Biden’s Asylum Pitch: Sensible Solution, or More Smoke and Mirrors?
On Dec. 29, a FAIR blog asked: “Are Democrats Losing Their Nerve Over Biden’s Asylum Abuse?” Exactly one week later, the White House floated a plan that would deny asylum to migrants who transit through Mexico and other nations but do not apply for asylee status anywhere en route.
Whether Biden & Co. are serious about this proposal, and how widely it would be enforced, remain unanswered questions.
“Individuals who circumvent available, established pathways to lawful migration, and also fail to seek protection in a country through which they traveled on their way to the United States, will be subject to a rebuttable presumption of asylum ineligibility,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
This is entirely reasonable, given that it is a long established principle of international law that asylum seekers are supposed to apply for protection in the first safe countries they enter.
But new rules won’t be implemented any time soon. Mayorkas, who says specifics will be available “in the coming weeks,” indicated that any policy changes must go through a public-comment phase before implementation.
Matt O’Brien, director of investigations for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, said “safe country” policies are typically negotiated via treaty or other international agreement, rather than enacted as domestic law.
“The issue can be resolved by ‘notice and comment’ rulemaking, but it isn’t the preferred approach,” O’Brien said. “Ideally, Congress should pass a statute barring anyone who hadn’t traveled directly to the U.S. from seeking asylum.”
O’Brien doesn’t discount the possibility of Biden merely utilizing notice and comment “so he can abandon it after everyone from AILA [American Immigration Lawyers Association] to CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc.), the National Lawyers Guild and ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union] can bitch about it during the comment period.”
One thing is certain as of now: The administration, by executive fiat, has announced its intention to parole 30,000 Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans into the U.S. every month, even though the president has no legal authority to do so. This reeks of abject surrender to four countries whose nationals have been blitzing America’s southern border.
Meantime, out on the migration trails, a little-known United Nations program is disbursing hundreds of millions in cash to aspiring asylees transiting north through Central America. The U.S. government is providing $391.5 million to the effort, more than half the total funding. Another gift that keeps migrants coming.