The Corner

Immigration

Will Today’s New Asylum Rules Do Any Good?

Migrants wait outside a UN Refugee Agency office during a march demanding buses to take them to the U.S. border, in Mexico City, Mexico, November 8, 2018. (Henry Romero/Reuters )

The president issued new rules regarding asylum today, effective for 90 days starting midnight tonight. They have elicited the usual hair-on-fire reaction from the usual suspects.

To begin with, the new rules will almost certainly be enjoined by a federal judge (I would guess in San Francisco because why not), possibly before the day is out.

If the rules do ever go into effect, they would likely have a modest effect on the number of bogus asylum seekers who are let go into the U.S., but only a modest effect. The point of the new rules is to funnel people claiming asylum to the ports of entry by making it less attractive to sneak between the ports of entry and turn yourself in the Border Patrol. People who sneak in and say they fear return might still be able to stay but would have to meet a higher standard (“reasonable fear” instead of “credible fear”), and even if they did that, they’d get a less-lucrative status that wouldn’t lead to citizenship (“withholding of removal” rather than asylum).

There would be several benefits to funneling asylum-seekers to the ports of entry: It’s more orderly, consumes less resources, doesn’t distract the Border Patrol agents (who have to spend hours processing groups of bogus asylum seekers who turned themselves in, leaving the border wide open for other illegals or drug smugglers), and it might make it more likely that the people waiting at the ports of entry, where it can take days or weeks to get your case heard, would be more likely to just apply for asylum in Mexico, which is what they should be doing anyway.

But even if all of the Central Americans headed here (in a caravan or not) applied for asylum at the ports of entry, the loopholes in the law and the lack of detention space mean most of them will still be let in to the country and not leave when their asylum cases are rejected (as they almost always are). Because getting asylum is not the goal — applying for asylum is, because it serves essentially as a ruse to get into the U.S., allowing the applicant to eventually disappear into the illegal population. These new rules are about the most the president can do to stem the flow of bogus asylum seekers without changes from Congress.

Mark Krikorian — Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

Most Popular

Elections

In Defense of the Electoral College

Senator Elizabeth Warren has joined a growing chorus within the Democratic party in calling for the abolition of the Electoral College. Speaking at a forum in Mississippi on Monday night, Warren said that she hoped to ensure that “every vote matters” and proposed that “the way we can make that happen is ... Read More
Elections

Stick a Fork in O’Rourke

If, as I wrote last week here, Joe Biden may save the Democratic party from a horrible debacle at the polls next year, Beto O’Rourke may be doing the whole process a good turn now. Biden, despite his efforts to masquerade as the vanguard of what is now called progressivism, is politically sane and, if ... Read More
National Security & Defense

In Defense of the Iraq War

Today is the 16th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, and Twitter is alive with condemnations of the conflict -- countered by precious few defenses. Yet I believed the Iraq War was just and proper in 2003, and I still believe that today. When Donald Trump condemned the war during the 2015 primary campaign and ... Read More
Elections

Beto-mania and Our Cult of Personality Politics

Robert “Beto” O’Rourke’s biggest fans and supporters insist he is a forward-thinking, future-oriented visionary, but no contender for the Democratic nomination feels more familiar than the former three-term congressman from El Paso. That’s because he has the highest combined score in both déjà vu ... Read More