On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security conceded that requests for asylum in the United States along the border between the United States and Mexico have more than doubled over the last three years.
The federal government released the numbers after Breitbart News reporter Lee Stranahan reported last week that immigrants were using specific “code words” that allowed them entry into the United States in order to possibly overwhelm the country’s immigration system.
According to Stranahan’s report, nearly 200 people on August 5th gained entry into the United States by using the same phrase, telling officials at the border they had a “credible fear” of of drug cartels.
The Associated Press reported that such “credible fear” claims at the border “reached 14,610 by the end of June with three more months to go in the fiscal year.” That is compared to “6,824 such claims for the entire 2011 fiscal year.”
The Department of Homeland Security claimed the increase in such asylum requests were “modest.” Officials said between Aug. 1 and Aug. 15, “an average of 30 people per day have arrived at San Diego ports asking for asylum, compared with roughly 170,000 travelers who cross the border there legally each day.”
The agency also said that 91% of asylum requests were denied but made no mention of whether there were “code words” that allowed immigrants to enter. Officials also did not provide specific figures to verify that the increase in requests were indeed “modest,” according to the Associated Press.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a staunch opponent of the Senate’s immigration reform bill, like others concerned about such “code words,” noted that such cases can set terrible precedent that could allow the country’s immigration system to be abused even more.
“Frankly, I don’t think the House should pass any bill until the administration shows its willingness to confront and fix this problem,” Sessions said. “This is a direct threat to the orderly administration of our immigration law.”
As the Associated Press noted, in order to win asylum, “an immigrant must prove he or she is being persecuted because of race, religion, political view, nationality or membership in a particular social group. They also must prove that their government is either part of the persecution or unable or unwilling to protect them.”
A Department of Homeland Security spokesman acknowledged that border activity was “cyclical,” and asserted that “claims of credible fear along the Southwest border vary month to month and year to year.” The official said such “determinations are dictated by long-standing statute, not an issuance of discretion.”
Yet, illegal immigrants–like those in the “Dream 9“–were able to enter the United States by claiming a “credible fear” of drug cartels, even though some in the group actually went back to Mexico before they re-entered the United States by claiming persecution. Those concerned about the Senate’s immigration bill have noted that other immigrants could claim similar persecution to game the system.
The Department of Homeland Security acknowledged that requests from those claiming to flee from cartels have indeed surged in recent years, even from countries other than Mexico. The agency conceded that “asylum requests from Central Americans also have spiked in recent years, a move government officials attribute to reports of increased drug trafficking, violence and overall rising crime in the region.”