Sudden Flood of Asylum Requests at U.S./Mexico Border
At the Otay crossing near the San Diego border last Monday, about 200 people coming from Mexico gained entry to the United States all using the same key phrase; they claimed they had a 'credible fear' of drug cartels. According to KSAZ FoxPheonix:
So many were doing this that they had to close down the processing center and move the overflow by vans to another station.
"They are being told if they come across the border, when they come up to the border and they say certain words, they will be allowed into the country," said a person who did not want to be identified on camera. "We are being overwhelmed."
This apparent new shift in tactics to enter the United States comes at a time when the Associated Press is reporting a spike in the number of asylum requests in the past few years:
According draft testimony for USCIS Associate Director Joseph Langlois that was to be submitted for a congressional hearing on asylum requests last month, USCIS received more than 19,119 asylum requests through the end of May. The agency anticipates receiving more than 28,600 by the end of the fiscal year.
According to the testimony, during the 2009 budget year the agency received just 5,369 such requests.
However, this new phenomenon is out of all proportion, even with this spike. To put those numbers in perspective with the 200 people making asylum requests on one day at one border crossing, 200 people a day equals 73,000 people a year -- close to three times the total number received all year, at all border crossings.
KSAZ reports the new tactic could easily overwhelm the immigration system, quoting immigration attorney and former immigration official Pete Nunez:
"To make our system even more ridiculous than it has been in the past," he adds. "There are no detention facilities for families, so the family would have to be split up. We don't want to split families up, so we end up releasing people out into the community on bond, on bail."
Nunez says, "It's a huge loophole."
"There has to be a policy change, something implemented, an emergency implementation that will stop this, or otherwise we will have thousands coming in."
The goal, however, may be to overwhelm the system. This apparent new tactic comes on the heels of widely publicized activism by a group called 'The Dream 9' who also used a claim of asylum to gain re-entry to the country. As leftist organization Colorlines reported last week:
All nine of the activists have now established credible fear, a step toward an asylum hearing. Supporters are now hoping the Dream 9 will be eligible for parole, which would allow them to return to the United States until their asylum hearing dates.
This connection between the 'Dream 9' and the tactic of asylum was made by Spanish-language news source La Opiniòn. They report (translation by Google Translation) in an article entitled El asilo se volvió un sueño (in English: The asylum becomes a dream):
Following the release of nine Dreamers prisoners in Arizona, after a protest at the border, others have taken the path of asylum as a way to solve their deportation.
Media reports in San Diego are reporting that "hundreds of foreigners are trying to enter the country in the same way" and even that immigrants are being taught to use key phrases that they can stay in the country.
Reports tell of cases in the Port of Entry Otay Mesa, where 199 people have argued a 'credible fear "to the drug cartels in Mexico.
And the validation of Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) of the status of "credible fear", which allowed young people to stay at home and return to their families seems to have generated more of a headache for Immigration.
La Opiniòn goes on to quote Marshall Fitz, the immigration policy expert the liberal Center for American Progress, who points out that many would not qualify and it's not a good 'long term strategy' for those attempting to cross the border.