case is pending and many never show up for their court hearing.
Sessions also mentioned that in 2009 the Obama administration "expanded the concept of asylum beyond congressional intent," which created "more incentives for illegal aliens to come here and claim a fear of return."
"The consequences are just what you'd expect. Claims of fear to return have skyrocketed, and the percentage of claims that are genuinely meritorious are down," he said.
According to a recent CIS report, on the increase of asylum cases since 2009, around 90% of asylum cases are initially approved for credible fear. The report showed that only around 30% of these cases were fraud-free. Out of the initially approved cases around 90% will not qualify for asylum but are not considered a priority for deportation so many will continue to stay in the country illegally.
"The system is being gamed. The credible fear process was intended to be a lifeline for persons facing serious persecution. But it has become an easy ticket to illegal entry into the United States," Sessions said.
Sessions concluded with several solutions to fix the asylum process. "We can impose and enforce penalties for baseless or fraudulent asylum applications and expand the use of expedited removal. We can elevate the threshold standard of proof in credible fear interviews. We can expand the ability to return asylum seekers to safe third countries. We can close loopholes and clarify our asylum laws to ensure that they help those they were intended to help," he said.
Read more on this story at The Washington Examiner.
Updated: Tue, Oct 17th 2017 @ 10:39am EDT