Trump Signs Memo to End Asylum Abuse
Heather Ham-Warren | May 2, 2019
On Monday evening, President Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum directing his administration to curb the ongoing asylum abuse occurring at our borders. While the issue of asylum abuse has become more apparent given today’s border crisis, FAIR has long advocated for changes to existing asylum laws in both the legislative and executive branches.
Since 2013, there has been a 2,000 percent increase in aliens claiming credible fear upon arrival, which has created an overwhelming asylum backlog of more than 786,000 pending cases. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the majority of these claims are found to be fraudulent with nine out of ten asylum claims eventually being denied by a federal immigration judge. Unfortunately, by the time a judge has ordered them removed from the United States, many of these aliens have disappeared into the country.
In the Presidential Memo, President Trump directed his administration to propose regulations that would:
- Streamline court proceedings for aliens who pass initial credible fear determinations.
- Adjudicate all asylum applications in immigration courts within 180 days of filing.
- Require fees for asylum applications and work permit applications.
- Bar aliens who have entered (or attempted to enter) the country illegally from receiving provisional work permits prior to being approved for relief; and
- Immediately revoke the work authorization of aliens who receive final removal orders.
Additionally, the president has directed Kevin McAleenan, the acting Secretary of DHS, to prioritize the assignment of immigration officers to improve the integrity of credible fear adjudications, strengthen law enforcement, and enforce removal orders from immigration judges.
Dan Stein, president of FAIR, praised the president’s memo in a statement released Tuesday morning noting “continued Congressional inaction and ineptitude” and applauding“President Trump’s use of executive and inherent authority to restore integrity to our asylum system. The jet engine driving the current border crisis is the use of fraudulent or meritless asylum claims to gain entry into the country. A proper deterrence must be restored.”
This memo is without a doubt a necessary step towards ensuring that legitimate asylum-seekers can access asylum while more efficiently processing and removing illegal aliens who do not qualify.