Once the drug cartels succeed in getting the illegal aliens onto our soil, it’s almost impossible for us to stem the tide. This is not due to logistical limitations but to extra-constitutional lawsuits that create death by a thousand cuts through every aspect of the asylum process. To that end, the Trump administration issued a new guidance through USCIS to finally stop the invasion at our border and turn back most of the bogus asylum seekers. Will it hold?
The entire mass migration from Central America has nothing to do with asylum. As Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner reported this week, the combined murder rate in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala has actually dropped by 30 percent, while asylum cases have surged 800 percent since 2009. In fact, there appears to be an inverse relationship between the rate of Central American violence and the influx of migrants. This is all political. And anyway, asylum is not about poverty and violence but about individualized persecution for ethnicity, religion, or political view. The Central American triangle is one of the most homogenous places on earth, and those coming here almost never fit the description of an asylee. Quite the contrary, their presence since 2014 has increased the violence, gangs, and drugs in this country and has turned enclaves of our cities into the very violent environment endemic of the Honduran cities these people are fleeing. Moreover, it is empowering the drug cartels to use the mass migration as a strategic diversion to bring in the worst elements of drug smugglers, gang leaders, and transnational crime syndicates.
In comes the USCIS with new guidance to automatically dismiss any “credible fear” assertion at the border that is premised simply on fleeing violence unless there is evidence of government-condoned persecution. Asylum adjudicators will also be required to take into account, as a mitigating factor in true asylum seeking, the fact that these people are crossing illegally at the behest of the cartels rather than requesting entry at the points of entry.
This is a commonsense policy that, if properly applied, should deter most border crossings over time. This must be the administration’s final answer, and it must not allow the inevitable California forum-shopped courts to violate our national sovereignty in a bogus lawsuit. The reality is that asylum is only discretionary and is not required of our government. The inmates don’t run the asylum. The American people do. Besides, the Supreme Court just ruled that the president has full power under section 212(f) of the INA to shut off all entry into the country or to place such conditions as he deems necessary in the national interest.
Bringing the violence of Central America to our shores
The sad irony of these policies that encourage mass migration through our border, filtered through the drug cartels, is that they ensure that even the good people who come here wind up living in the same violent communities that reflect the communities they left. Given that the interdiction rate at the border is roughly 50 percent, whenever we have 50,000 illegal aliens apprehended in a given month, that means our policies are facilitating a flow of roughly 50,000 others we don’t catch. Here is the way Brandon Judd, president of the Border Patrol Council, explained the dynamic at the border on my podcast last month:
What the criminal cartels do, is they make these people cross between the ports of entry, knowing that it’s going to take a great many of my resources out of the field, and they create holes so that they can cross their higher-value products, such as opioids, such as fentanyl. They also cross criminal aliens, gang members, people that have serious convictions here in the United States that otherwise wouldn’t be able to be released, they cross them at that time. … If 50,000 crossed the border illegally, and we’re only fifty percent effective, that means 50,000 people got away. So multiply that out over a 12-month period of time, and you’re talking 600,000 people that have made it into this country.
Thus, by encouraging a flow with lax asylum policies, it allows the drug cartels to burden the border agents with processing these families instead of focusing on deterring the bad guys from coming over. The diversion facilitates the crossing of gang members, which is why we have an MS-13 crisis and drug problem in this country beyond anything we experienced prior to the 2014 surge of Central American teenagers. Here’s how it works, according to the top border official:
Border security is not about the family units that are crossing the border that are asking for asylum … the vast majority of the people I deal with, when I take them into custody, are very polite. They comply with the commands I give them. But that’s because the criminal cartels are pushing them in front as “the sacrificial lambs,” forcing me to use my resources to take them into custody, so that they can then cross the dangerous criminals right behind them. And we play into their hands by continuing to humanize the way things are happening on the border.
Even many of the people they do catch are problematic and are not all kids in diapers, as Judd explained:
In the last year, we’ve arrested 5,000 people that have a criminal record here in the United States. And what should really scare the public is we don’t know what the criminal record is of these people from their country of origin, because we don’t have access to those databases. So we could be taking somebody in custody that is claiming asylum, and looks like a nice guy if you will, but has a rape conviction back in his own country. We’ll never know that.
The DHS announced this week that it caught several members of MS-13 coming over the border and claiming a credible fear of persecution.
— CBP RGV (@CBPRGV) July 11, 2018
Trump needs to draw a line in the sand on border and budget, and sanctuaries
According to the UN, we now have the most asylum requests of any country in the world, including Germany, and it’s all built on a lie. Yet they are placed on our soil and released into our communities, and the American people must shoulder the fiscal and security burden.
This is why Trump must make this his top messaging priority headed into the midterm elections. He touted his power to pick members of the Supreme Court as his most solemn duty, but protecting our sovereignty is really the most important duty, and the veto leverage he has over budget bills is an even greater power than that of the Supreme Court. He must threaten to veto any DHS funding bill that does not give him the requisite resources and authority to deter this invasion at all costs. He must also focus on interior enforcement and sanctuary cities. Recently, Rep. Diane Black, R-Ten., introduced legislation to make it a felony to cross the border and to cut off funding to sanctuary cities while giving the proceeds to ICE. This bill drives a wedge right between the left-wing base and middle-of-the-road suburban voters. Trump should demand its inclusion in the DHS funding bill by September.
Trump and the conservative base should not allow the excitement over the Supreme Court pick to overshadow the budget fight in September. As we’ve noted in a series of columns, ironically, the Supreme Court won’t help us much anyway if Congress doesn’t act on immigration and the lower courts continue to receive the cooperation of the executive branch in shutting down all lawful and commonsense national security measures. Trump must stand his ground on the asylum policies and invoke 212(f) and other statutes while demanding his priorities in the budget bill, with the threat of a veto.
Trump cannot afford to ignore sanctuary cities in the budget bill, either. Thanks to the last four years of the border surge from Central America, the Mexican drug cartels have spread out across the country and operate undisrupted because so many major hubs refuse to cooperate with ICE. Almost all the top-level fentanyl traffickers are criminal aliens. The problems we have from heroin and fentanyl trafficked through the border surge and growth of sanctuaries is so bad that the Canadians are starting to complain about its effects on them in the north. Yet, shockingly, rather than focus exclusively on the cartels, the DEA announced it is potentially mandating a cutback in the manufacturing of prescription painkillers, which is needlessly hurting pain patients who never overdose while ignoring the true problem.
Our Congress refuses to even recognize any role of the border surge and sanctuaries in driving the overdose crisis, much less their dominant role. Unfortunately, this gets back to the lower courts again. The same judges who prevent states from enforcing federal law and prevent the federal government from enforcing federal law are now saying states can blatantly thumb their noses at immigration law. Nothing matters until this problem is dealt with.
Mr. President, sharpen your veto pen, stand strong on blocking bogus asylum, and get this done. It’s much more powerful than the gavel of an unelected judge.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.