ICE Memo Stacks Deck for More Asylum Fraud and Abuse
In the guise of efficiency and clearing court backlogs, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) memo is creating more extra-legal shortcuts to make America’s overwhelmed asylum system even worse.
The Biden administration — whose open-borders agenda has substantially lengthened already-long immigration court dockets — now aims to reduce the logjam by lopping off cases and rubberstamping more asylum claims by illegal aliens.
Launching a three-prong assault on existing asylum law, ICE’s principal legal adviser, Kerry Doyle, directed that:
- Migrants who recently crossed the southern border illegally or have criminal histories, “regardless of severity,” may not [emphasis added] be considered enforcement priorities. This contradicts previous policy that anyone entering illegally since Nov. 1, 2020, was to be treated as an enforcement priority.
- ICE attorneys are directed to seek case reviews with their chief counsel before pursuing removal, but are not required to get approval to designate a case as a non-priority. If a non-priority case is already in the court system at any stage, the ICE attorney should file a motion to dismiss it.
- For asylum claimants represented by lawyers (53 percent of cases in first quarter), ICE attorneys are to file a motion to dismiss those cases immediately.
Naturally, immigration enthusiasts at the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) applauded moves to have border claims reviewed outside the immigration court system. Chronic court backlogs merely “incentivize unauthorized border crossings and delay the removal of criminals, proven national security threats,” MPI stated.
It goes without saying that the same perverse incentives are triggered by policies that eviscerate enforcement and make a mockery of the legal process.
The Center for Immigration Studies called ICE’s action — or, rather, inaction – an open invitation to evermore fraud and abuse.
“The inevitable result … is that an unprecedented proportion of illegal border crossers will be magically transformed into ‘refugees,’ legalized and showered with more federal welfare benefits than even most legal permanent residents could hope for,” CIS’s George Fishman observed.
One small caveat: Because immigration judges have the final say in terminating asylum cases that come before them, outcomes may depend on how often they agree to ICE attorneys’ motions. “Wide variation in asylum grant rates between judges (from an approval rate of 95 percent to a low of 0 percent for the 2016-2021 period) suggests the real impact of the Doyle memo could be very uneven,” MPI noted.
But with the administration moving on other fronts to authorize asylum officers to grant or deny claims, “uneven” may be the best that can be expected from Team Biden’s bogus efficiency schemes.