Trump’s new acting USCIS chief wants to make sure agents are screening out ‘frivolous’ asylum claims

· June 19, 2019  
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Ken Cuccinelli at campaign event
Win McNamee | Getty Images

Newly appointed U.S. Customs and Immigration Services head Ken Cuccinelli wants to ensure that immigration officials are screening out “frivolous” asylum claims, but his statement on the subject is getting pushback.

“Under our abused immigration system if an alien comes to the United States and claims a fear of return the alien is entitled to a credible fear screening by USCIS and a hearing by an immigration judge,” Cuccinelli wrote in an email to USCIS staffers, according to a report at BuzzFeed. “Asylum officers, you took an oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States. As a public servant your role as an asylum officer requires faithful application of the law.”

Cuccinelli’s email also noted that most of the asylum claims brought to federal authorities are “frivolous,” according to the report, and called on immigration officials to ensure that they’re weeding out those claims.

“Therefore,” the email concludes, “USCIS must, in full compliance with the law, make sure we are properly screening individuals who claim fear but nevertheless do not have a significant possibility of receiving a grant of asylum or another form of protection available under our nation’s laws.”

However, government union president Michael Knowles complained to CNN that the new USCIS chief “seems to be blaming the workforce for high referral rate.”

National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council union president Danielle Spooner called the email “despicable,” accusing Cuccinelli was trying to “thrust blame for the influx and backlog of Asylum seekers on our hard working Asylum Officers.”

America’s asylum loopholes are the main driving force behind the current immigration/drug/crime/humanitarian crisis on the southern border, as many border-crossers have used asylum claims to remain in the United States after apprehension.

Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in July 2018 that around 80 percent of approved asylum claims were denied by an immigration judge. A November DHS statement said that “only 9 percent of Northern Triangle petitioners are found eligible for asylum by a judge.” By the end of 2018, asylum denials had hit an all-time high.

However, Yuma Sector deputy chief patrol agent Carl Landrum told Fox News that “Only six percent of the people crossing the border are expressing a credible fear and requesting asylum,” despite consecutive months of record-breaking illegal immigration numbers.


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Author: Nate Madden

Nate Madden is BlazeTV’s congressional correspondent. Follow him @NateOnTheHill or send tips to nmadden@blazemedia.com.